2014 Detroit Auto Show: Day One Recap

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We know what you're thinking: All we do is sleep in late, attend catered press conferences and throw together a few news items, and we're done. Well, that's mostly true except for the fact that we rarely get to sleep in, our food is usually out of a vending machine and our voice is usually hoarse by noon from talking to designers, engineers and marketing folks.

Don't get us wrong. We love that pickup trucks have made a huge comeback in the last few years, and everyone who makes pickups seems to be doing well. In fact, the biggest dirty little secret here is that the Detroit Three truck makers are depending on their full-size trucks to produce somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of their company's yearly profits. What that means for PickupTrucks.com is that we'll be busy for quite a while, and our readers will benefit.

If you want to imagine what it's like for us at the 2014 North American International Auto Show, all you have to do is roll your birthday, Christmas and New Year's Eve into two days. The auto industry seems to be doing well, there are plenty of new products being shown and some designers are being given the go-ahead to take a few risks. Here are just some of the interesting things that are happening.

 

Truckapalooza

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GM unveiled the 2015 GMC Canyon the night before press days began at the auto show. The debut took place in an abandoned warehouse just outside downtown Detroit. Mary Barra, who takes over as GM's CEO Wednesday, took the stage first to talk about the new midsize pickup and how well a three-truck strategy will work for both Chevrolet and GMC. Product guru Mark Reuss went through the truck's details and then showed off every full-size pickup and SUV Chevy and GMC offer, along with a stage for a club band. Music, food and trucks — what more could you want?

 

Car/Truck Awards

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The auto show kicked off with the announcement of the North American Car of the Year and North American Truck/Utility of the Year awards, this year both won by Chevrolet. The Corvette Stingray took top car honors, while the 2014 Chevy Silverado beat out the Jeep Compass and Acura MDX.

 

F-150 Reveal

Brad K II

The biggest news of the show, of course, was the official reveal of the 2015 Ford F-150. By now you've read all the details about the new design, alloy choices, powertrains, trim levels and technology, but this wasn't an event for just media types. NASCAR driver and team owner Brad Keselowski was on hand to check out the new F-150s on the stage floor. He said his team was testing one of the new truck body styles at Daytona International Speedway in Florida, where Ryan Blaney will drive the new truck on Feb. 21.

Canyon Tours

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GMC designers gave tours of the new Canyon to car dealers. The dealers have been calling for this new truck for a long time and many seemed quite pleased about GM's strategy to make the Canyon look more like a downsized Sierra and the Colorado more of a unique entity. This group of attendees was very interested in the bed changes and upgrades.

Ram Snap-On Box

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Ram was showing off a possible Mopar option package for the heavy construction industry with a unique display in the back of its Case CE Ram from the 2013 Specialty Equipment Market Association show. The toolbox is attached to both sides of the truck bed on a sliding rail while a set of heavy-duty wheels allow the box to slide forward and back in the bed, depending on how and where it's needed. Additionally, because the roller wheels are so large, there is plenty of room under the toolbox for lumber and piping.

F-150 LED Light

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Probably our favorite detail on the new F-150 is a small LED light integrated into the tailgate latch that is activated when the backup camera comes on. This makes hooking up or unhitching a trailer at night much easier. Ford also has included several spotlights in various option and trim packages.

 

Comments

For the life of me!

I cannot remember ever having a bad time hooking up to a trailer--even when I'd had a few adult beverages.

Love the Ram tool box!

GMC dealers drooling over the new Canyon. It is a scandal that it took GM this bleeping long to bring out the replacement for the dreadful first gen Canyon.

@Papa Jim: That seems to make you the exception, rather than the rule. I can't name the number of pickup trucks (and other vehicles) I've seen to bashed, smashed and otherwise destroyed license plates because the driver has tried to hook up a trailer without a spotter.

@pPapa jim
We do a lot of fishing up where I live. Some of the boat ramps will have 6 or more boats all lined up to launch.

Most of the time out of 6 you will find 2 are entertaining to watch trying to back a boat down a ramp.

And boat trailers are easy to back due to distance between the hitch and axles.

It seems lots here buy a vehicle to tow and then realise they've never towed.

It's all about spatial awareness and knowing where all of your vehicle is at any given moment. Some forget the vehicle they drive is larger than the front seat they sit in.

I too have seen many license plates and bumpers all dented up from not knowing how to hook up to a trailer.I'm in my 60's and have been towing various size trailers all of my adult life yet have managed not to dent anything.And that was without a camera.

@whale

Being the exception must be a good thing.

I drove professionally in my younger days, logged over a million miles without a serious accident. Before that operated heavy equipment without once ever getting a track machine stuck or a tractor stuck--guys I worked with got things stuck in the mud and snow all the time.

The great race car driver A.J. Foyt once said, " There are guys driving fork lifts who ought to be race-car drivers, and there are guys in race cars who should be driving fork lifts."

Not sure why I liked that line so much, but it still makes me smile all these years later.

In my whole life the only times I got stuck in snow or mud were in my S10 2wd. Both times needed a pull to get free. Each time deer hunting here in swampy Florida.

Sure you can back up without a camera or light. But once you've used a truck with a camera, and backed the ball right under the trailer hitch (every time), you realize how much a camera helps. But cameras have been on the trucks for years. Now trying to do that in the dark and it's a differnet story since the trucks' back up lights are little help when you get close to the hitch. This LED light on the tailgate makes THAT easier too. I love these new ideas!

@Mark Williams
"the biggest dirty little secret here is that the Detroit Three truck makers are depending on their full-size trucks to produce somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of their company's yearly profits. "

That is a scary thought.If the Pickup section is hit again for whatever some reason, ALL of the Companies will be in serious trouble.

Don't mind that jim fellah, he's just trolling.

I can definitely vouch for the backing-up situation. "Down on the farm," most of our backing up is done with hay racks or wagons that, aside from weighing at least 8000 lbs (okay, 2000 empty), have an articulated hitch "tongue" that makes it near-impossible to back one straight up into a cramped shed. I cannot believe the skills my father has gained over his 35+ years of driving in being able to correct the tiniest steering errors while in motion, and without the aid of any cameras or sensors. More than that, I can't believe that I inherited none of them, and will forever be delegated the role of spotter/tongue lifter.

Robert Ryan
About a yr. ago on automotive news they said truck profits were 60% for GM, 80% for Chrysler and 90% for Ford. That pretty well explains to me why we don’t have the new Ranger. In 1999 Ford sold 869,001 f150’s and 348,358 Rangers which pretty much tells me the big 3 wanted to get rid of the compacts. It seem to me they all have to many eggs in one basket.

@Mark Williams

I believe that's the new Jeep Cherokee that the Chevrolet Silverado beat along with the Acura MDX for NA Truck/Utility of the Year.

@ Big Al from Oz - my dad used to say that most drivers don't see much further than the ornament on the hood.

Whats the latest information on the 2014 Dodge Power Wagon? Did Dodge make any announcements at Detroit?

Personally I don't like the look of fords new truck and I would question their small engines handling the high amount of power and specs if the rumors are true. and how reliable the smaller engines will be over time handling loads.

@Jonathan Watson - I had heard a rumour that the Power Wagon was going to skip a year. That would mean availability in 2015.



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