By on January 9, 2016

Detroit, MI North American International Auto Show - NAIAS Photo

This Saturday is the calm before the storm.

While the Los Angeles Auto Show is the opening act of the North American auto show season, Detroit is the main event. Here’s what to expect at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, which begins this Monday.

That, Herr Müller is planning on visiting Detroit and U.S. regulators, and the Infiniti QX30 name change was forced by dealers … after the break!

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

What to expect at the 2016 North American International Auto Show

In order of appearance, this is what you’ll likely see and hear about Monday and Tuesday from Detroit:

Chrysler: According to The Windsor Star, FCA’s Detroit auto show stand will be its largest ever and show the company’s brand-new minivan. That new model will be built in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, just across the river from Detroit. As far back as last February, executives at FCA have been hinting at an electrified future for its minivan. Will it be a plug-in hybrid? Will it have all-wheel drive? And what does that mean for Stow ‘n Go? Those questions remain unanswered.

Chevrolet: The production-ready Bolt EV has already been revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and it will likely make an additional appearance in Detroit. The 2017 Cruze Hatchback is also confirmed for the show. There are whispers of a supercharged Camaro — possibly called ZL1 — but we’re not betting on a Detroit debut for that car this year.

Audi: The German luxury brand will bring its 2017 A4 to Detroit and possibly another production vehicle. CNET ventures a guess at the second model being a new Q5 crossover or A5 coupe. Audi is also expected to bring a previously unseen concept to NAIAS. Some are positing it will be a hydrogen fuel cell or electrified Q6.

Volkswagen: The BUDD-e Microbus concept is expected to make a trip from Las Vegas to Detroit this weekend to be drolled over by the slack-jawed automotive press. Other than that, Volkswagen has been staying fairly tight lipped. If they do debut anything, we’re guessing an electrified Tiguan is in the cards.

Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG, Smart: The big reveal for the tri-star brand will be the E-Class. The Mercedes-Benz SLC, Mercedes-AMG SLC 43, Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet and Smart Fortwo Cabrio are confirmed to be in attendance as well.

BMW: The BMW M2 and X4 M40i are all but confirmed for Detroit. No surprises there. Though BMW’s Mini brand will be missing from this year’s show — which is totally okay by us.

Volvo: The XC90 has been a success so far for fledgling Volvo. To build on that hit, Sweden’s now-only automaker will show its S90 large sedan, which sports the same design as the XC90 up front in a much slimmer wrapper. There’s no reason why the S90 won’t get the exact same powertrain options as its bigger brother XC90, which has infinitely more powertrain options than Volvo’s Los Angeles concept.

Porsche: The Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S will be attending this year’s show. Don’t expect anything more than that. Though, hopefully Porsche will bring its Mission E concept which it revealed last year.

Ford: The Blue Oval will definitely show a refreshed Fusion sedan with plug-in hybrid gear. However, Ford has a track record for dropping surprises in Detroit. Ranger? Bronco? Who knows? (Please let it be a Bronco.)

Infiniti: A two-door version of the Q50 sedan, to be named Q60, is a foregone conclusion for Infiniti. A concept version of the coupe was shown at NAIAS last year and a production-ready model was spied later during a photoshoot.

Lexus: “An unprecedented world premiere” is how Lexus is billing its reveal for Detroit. Speculators are putting their money on a LC 500, a production version of the LF-LC concept.

Honda: Expect a new Ridgeline to grace the Honda stand in Detroit. It will likely be closer to a traditional truck than the current Ridgeline, but tearing away the skin is expected to reveal Pilot and Odyssey bones.

Hyundai: After announcing the new Genesis sub-brand, Hyundai will debut the new Genesis G90 to replace the awkwardly named Equus.

Kia: The Korean automaker is making a push into the large, luxury SUV segment with its Telluride concept. Whether it will win over hearts and minds or not reveals only question marks for now.

Acura: Honda’s luxury marque is continuing its play into sports cars, it seems. The Acura Precision Concept will open the second day of the Detroit Auto Show.

Lincoln: Will a production-ready Lincoln Continental be shown in Detroit? Probably. Will it look like a pixelated Ford Taurus? Maybe. Will it save Lincoln? Unlikely.

