What We Saw on Day 1 at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show

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There's definitely a different feel on the floor of 2019 North American international Auto Show in Detroit. With big German automakers like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi absent (Volkswagen is here), the media crowds are down and there's not as much flash and sizzle. Still, there's plenty of news here from manufacturers like Kia (showing off the new 2020 Telluride) and Toyota (Remember the Supra? It's returning for the 2020 model year.). Unfortunately, neither brand had any pickup truck news.

Related: More 2019 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

Most of pickup news this year comes from Ram. Here's a quick rundown of what we saw on Day One of the auto show.

 

2019 Ram 1500 Wins Another Award

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Always the first press conference of the show — although we can't imagine that will continue when the show moves to the summertime — the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards were announced, and the 2019 Ram 1500 took home the truck award. NACTOY awards are determined by a group of 54 U.S. and Canadian automotive journalists. During the presentation we heard another journalist say, "Good lord. It's just like I'm back in high school where everyone thinks so-and-so is the prettiest, smartest and nicest person in school — and I just think she's OK." We think the new Ram 1500 is more than OK; in fact, it's a contender for the Cars.com Best Pickup Truck of 2019 award that will be announced Jan. 31. And there certainly seems to be many folks (especially ones who give awards) who like what Ram cooked up with the new half ton.

 

Classic Pickups Drive Across Country

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One of the coolest displays at the show is a group of classic trucks that were driven to Cobo Center in downtown Detroit from Houston as part of The Drive Home road rally. The 10-day journey across the Midwest traversed Detroit's iconic Woodward Avenue before the classic Ford, Chevrolet and International pickups were parked in Cobo for the show.

 

Biggest Press Conference of the Show

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When you have the biggest torque numbers in the industry, you certainly have a reason to crow, and that's exactly what Reid Bigland, head of Ram Brand, did as he delivered all the pertinent details about the new, improved 2019 Ram 2500, Ram 2500 Power Wagon and Ram 3500 to a packed house. Additionally, Bigland introduced a new 2019 Ram 2500 Laramie Black special edition with a stunning paint color. This was Bigland's first big announcement as head of Ram following his return to the brand after several years with the more exotic cars on parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' roster.

 

Jeep Gladiator Still Draws Crowds

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During our several loops around the convention hall, we were surprised by the constant crowds checking out all the versions of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. The lifestyle/adventure pickup has captured the imagination of many journalists, and we'll assume by extension, consumers as well. If you visit the Detroit auto show, be sure to stop by the Mopar section of the FCA booth, where a fully dressed and accessorized Gladiator is on display. We were quite impressed that the under-bed spare tire carrier was large enough to hold a 35-inch tire (only doable with at least a 2-inch lift).

We'll have a few more observations following Day Two.

Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry, Mark Williams

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Comments

Wow, Fiat is taking over the show & No.2 spot from shaky GOVT motors....Sergio would be proud:-)

Wow, Fiat is taking over the show & No.2 spot from shaky GOVT motors...Posted by: Lio | Jan 15, 2019 1:50:49 PM

@Lio

As often as I'm forced to correct people like you I should be drawing a check from PUTC every Friday.

Ready? Put your hand over your heart and repeat after me:

GM sold the most trucks in 2018. GM is NOT in the number 2 slot. That would be Ford.

RAM Powerwagon is non existent here. US Pickup Duallies are almost as rare

Shares of Tesla tumbled 3.7 percent as manufacturers from Detroit to Japan unveiled new competition for buyers in the electric car maker's key market at the Detroit Auto Show.

Ford Chairman Bill Ford said Sunday the company is investing $11 billion in electric vehicles by 2022 with plans to have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model lineup.

"We talked about a huge investment in electric vehicles. We have 16 models that are in design and development. We have a pretty big surprise coming next year," CEO Jim Hackett told CNBC's Phil LeBeau on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show, which kicked off Sunday.

Going this weekend....and I'm not leaving without a new Ranger.

Cadillac is a diamond in the rough. GM for the most part has let this brand become irrelevant. Papajim it seems to you that every decision GM makes is 100 percent perfect. With the Cadillac and Buick brands not so much. Cadillac has lost its direction and Buick is a languishing brand. If GM is going to keep Buick then make it a Chinese exclusive that is where Buick is flourishing. You will defend GM's plant closings and discontinuing their cars but you will not look beyond that. You have said in the past an auto manufacturer is in the business to make money. I totally agree and to stay competitive and profitable a corporation needs to continually review what is working and not working.

