If there is one “winner” at NAIAS this year, it’s Ford. This should have been GM’s show, with the Corvette (its halo model) and their new full-size truck (their bread and butter) both being shown to the public for the first time. Instead, Ford debuted the Atlas concept, a thinly disguised 2015 F-150.
The big story with the Atlas is the active aerodynamic features; power running boards, a drop-down air dam, active grille shutters and even active wheel shutters(!) are present on the concept truck. Who knows whether these will make it to the production truck, but it’s not out of the question. Thanks to CAFE, rising gas prices and a relentless advertising war, pickup trucks are under the gun for fuel economy improvements. Short of prohibitively expensive aluminum components (that would end the era of affordable trucks for Americans), these incremental improvements, along with downsized powertrains, will be the preferred path to reduced fuel consumption.