North American International Auto Show 2017
The first impression of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan is how large the show is. Cobo Hall is the site of this annual affair and this massive venue is filled to capacity with the newest offerings from all the major manufacturers worldwide.
The Detroit Auto Show, as it is generically known, had been on this photo journalist’s bucket list for many years. To finally see the massive scope of this show is a truly impressive experience. Not only did the Ford display feature at least forty vehicles in Cobo Hall, they also had a very large display in Joe Louis arena, next to Cobo. Chrysler, Jeep, Ram Trucks, General Motors and GMC Trucks also had very large displays. BMW, VW, Toyota, Lexus, Fiat, Subaru, Kia, Genesis, Audi, Mercedes-benz, Alfa Romeo, Honda, Infiniti, Hyundai, Smart, Acura, Nissan, GAC (from China) and Mazda were well represented.
Electric and autonomous vehicles were front and center as all the major manufacturers are scrambling to bring new offerings in this growing vehicle segment. For an old school car nut, there is no point in looking under the hood of these vehicles, as there is no clean, shiny engine to look at. Maybe it’s just me, but looking at an electric motor, if you can actually see it, is not awe inspiring.
Sadly, this development comes at the expense of any diesel engines being offered in anything but the more expensive, high end vehicles. Economical diesel power plants previously offered primarily by Volkswagen and to a lesser degree in the Chevy Cruze have disappeared from the North American automotive menu. After so many years of effort to move these venerable, fuel efficient and reliable engines to the highly developed and environmentally responsible power plants that were being offered to North American consumers, it is truly heartbreaking to see them removed
from the market due to regulatory bullying, which led to the Volkswagen “cheating” debacle. It remains to be seen if any automobile manufacturers try to reintroduce diesels to the North American small and medium size car market.
Diesels are still being offered in Ram, Chevrolet, GMC and Ford pickup trucks, with engine size being determined by the load carrying capabilities of the vehicle. Some smaller diesel SUV’S should still be coming to market, but time will tell if that actually happens.
The original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and the automotive aftermarket vendors were well represented with displays. Aisin Group (transmissions and electric drives), Michelin, ZF transmissions and drive train components, Denso, Brembo brakes, Thyssenkrupp electronic steering, Magna, Hitachi, Mahle, Steelmatters, representing the automotive steel suppliers, Visteon and Eaton had displays featuring their newest offerings.
The North American automotive market reported a good year for sales in 2016 and all manufacturers were upbeat and hopeful about the future. It remains to be seen if higher interest rates and increasing fuel prices will put a damper on sales in 2017 and beyond.
To summarize, the North American International Auto show is must see at least once. For this first time visitor, the show was awesome.