Agree having a diverse lineup can be a benefit but you have to do something with that line up. I cannot do anything about GM and at this point I don't really care. I stated my opinion. As long as I as an American taxpayer is never asked again to give any loan or another bailout they can do as they please. GM can make all the vehicles they want in China and bleed revenue from Cadillac and Buick but the moment they ask for another dime from the US taxpayer then they should be left to fail. Not a dime more. I have bought and driven GM products for over 40 years but I am not so loyal to them that I will just buy anything they make. If GM makes a crappy product I will not buy it. If GM disappeared it is not the end of the World for most of us including me. I have bought a lot of appliances and tools along with many other things from Sears but I will not miss them when they are gone I have moved on. I feel the same way about Ford and FCA. I might miss them but I will move on. Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Nissan, Honda will have something that I can buy that will meet my needs. Let Mary Barra and the board do whatever they want but if they ask for a bailout then NO. If the end plan is to sell GM off in pieces then Barra has the right strategy. Nothing wrong with selling a company off if the stockholders get something. This is done all the time. I let you defend Barra and Company but you have not convinced me nor many others that you are right. Maybe you are right and only time will tell but I am not all in on this. Again let GM do what they want to do but if it doesn't work and they ask for the US taxpayers to bail them out I will go to my Senators and Congressman and tell them I object and that they deserve to fail. I feel the same way about Ford and FCA.

Papajim you can call me names, call me crazy, tell me I know nothing about business but you will not change my mind, I am adamant about this.

GM sold the most trucks in 2018. GM is NOT in the number 2 slot. That would be Ford.
Posted by: papajim | Jan 15, 2019 2:00:43 PM

Wrong jimbo...only if you include mid-size trucks; F-series single brand sold more full size trucks than GOVT motor's combined sales of 2 x brands of full size trucks. Your counting logic will only be fair in about a year from now when US Ranger sales are in full swing.

Meanwhile, the global Ranger's sale dominance unseating Toy Hilux is increasing each month. Soon Ford will have world dominance in truck sales...yeah, go Ford!

@Lio--GM did sell more trucks but Ram is closing in on the Chevrolet brand. Unfortunately for papajim GM does not make a GM specific brand unless we are referring to GMC (General Motors Corporation) but there are no brands that are specifically labeled GM. I am rooting for Ram to pass up Silverado and stay there. Ram deserves credit for actually making an attractive truck which is desirable.

@Robert Ryan--Papajim lives in his own world of reality. Papajim does not believe there is a world beyond Amurica. He is not interested in the rest of the World they are a bunch of Commie Socialist and his view of Australia are that you are a bunch of nutty Ozies that are hanging upside down (Down Under) and that you are socialist.

Papajim does not believe there is a world beyond Amurica.
Posted by: Jeff s | Jan 15, 2019

Why not let Papajim speak for himself, and you do the same---whatever your name is. I don't think you're the REAL Jeff

It's the real one you dummy

@Robert Ryan--Looks like VW will be getting together with Ford to replace their Amarok.

https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2019/01/ford-and-volkswagen-announce-alliance-joint-pickup-project-is-a-go/#more-1656492

@Robert Ryan--Looks like VW will be getting together with Ford to replace their Amarok.

https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2019/01/ford-and-volkswagen-announce-alliance-joint-pickup-project-is-a-go/#more-1656492

Surprised that papajim would even admit a would exist outside of Amurica.

Fiat is taking over the show & No.2 spot from shaky GOVT motors

@Lio

Those are YOUR words. FCA will need to double its truck sales to sell more than---your words, "shaky GOVT motors."

A 100% increase for RAM trucks is a pretty big nut.

I am rooting for Ram to pass up Silverado and stay there. Ram deserves credit for actually making an attractive truck which is desirable.

Posted by: Jeff s | Jan 15, 2019 3:20:58 PM

Jeff I have to say "with no disrespect" some of your comments are out there!
So just because a truck is more attractive, they should sell more than another that usually beats it in performance and capability comparisons.? These are trucks not caddies.
I have nothing against RAM either, I used to have one and it was a good truck.

