By on January 17, 2019

One of the repeating refrains I heard in Detroit this year went something like, “It’s the last winter show, and yet it’s not even that cold!”

Cold, of course, can be relative – Southern Californians tend to define it differently than Midwesterners. Still, Sunday and Monday were tolerable for life-long Northerners like myself, but Tuesday did offer a chill that reminded us that it was still January.

The weather is always a major topic of discussion at Detroit – whether there’s piles of snow downtown or mild temps in the 50s (I’ve experienced both). The Sun Belt folks whine while the Rust Belt residents whine about the whining and so it goes. I don’t know exactly how much the weather plays into the decision to move the show to the summer, starting next year. Only the Detroit Auto Dealers Association employees are privy to those discussions. Obviously it’s a factor, but how much of one compared to other factors is unclear. Read More >

By on January 15, 2019

While it wasn’t covered during its North American International Auto Show debut, Toyota will build the 2020 Supra with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-four, in addition to the big 3.0-liter motor we’ve already been promised. According to the manufacturer’s own Supra-centric website, the four banger will come in two flavors — 255 horsepower with 295 lb-ft or torque or a base mill capable of 194 hp and 236 foot-pounds.

Like the 3.0-liter inline six that premiered at NAIAS this week, the smaller Supra engines are also sourced from BMW. Thus far, neither are slated for the U.S. or Canada. Instead, they’ll be installed in the Japanese SZ-R and SZ-trimmed cars. But that doesn’t mean they won’t eventually reach our shores.  Read More >

By on January 14, 2019

Volkswagen introduced the new 2020 Passat at the Detroit auto show on Monday, but calling it “new” might not be entirely fair. While the midsize sedan has undergone a complete visual overhaul and received some new technology in the process, its mechanical bits have gone mostly unchanged versus last year’s model.

For 2020, Volkswagen modernized the Passat’s image by stretching the grille and adopting smaller headlamps. The prominent crease seen on the Jetta runs from stem to stern. That means some will continue confusing the two models well into the next decade but, for those who appreciate reserved styling and have a keen eye, the Passat is the more dapper of the pair. Still, like we said, this is pretty much the same car VW has been slinging for the last eight years — just newer looking.  Read More >

By on January 14, 2019

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

The #savethemanuals crowd may weep, but the Ford fanboys will still rejoice. The 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 is here. It’s loud, it’s powerful, it looks cool, and it has no clutch pedal.

That’s right. The more than 700 horsepower expected from the 5.2-liter supercharged V-8 will funnel through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission from Tremec. Drivers will take back manual control via paddles.

Read More >

By on January 4, 2019

Image: Ford

After rocking the same design with only minor alterations since 2011, Ford will soon debut an all-new Explorer. Arriving this year as a 2020 model, the model adopts the modular CD6 platform shared with Lincoln’s Aviator, making the new version of the venerable SUV rear-drive biased once again. New powerplants are also on the way.

Before we lay eyes on the new ute, however, Ford wants to show us, once again, the Explorer’s law enforcement brother: the Police Interceptor Utility, which the company first revealed under the cloak of darkness last June. We now have light. A wildly common sight on North American roads, the new version of the copped-up Explorer is all about nabbing bad guys … and saving departments money. The vehicle you see here arrives with a standard hybrid drivetrain. Read More >

By on January 4, 2019

“I thought the sun rose in your eyes, and the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave … to the dark … and the endless skies, my love,” sang Roberta Flack in the heady and decadent early ’70s. Suffice it to say this writer didn’t feel the earth move in his hand upon gazing at the Infiniti QX Inspiration, not did his heart tremble like a captive bird.

The QX Inspiration, like the Q Inspiration concept of 2018, heralds Infiniti’s electric — or at least electrified — future, and it’s a future without a face. Read More >

By on December 14, 2018

Infiniti will unveil a new concept previewing its first electric car at the North American International Auto Show next month. On Friday, Nissan’s luxury division released a digitally shrouded image of the model to help build anticipation.

While Infiniti spent much of the past year showcasing interesting concept vehicles, precious few have a snowball’s chance in hell of reaching production. Instead, the autos served as an opportunity for Infiniti to dabble in a new design language while simultaneously proving that it hasn’t forgotten about electrification. Last January, the company showcased the Q Inspiration, announcing it would electrify its entire portfolio from 2021 onward, using either e-Power or pure EV powertrains. Seven months later, it unveiled the Prototype 10 at Monterey Car Week — which it said solidified the look of upcoming models, especially those of the electric persuasion.

