Auto Show in Detroit: New cars, trucks and futuristic designs

U.S. sales are up 83% since 2014 as a new generation of midsize truck buyers seek more maneuverable, fuel-efficient pickups.

The new Ram also boasts more than 100 safety features, including adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, trailer-sway damping control, lane-departure warning and parking assist.

The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta was introduced over the weekend in Detroit..

"At Detroit, you see the cars of yesterday".

"There's a place for the compact vehicle", he said. Although it remained VW's best-selling model in 2017, sales tumbled 4.4% to 115,808 vehicles as Americans rapidly ditched small cars in favor of crossovers and SUVs. The automaker did not release fuel economy figures but said the 2019 Ram 1500 will improve over the outgoing version.

"I think discussions there are about five, 10, 15 years out from making the road", he said.

Detroit in winter has never been an easy sell, but for generations of vehicle lovers Motor City has been the only place to be come January, when America's largest auto show kicks into gear. With hybrid, electric and autonomous technologies slowly becoming the norm, the Show this year has a heavy focus on working towards a more sustainable planet. Nissan and Toyota are just two with them on display.

Vehicle makers appealed to Americans' deep love of SUVs and trucks at the Detroit Auto Show, unveiling a host of choices from luxurious to utilitarian, while also beefing up the humble sedan. More than 5,100 journalists from 61 countries attend the NAIAS each year. The event is held at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit.

But longtime observers say the show has lost some zest, partly because there are few genuine surprises among vehicle launches.

Industry insiders were taking a wait-and-see attitude toward talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has generated fears of huge tariffs on Mexican-made imports to the US.

While employment and consumer confidence indicators are strong, analysts highlighted tightening access to credit and the risk of higher Federal Reserve interest rates as a potential drag on future sales. It has 270 horsepower, makes 429 pound-feet of torque and produces 50 percent less emissions than current engines on the market.

The companies seem to have figured out that they won't make it to a future potentially full of battery-powered robotic cars without delivering - and continuing to deliver - new, exciting products that people will buy today. Automakers have placed bets, but leadership at GM, Ford and some other companies have a newfound confidence amid uncertainty.

But Detroit defenders say the show remains essential because it offers access to an unmatched array of industry executives, suppliers and academics.

"I feel like we all feel a connection to (the auto industry)", he said.

  • Arturo Norris