GMC: The long in the tooth, “Professional Grade” GMC Acadia is tipped for a complete redesign for the Detroit show. It will likely be underpinned by the same Chi platform as the new Cadillac XT5.

Nissan: Expect the folks in Tennessee to keep their truck momentum going at Detroit this year. New Titan light-duty pickup? Frontier? We’ll find out Tuesday.

Notable exceptions: Jaguar/Land Rover, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Maserati and others won’t be attending NAIAS this year. Alfa Romeo, Cadillac, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Ram, Scion, Subaru and Toyota will be present but have nothing new to show. Buick looks to be showing its big surprise off-site, fully expected to be a new Enclave, in addition to the Chinese-built Envision.


Matthias Müller to address media Monday, meet with regulators Wednesday

Our man, Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller, will be on hand Monday to address media at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. Expect him to say sorry multiple times.

After his appearance in Detroit, Müller will meet with regulators on Wednesday, one day before a California Air Resources Board imposed deadline for Volkswagen to propose a fix for its nearly 600,000 dirty diesels in the United States, reports The Wall Street Journal.

This will be Müller’s first visit to the U.S. since taking over the CEO position from Martin Winterkorn.

2017 Infiniti QX30 Reveal Los Angeles-5

They’re all called QX30 now, and you can blame the dealers

According to Automotive News, dealers forced Infiniti to rename its new duo of compacts because they thought the “models looked so similar that dealers worried about keeping them straight in the minds of customers and in marketing campaigns.” We’re going to guess the dealers themselves couldn’t tell the Q30 and QX30 apart, either.

The cars — nee Q30 and QX30 — are only separated by front/all-wheel drive, a slight ride height difference, and body cladding on the QX30 AWD model. The QX30 S is sporty, hence the S.

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33 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: 2016 Detroit Auto Show Preview, VW’s Müller to Attend NAIAS, and Dealers Force Infiniti QX30 Name Change...”

  • avatar

    FWIW, the 2017 Fusion spied the other day had quad exhausts and a Sport badge along with an Ecoboost/AWD badge. Seems likely it’s sporting the 2.7T V6 (though I guess it could be the Focus RS 2.3T?).

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Fiat ought to show off its new 2017 124 Spider.

  • avatar

    Interested to know what car guys vs electronic guys think of all the dashboard/infotainment stuff.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    There is total mayhem around the C pillar on that QX30.

    Can’t someone just say ‘no’ in those design reviews?

    As for Volkswagen, more action and less talk would be better. Mr Müller has a tall mountain to climb.

  • avatar

    Matthias Müller…

    “This will be Müller’s first visit to the U.S. since taking over the CEO position from Martin Winterkorn.”

    And it may be his last as he could end up on a most wanted list here in the near future.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I’m interested in seeing if Nissan has the next Frontier. I have read the US will be receiving an Americanised “developing nation” narrow body version, which is supposed to be around the size of a D20/22. If it does then I do believe Nissan again is looking at creating a niche. Will it be available with the Renault twin turbo 2.3 diesel or the ISF 2.8 Cummins.

    The Kia Telluride (what a name, sort of sounds like some toothpaste additive) interests me. I do like the mid to large SUVs, but not the size of a Suburban as it is just to big for any serious off roading. It would be nice if this Kia SUV has a diesel and maybe even a pickup. A larger pickup would sell in the global niche market.

    With Ford I would like some information on the Everest come Bronco and Ranger. I do think Ford is going to miss the boat here. Ford to me has made some poor decisions, even in Australia, as Mercedes Benz is apparently outselling Ford now.

    I have not seen or heard anyone at TTAC mention Honda with it’s up and coming Ridgeline. Some of the images project the next Ridgeline with a more conservative stance and look. This would do wonders for this vehicle and have an AWD version. This would suit many who want all wheel drive in snowy and icy conditions.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I liked the distinctive look of the Gen 1 Ridgeline, but it seems the Gen 2 is going to look like everything else.

      With 85% of the US truck market going to the domestics, Honda will have a tough road ahead to sell their product. Maybe it will be a little cheaper, and not so huge as a full-size truck – more of a competitor with the Colorado.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        SCE to AUX,
        Thanks for the link. The mention of the shorter hood has me wondering if it will come with a 4 and not a 6.