While this upcoming crossover appears to do much of the same, there’s a chance it might be a precursor for a vehicle that might someday reach the showroom.  Read More >

By on December 13, 2018

It was long assumed that the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette would premiere at the North American International Auto Show next month. However, General Motors recently confirmed this was not to be. In fact, it doesn’t appear as though the automaker has any big announcements scheduled for the event. Did something go wrong?

Big time, according to GM Authority. The outlet claims the C8 Corvette’s engineering team found a major electrical issue that stymied development. Anonymous sources hinted that the current system isn’t robust enough to carry the load necessary to support all of the car’s components simultaneously.  Read More >

By on December 12, 2018

2019 Cadillac XT4

It’s no wonder the Cadillac brand is having a rocky time of late — the marque fields only two crossovers, and one of those, the XT4, only reached lots at the end of September. Having pledged to return its headquarters to its ancestral homeland of Detroit, Cadillac also plans to unveil a new vehicle there in January.

The XT6, not to be confused with the marked-for-death CT6 sedan, will bow at NAIAS 2019, the automaker has stated. With this vehicle, Cadillac gains considerable coverage of the light truck field. Read More >

By on December 7, 2018

While Lexus has cranked out a few impressive sporting models over its lifetime, “performance” is not a term that’s synonymous with the brand. Instead, Lexus seems to evoke words like “reliability,” “luxury,” and “high resale values” from the collective consumer mindscape. However, the brand does do dynamics. You can log onto its website right now and discover that most of its fleet offers enough horsepower to make getting a ticket easy enough. It also has performance F variants of the GS, LC, and RC for customers of discerning tastes and the need for a 5.0-liter V8 powerplant.

Interested in going the extra mile to prove itself, Lexus plans to unveil a refreshed RC at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, along with a special Track Edition of the already high-performance RC F.  Read More >

By on July 23, 2018

The world’s automotive press can pack away their parkas after next year’s North American International Auto Show. In 2020, the circus will move to the month of June.

This was not wholly unexpected. Pressure was mounting for NAIAS to re-invent itself, given a recent flight of manufacturers and increased competition from other events — automotive and otherwise.

Read More >

By on June 29, 2018

GAC NAIAS 2018

News broke late yesterday that the organizers behind the North American International Auto Show, also known as the Detroit Auto Show, are making an announcement late this month regarding moving the 2020 show to either June or October from January. Either way, the show is definitely moving dates – it’s just not sure whether it will be to the summer or the fall.

The reasoning for the move that I keep seeing in news reports is that an exodus of foreign manufacturers is making the Detroit Area Dealers Association – the group that organizes the show – re-think the show’s timing. In addition, the thinking is that perhaps a larger festival can be arranged around the show, and a summer show makes outdoor test drives and events (which have been offered in Detroit and are also offered at the Chicago Auto Show in February) more appealing.

A move also gets NAIAS away from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. CES takes place around the same time as NAIAS most years, causing headaches for media and industry analysts who are expected to attend both.

Read More >

By on June 29, 2018

2018 Lexus LS at NAIAS Front, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

There’s only one more North American International Auto Show to go before America’s premier automotive event trades its bitter winter winds for temperate climes.

After months of rumor and speculation, the Detroit Auto Dealers Association — the organization behind the show — declared Thursday that it will no longer hold the event in January. After the 2019 show, journalists will no longer be able to watch icebergs form on the Detroit River. Read More >

By on May 11, 2018

audi a8 2019

The 2019 North American International Auto Show will be decidedly less Germanic than in years past. On Thursday, Audi announced plans to ditch the upcoming Detroit show, joining its two premium German rivals in steering clear of the wintry venue.

It’s the latest blow for a marquee auto show currently in the process of reinventing itself amid declining relevance and automaker interest. Read More >

By on May 4, 2018

Nissan Vmotion 2.0

Hoping to restore some of the event’s lost relevance, the organizers behind the North American International Auto Show will soon decide whether to move the Detroit carfest to a more palatable month.

The Detroit Auto Dealers Association began looking at ways to boost interest earlier this year, following Mercedes-Benz’s announcement that it would not attend the 2019 show. Not long after that, BMW said it also planned to take a pass. Bleeding automakers and facing a growing threat from digital media, the event’s increasingly grim situation called for desperate measures.

It’s now looking like next year’s show will indeed be the last one staged in January. However, General Motors has its own idea for how to spruce up the show — one that involves the entire city. Read More >

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