As always, a lot happens at the North American Automobile Show in Detroit. The show of all shows, Detroit has always been the place where big announcements happen. This year was no exception, as large manufacturers made big statements. Other than the recently made remark that the auto industry “could create the next recession,” there were more hopeful introductions and comments that took place.
Even with a drop off in attendance this year, the Detroit show still stood out with some of the announcements it made, as media and the public alike, were all ears.
Here is a partial list of what happened in January in Detroit:
*The VW CEO Herbert Diess announced a $800 million investment with another 1,000 jobs at operation in Chattanooga, TN. Here they plan to make the e-mobility vehicle (Jonathan Smoke)
*Ford and VW have announced an alliance and collaboration on commercial vans and midsize pickups. Possibly autonomous vehicles, as well.
*Cadillac introduced the first ever fully electric model-EST luxury brand as GM’s electric vehicle leader.
*The Infiniti Inspiration concept is a knockout, as were the VW concepts VW ID, ID Buzz and ID Crozz
*2020 Cadillac XT6 revealed.
*Ford announced the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, with 700 hp, and street legal. Following some big news last summer that Craig Jackson and team, of Barrett-Jackson Auctions bought a barn find: A 1967 Shelby GT500, nicknamed “Little Red,” stored by a owner in Texas for two decades. The GT500 Coupe built by Shelby American is the only GT Coupe ordered with factory-equipped, dual-quad carburetors! The “Holy Grail” of lost collector cars. What do you want to bet the Ford will try to get this gem to pair with the updated version at next year's show.
*The winners of the 2019 North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year went to: Genesis USA G70, Hyundai Kona/Kona EV, Ram Trucks 1500. The contenders were many and included 9 finalists: Genesis G70, Honda Insight, Volvo S60/V60, Acura RDX, Jaguar I-Pace, Hyundai Kona, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, RAM trucks 1500.
*Some of the vehicles unveiled for the first time in Detroit included the 2020 Volkswagen Passat, 2020 BMW 7-Series Luxury Sedan (with its giant grille!), 2020 Kia Telluride, big crossover, the 2019 Lincoln Continental, a American luxo-sedan starting at $80,000, and climbing over six figures; offered in limited numbers (word has it, they’re already spoken for!), with the “Coach Door Edition” (“suicide” doors), reminiscent of days past, with a wheelbase increased by six inches.
*The wholesale used vehicle prices (mix, mileage, seasonally adjusted) declined in the first 15 days of January 2019.
Of note, there were other announcements-or stirrings at Detroit, including that used car sales were skyrocketing, as high prices for new cars drive down the new car purchase.
Also interesting was the idea that “dead” cars never really die! Many cars-or car monikers-are returning. Whether that is due to the Baby Boomer nostalgia (and disposable income), or just plain trying to recreate what once was popular and created sales. Ford has revived the Ranger midsize pickup truck-needed. Discontinued less than 10 years ago in the U.S., the Ranger is a small pickup which will be greeted with enthusiasm by many truck fans; particularly, women. Also returning from Ford in a new form is the Ford Bronco SUV, as a 2020 model. Thanks to O.J. Simpson’s famous chase, the Bronco disappeared during the 90s, with good reason!
Fiat Chrysler is bringing back the Jeep Gladiator pickup. We barely remember it, but it makes sense in a time when trucks ‘rule.’ Originally sold during the 1960s, the Gladiator first appeared at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
Likewise, Honda will begin to sell the Honda Passport SUV later this year. A remake of the Passport sold in the 1990s (basically the Isuzu Rodeo), will also probably be widely accepted. Chevy is featuring a ‘new’ version of its Blazer. Taking parts of vehicles from the past, the Blazer will borrow some cues from the Chevy TrailBlazer.
Reviving older automobiles is less expensive than re-inventing the wheel all over again, and there is often enough nostalgia and good feelings surrounding older models. We all wish for the first car we bought; if only it drove and responded more like the current vehicles, with all the modern features!
Probably one of the biggest, and anticipated, cars returning to the market is the Toyota Supra!. Last produced in 1992, the Supra may just sell well today. It’s a beautiful iteration of what once was in the sports car days. And although this category may be harder to sell today, there are still enthusiasts out there. I remember test driving one years ago; a neighbor was selling his. Never bought it, though. Must have opted for something else??
There, of course, have been some failures in returning old models: the Pontiac GTO flop in 2004 (30 years after the original appeared). It didn’t resemble the original by any shape of the imagination. And of course, the beautiful and fondly remembered Ford Thunderbird. Lasting only 4 years, the 2000-2004 T’s were not the hit Ford expected.
The biggest announcement of the week, was that beginning in 2020, the North American Automobile Show will take place in June. This will be a great improvement, as weather is generally more predictable in June than in January. Smart on Detroit’s part, as well, as visiting media and auto show attendees can tour Detroit. Without coats!!
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