@What The Heck--Not just how the Ram looks Ram is just the better truck. Ram trucks keep evolving--excellent drive trains, nicer interiors, adding features like the additional storage in the bed, and just many other things. It is like Ram is tuned in to what people want. Ram is trying and GM is just phoning it in. GM is not even trying. The new Silverado just misses the target--not a bad truck but not a good one either.

Bill Ford said Sunday the company is investing $11 billion in electric vehicles by 2022 with plans to have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model lineup.

@Mike

You got the number wrong.

$11 billion is the figure that Ford published last year to brace their shareholders for what it's going to cost for them to pull the plug on their excess manufacturing operations in the US, China and Europe.

They've already spent over a billion dollars on EV and still won't have a working prototype before 2021.

@ Jeff S
Amarok is a very good vehicle problem is it is too expensive compared to Our Thai built Ranger
I see VW using the Ford factories, as a cheap way to produce a Pickup for NA, they are looking at a Gas powered unibody one.
Amarok is body on frame and Diesel

@what the heck

You're having a conversation with an internet spook.

Not the real Jeff S. I've been having these conversations with Jeff since 2013 and I can tell when this other clown is using Jeff's ID

FYI

@Mike
That is what the new VW Chatanooga plant is about, it will be also building Electrical Vehicles as well for Ford and VW
GM does not have a partner

That's the real Jeff S here. You still haven't figured it out.

@Robert, do you know what a 10k is?

GM publishes legal filings every 90 days as required by law, just like any other company that sells their shares to the public. All of the important facts about GM can be found in their financial documents and on their website's press pages.

Robert's feverish imagination compels him to say some weird stuff, like "...GM has no partner."

Actually GM's best work in EV and autonomous vehicles has come from partners. Same with the rest of the large automakers.

Let's just say you are confused.

GM does not make a GM specific brand unless we are referring to GMC (General Motors Corporation) but there are no brands that are specifically labeled GM.

Posted by: Jeff s | Jan 15, 2019 3:20:58 PM

You never heard of the GM Sierrado?


HAhahahahahah

Shares of Tesla tumbled 3.7 percent as manufacturers from Detroit to Japan unveiled new competition for buyers in the electric car maker's key market at the Detroit Auto Show.

Ford Chairman Bill Ford said Sunday the company is investing $11 billion in electric vehicles by 2022 with plans to have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model lineup.

"We talked about a huge investment in electric vehicles. We have 16 models that are in design and development. We have a pretty big surprise coming next year," CEO Jim Hackett told CNBC's Phil LeBeau on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show, which kicked off Sunday.

Posted by: Mike | Jan 15
/QUOTE

Time to buy more Tesla shares !!

IF Frod ever makes electrics WHERE will people recharge those when driving long distance,,??
Fyi
Tesla has 14.000 Superchargers network now so traveling cross country is easy.
What does Ford or GM has besides lots o promises

I don't like taxpayer dollars going to Tesla either. It is just wrong on so many levels for the Government to subsidize car companies. My opinion is that the research and development of EVs should be a joint venture and not one solely from one company. I have nothing against electric vehicles but for a company to spend billions on developing EVs is just a waste.

@papajim--This is the real Jeff. I am not just singling out GM. I don't want the Federal Government subsidizing any car company including Tesla. If they cannot survive without a Government loan then let them fail. I have stated my concerns about Buick and Cadillac. It might not be any of my business but if and when GM asks for another Government loan then I will remind you of this. Hopefully that never happens but there is too much of the old GM too give me concern.

Jeff is right. Ram outsold Silverado the last two quarters. You can check this site to confirm it. Will Ram keep it going? Stay tuned.

Tom 🍋

for a company to spend billions on developing EVs is just a waste...Posted by: Jeff s | Jan 15, 2019

There are perhaps a couple dozen cities in the world whose quality of living depends on shifting vehicle propulsion to a power source other than fossil fuel. Mexico City, LA and Beijing quickly come to mind.

Much of the world is utterly unprepared to shift away from internal combustion designs nor do they have the financial wherewithal to do it.

Can you imagine going to Africa and telling people there that they need to choose between having money for decent food and drinking water, or adopting some power source because kids in some place like the US or Sweden say so?

Once you look at the question that way, you're realizing that a single platform won't work for the whole global population. Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler are very well capitalized companies that are presently quite progressive in this regard.

