North Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional Auto Show 2017

Road Today - - Contents - Show Re­port and Pic­tures by Hans Janzen

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.

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