T H E C A R M A V E N
© COPYRIGHT 2020. The Car Maven
Over 5,000 media from around the globe attended the big auto show in Detroit, and The Car Maven was there as well. One of the major shows in the world, this annual January show in Detroit features many new production and concept vehicle introductions. While final stats haven’t been released, last year there were more than 70 vehicle introductions at over 40 press conferences put on by 50 automakers. This is a large and important auto show.
The week began with the announcement of the winners of the 2018 North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year. The Honda Accord, Volvo XC60 and Lincoln Navigator won their respective categories. The awards are among the most prestigious in the industry because they are chosen by a panel of more than 60 jurors from print, online and broadcast media across the United States and Canada.
The overall theme this year seems to be pickup trucks. Ram showed their new 1500 full-size model, while Chevrolet did the same with a new Silverado. Ford, the overall pickup market leader, but late to the game in the mid-size pickup category, launched the mid-size Ranger for the U.S. Trucks overshadowed a significant amount of new utility and crossover introductions, as these segments of the market (thanks in part to continued cheap gas prices) continue to grow at the expense of cars.
There are many sources of information and pictures of the new models, so The Car Maven will share our favorite and most significant vehicles from this year’s show: Enjoy!
Infiniti Q Inspiration – Woo-hoo! Sedans aren’t dead, yet. This lovely concept from Infiniti previews a new generation of Infiniti vehicles. It features an elongated, coupe-like design, and is intended to demonstrate many future technologies. We think it’s a superb blend of elegance and minimalist form.
Nissan Xmotion – This SUV concept is a design exploration for a future compact SUV. The sleek but powerful design foreshadows future Nissan design language that we may see on many models debuting over the next several years. Like many concepts, the interior design is often more of a production stretch than the exterior.
Lexus LF-1 Limitless – This concept suggests a future RX crossover, albeit bigger than the brand’s best-selling RX350 midsize. The LF-1 is stuffed with the latest technology, much not otherwise in production. We admired the design from the side and rear, but the front view is really “pinched” for our tastes. That said, the design reach is impressive for what’s been a conservative luxury brand.
2019 Volkswagen Jetta – Yes, there were some new cars at the show, like this all-new Jetta. Stretching the compact sedan category, the 2019 Jetta is both larger AND less expensive than its predecessor. The attractive, coupe-like exterior design features shorter overhangs. Offering a full-complement of safety and driver assistance technologies, the Jetta also comes with Volkswagen’s new 6-year/72,000 mile warranty. Pricing begins at $18,545, and the Jetta arrives at dealers in the second quarter of this year.
2019 Chevrolet Silverado – The General’s leading pickup is all-new for the 2019 model year, unveiled exactly 100 years after the brand delivered its first trucks to customers in January 1918. Chevy claims the new Silverado has the most functional bed of any full-size truck. It weighs up to 450 pounds less for increased performance and offers a broad range of trims and engine/transmission combinations. The new Silverado arrives in showrooms in late 2018.
2019 Ram 1500 – The new Ram 1500 is longer, taller and wider than the previous generation, yet it weighs nearly 225 pounds less. It can haul and tow more weight. It slips through the air with a segment-leading drag coefficient and boosts efficiency via the use of a mild-hybrid system. Uh-huh, a hybrid pickup truck. Other features include a 4-inch stretch in cab length, an available 12-inch display in the center of the instrument panel and 4G wireless. Look for the new 1500 in the spring.
2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class – 40 years after the last update, we finally get a new version of the iconic G-Class. This hand-built, luxury off-road SUV was originally a military vehicle until its capabilities caught the attention of civilians. While the boxy silhouette remains, look for new powertrains, suspension, safety and connectivity technologies and interior. This limited edition (just 20,000 being built) status-symbol begins at $120,000. Look for the new G-Class at dealers late this year.
2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt – The new 50th Anniversary 2019 Bullitt was displayed next to the recently rediscovered dark green Mustang that Steve McQueen drove in the classic film “Bullitt”. In fact, his granddaughter attended the press event. The ’68 was the talk of the show amongst the media. The new limited-edition Bullitt features a retuned 5.0-liter V8 engine that packs at least 475 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque and tops out at 163 mph. Unlike other Mustang variants, it’s very understated, like the original. There are no stripes, spoilers or badges. We like.
Additional highlights and newsworthy happenings from the show include:
GAC Motor – This Chinese automaker builds more than 500,000 vehicles a year, and is the highest quality vehicle manufacturer in China. In a return to Detroit, GAC showed several vehicles, including sedans, utilities and even a mini-van. But they offered nothing The Car Maven hasn’t seen before from somebody else. They are setting up distribution in the U.S. in the hopes of launching sales in 2019. GAC has an existing tie-up with Fiat-Chrysler, so some collaboration there wouldn’t be a surprise.
Automobili-D – This exposition within an auto show was entirely different but nonetheless exciting. It featured automakers, suppliers, startups, universities and others, all involved in the evolving mobility space – or how people and things get around. The Car Maven likes to think of future mobility in four areas: electrification (through hybrids and battery-electric vehicles), connected (think OnStar or 4G wireless that every automaker offers in some form), autonomous (self-driving) and shared (car-sharing (think ZipCar), ride-sharing (think Zimride, Wheeli) and ride hailing (think Lyft)). Automobili-D featured exhibits and demonstrations of technologies that will be enablers of our mobility future. Though nobody knows the exact path we’ll take to get there, and the transition will in some respects be slow, it was exciting for us to see all the great ideas and opportunities being explored.
See some bonus shots, LIVE from the show floor, below! From well-attended 8 am press events, to very cool virtual reality experiences, to some futuristic-looking Toyota Mobility concepts, this is one show not to be missed! The North American International Auto Show is open to the public through January 28, at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit.
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Director, Vehicles & Incentives