We may see one of them jump to the lead in the development of these new vehicles and the other two fight it out for the lead building ICE powered cars for a couple more decades.

@Tom Lemon

GM is just now delivering sufficient quantities of new half ton pickups to dealerships.

I saw two brand new black crew cab Silverado LTs today at the grocery store, parked just a few spaces apart. They look a lot better in person than in the photos I've seen online. I had the same feeling seeing the 2019 RAM last summer.

I'll be very surprised if a lot of people don't turn their tax refunds into down payments this spring. GM dealers will be happy to help them.

"GM is NOT in the number 2 slot.

Posted by: papajim "

That is because there is no such thing as a GM branded pickup.

@walt

go back and re-read the whole thread. It's a comment regarding companies, not brands. Lio referred to "shaky Govt motors."

GM. He did not refer to Chevy or Buick.

Better check your calendars does this is the year of RAM.
This is the year RAM outsells Chevrolet.

the year RAM outsells Chevrolet.
Posted by: Ramtastic | Jan 15, 2019

Why would anybody care? I want to see how many pickups GM sells versus Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, RAM. When Jeep pickups start taking off that will make it very interesting.

I want to see RAM do well. They deserve it. The 1500 is the coolest pickup today. Style, tech, the E-torq, the interiors. I want to see what Ford's gonna do. They're behind the eight ball.

We have a pretty big surprise coming next year," CEO Jim Hackett told CNBC

@Mike

The big surprise "next year" will be Ford firing-then-hiring another CEO. If Ford stock drops below $6.00 per share Hackett will be toast.

Just a few years ago Ford stock was $13 bucks and change. They won't tolerate the shares dropping below $6

@papajim--Yes that is part of my point. Beijing, Mexico City, LA, London, Houston, Chicago, New York City, and Tokyo have among the worst air pollution in the World. The EV technology will develop further between the major automobile companies. As the technology develops the cost will become more affordable. If you are talking about much of Africa then yes I would agree that the poor are less concerned about air quality or global warming than food, clothing, and shelter. A single platform will not work for the entire World. I doubt you or I will live long enough to see the total disappearance of ICE--maybe in 100 years. We both might see more electric vehicles but not the disappearance of the internal combustion engine.

Even in the USA in the poor rural areas you are not going to see mandatory electric vehicles at least not during our lifetimes. Auto pollution is not as big a concern in Lubbock Texas or in Eastern Kentucky as it is in a major metropolitan area. Again food, clothing, and shelter and the lack of infrastructure which costs money. We might not even see the total disappearance of coal burning electric plants. People need affordable electricity and where coal is plentiful and can be shipped easily by barge or rail then it is more cost effective. The Ohio River valley has lots of barge traffic and the coal is nearby so the cost and availability are a major concern. Yes that region is going more to natural gas and some alternate sources but the main source is still coal and will be for years and years.

go back and re-read the whole thread. It's a comment regarding companies, not brands. Lio referred to "shaky Govt motors."

Posted by: papajim | Jan 15, 2019 6:40:04 PM

Wrong again jimbo...I never said "shaky" GOVT motors but thanks for adding it :-)

I want to see RAM do well. They deserve it. The 1500 is the coolest pickup today. Style, tech, the E-torq, the interiors. I want to see what Ford's gonna do. They're behind the eight ball.
Posted by: papajim | Jan 15, 2019 7:11:24 PM

Of course, coming jimbo who owns the most uncool ancient cheby, it's normal you dream RAMs while supporting GOVT motors.

My personal direct & indirect negative experiences with past Chrysler/Fiat/Jeep/RAM products will always deter any future investments in their products.

Wow, Fiat is taking over the show & No.2 spot from shaky GOVT motors...Posted by: Lio | Jan 15, 2019 1:50:49 PM

Is somebody else using the ret*rded name LIO?

but the main source is still coal and will be for years and years.
Posted by: Jeff s | Jan 15, 2019

@Jeff S

At the risk of repeating myself.

You can make electricity with a lot of different fuels, including coal, but you cannot be a leading industrial nation without steel.

You cannot make carbon steel without coal. You need the carbon from coal to make the alloy. You can make charcoal from trees, and to have enough tree-based carbon to make steel you'd have no trees left in a short time. See: Haiti

This is something that completely whiffed the last president and many in his party are still confused on this crucial point.