        Also, I do like the more aerodynamic appearance of the front end and the smaller grille.

        I didn’t like the look or the usability of the old Ridgeline’s bed. The sloping sides to me would of made it more unusable.

        The more traditional look might make it more desirable to the more conservative pickup types.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t see pickup types ever warming to a pickup with that kind of car-like/crossover-like nose. It just isn’t butch enough.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            I agree that some only view a “pickup a pickup” if it has one of those love muscle enhancing grilles.

            But, I do believe the shape of the bed has a lot more impact than the front end. Don’t get me wrong the front end still has admirers with little ding ding syndrome. It has got me beat why you need 10 square yards of grille for a 2.7 litre or even 6.2 litre engine.

          • 0 avatar

            The 1997-2003 F-150 would like to have a word with you.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        SCE to AUX, the main advantage of the Ridgeline is that it drives like a CUV on pavement. Less motion sickness from simultaneously harsh and floaty truck body motions. The inherent disadvantage is that it lacks the off-road toughness and load handling capability of a BOF pickup truck. The deal-breakers of the Gen 1 Ridgeline were really weird styling, high price, and poor fuel economy vs. utility.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Big Al, Telluride is the name of a former mining town, now ski resort area, in Colorado and also tellurium ore. There was also a story that the name is a contraction of “To hell you ride”. Not so sure “Kia” and “Telluride” go together, but at least it’s a real name with a suitably tough image.

  • avatar

    Q30, Q30X, and Q30XS work just fine which each letter denoting an additional package (convention: Series – Model – Package if applicable). BMW has done this for quite awhile, behold 325i and 325xi (although the center number indicated engine displacement and not model). Now you’ve broken your naming convention and indicated your crappiest model as “QX” while the rest retain a “Q” only. “QX” in my mind then is associated with not good enough for “Q” NOT the other way around. It feels almost like budget sub series.


    This Q vs QX nonsense of course doesn’t happen if you use *real names*.

  • avatar

    Nice to see that some makes didn’t feel the need to show up with a technofantastic vaporcar concept.

  • avatar

    Well at least we got the possibility of a bronco, please let it be N/A…

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t see a reason for Ford to release the Bronco when they have the Edge. Sure one would expect a Bronco to be an actual off road vehicle (the Edge certainly isn’t), but does Ford really want to go head to head with Jeep in that arena? I see Ford limiting it’s off road capable vehicle to trucks.

      • 0 avatar

        The Edge is an entirely different vehicle, it would be a fluke if anyone were to actually cross shop a BOF bronco with a Edge crossover.

        The market for SUVs is on the way up, whether that’s due to the market literally consisting of only 2 affordable SUVs, or market fluctuations in general may be in debate, but if Ford is willing to leave the conservative styling behind, the bronco has no limits on its possibilities.
        If this comes out looking like a crossover i.e. Plastic bumpers, no SRA, frumpy styling, or the general boring looks that define the crossover market, then yes, I would agree this is DOA.

  • avatar

    I cannot fathom all these Q75, Q76, … Q90, X50, Y50, Z50, TLC, SLC, V30, AMG (All Mighty God?). About not introducing new alphanumeric names anymore? Just let us to digest and get used what is already there?

    • 0 avatar

      If you’re introducing 3 new crossovers every year, what else are you going to do?

    • 0 avatar

      I blame Lexus for the alphabet soup naming system. They never used names and have become very successful, so others tend to copy the system hoping for similar results. For example I worked for a company back in late ’90s that launched a near luxury product with a letter/number combination name despite the fact that almost everyone working there thought that name was sad and boring. The CEO told us it was named that way because marketing showed a strong correlation and demographic link between our product’s target audience and Lexus buyers. It was borderline stupid and only lasted a few years. The company has completely rebranded itself (forced by bankruptcy) and its products now have real names again.

  • avatar

    I think Audi has finally jumped the shark with pricing on the A4. But I’m old and slightly grumpy, so probably wrong, esp since most (nearly all?) will be leased.

    Volvo has hit it out of the park with consumers with it’s XC90, but they need to get the next XC60 out NOW, since it’s their volume model.

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