NAIAS 2013: Ford Atlas Ruins GM's World

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
naias 2013 ford atlas ruins gms world

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.

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  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Jan 15, 2013

    Ford was able to steal GM's thunder in the pickup truck world because from what I could tell GM did almost nothing to promote the new Silverado/Sierra to the assembled throng of media at the NAIAS. The new trucks had already had their own press introduction a month ago and I guess GM thought that was sufficient, so they basically just put the new trucks out on the show floor. The big GM press conferences were about the new Corvette and the Cadillac ELR which are niche vehicles, albeit high profile niche vehicles. Ford exploited an unforced error.

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    • Mike978 Mike978 on Jan 16, 2013

      @sunridge place cargogh - good idea and I did. I saw three hits - LA Times, USA Today and Yahoo. Fair enough some outlets did say this. So some people would agree with Derek's assessment and those who don`t read those publications would have a different view.

  • Davefromcalgary Davefromcalgary on Jan 16, 2013

    I feel like the mistake GM made here was not giving more information on the forthcoming powertrains. I believe at this point all we know is the displacements of the new engines, and that they will be based on/share tech with the GenV LT1. A bit of info here would have been beneficial.

  • CarnotCycle CarnotCycle on Jan 17, 2013

    All the newer pick-up trucks kind of look like the Michelin Man, stuck on an air compressor too long. Its funny to think looking at these new trucks - that the ladder frame is about the same, the bed holds about the same, as a full-size did twenty years ago. Yet with all that puffy sheetmetal a new one seems to occupy twice the volume. Mine-bigger-than-yours run amuck, into some kind of Viagra-on-wheels shtick are modern trucks.

  • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Jan 17, 2013

    “On rare occasions, at least one car premieres at an auto show that absorbs all the light and air in the building, that takes our breath away, and takes every one of our editors' votes without debate,” said Editor Wes Raynal. “The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is that car.” Read more: So much for Ford stealing GM's thunder!