Auto emissions is a fraction of what it was 15,20, 30 years ago. The big bad automobile, where the average age is 11 years, is scape goated as the biggest source of pollution, when in reality it is wood fireplaces, charcoal grills, lawn equipment, construction vehicles and equipment, and motorcycles. The combination of these sources that make the biggest impact.
Believe it or not, Your average lawnmower spews out emissions 10-20 times that of a 2019 automobile. 2-stroke equipment is worse.
Electric vehicles are about control. Mexico City, Paris, Beijing, these cities have extremely poor emissions control regulations and their vehicles are no where near Tier 1 status.

papajim--Speak of President, are the Democrats ready to nominate a woman this time? Elizabeth Warren? Kamala Harris? I think a woman can beat Donald.

@papajim
Well you found a partner like VW has for Ford talk about feverish imagination.GM is in pretty bad financial shape, tell us who this " partner" is

Please.

It's still a year away from the primaries. Expect at least 20 Dems by then. Only a few will have any real money to compete with.

Biggest problem facing the challengers is the big gap between the young, brown, female, alt-gender, diversity crowd that shows up for rallies and volunteers their effort, and the old guys like Biden, Brown and Bernie.

Not my comment about Elizabeth Warren, but I reread your comment and you said nothing about steel--not that I disagree. You do need coal to make steel but I did not say that we should stop using coal altogether. Where I live coal is still the main source of electric power generation where I live because it is mined in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia and the Ohio River is a major waterway which transports a majority of the coal that is used. There are more plants switching to natural gas because of environmental and because of fracking the cost of producing natural gas has gone down to where it is more competitive in price. Coal will never stop being mined or used but as a source to generate electricity it will eventually go away. This might eventually happen with oil but that is such a long ways off but you will always need to have some type of lubrication to maintain equipment (grease or whatever you want to call it). I am not going to lose any sleep over it because we are so far from the time that we will stop using oil for energy--generations. Again you and I will probably never live long to see it happen.

I am less concerned about the Government totally eliminating the use of coal or oil because there are enough companies and individuals that need a stable source of energy. People do get out and vote.

As for other sources of energy over 30 years ago I wrote a research paper for one of my classes for my degree in Petroleum Land Management. There are more sources of energy than you can imagine. Don't want to get into to much detail it would take up more room than I would be allowed to post. Not too worried about finding and using alternate sources of energy. It

It is amazing the amount of methane gas a landfill or sewer plant produces that can be used to generate electricity and if you start multiply that by the number of landfills and sewer plants in the US the amount of potential energy is more than most of us could ever use and that is just one alternate source that is easy to use and is not prohibitive in cost. Again I am not going on and on but solar and wind are not just the only sources they are just the ones most publicized.

Jeff s., interesting points about energy. Seems to me that the more we implement wind and solar, the more we need natural gas power to back them up...such as when the wind doesn't blow, or the sun isn't shining...there really isn't another viable large scale back-up since natural gas plants can fire up in very short periods of time. What do you think about next generation nuclear power, specifically thorium...and the promise of lower cost, significantly greater safety, no greenhouse gas emissions, no cooling towers required, and a VERY short half life as compared to traditional nuclear power? And, the US has a big chunk of the world's supply of thorium.

The Fiat 1500 certainly is the darling of the press and reviews taking the lionshare of attention away from the new chevy.

Fiat decided to pull the trigger and be first to 1,000lb ft T. I'm surprised it took so long and was rooting for another company but think its pretty cool it finally happened.

Strange that Merecedes and BMW are absent. Would have been interesting to learn why.

@Texas1836--I think we should use thorium. It doesn't make sense to me that if we have the biggest source that we wouldn't use it. It doesn't make sense to me that we don't use more methane especially we landfills vent it to the outside to keep it from building up. If methane is bad to release into the atmosphere it could not be any worse to use it for generating power we will never run out of it. In Kentucky the state gives the power companies an incentive to use methane gas from landfills. The Toyota plant in Georgetown, KY supplements their energy with methane from a nearby landfill. Use all sources of energy including nuclear and where it is feasible use solar and wind. Where I live solar would not be as viable because of the Winters. As for natural gas the US has a lot of it and it is cleaner than coal and competitive pricewise. It is crazy to just get hung up on just solar and wind when there are many other sources of energy that are not being utilized and that using them will not cause a noticeable amount of impact to our environment.



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