By Paul Hoopengarner
General Motors Confirms Plans for Electric Pickup Truck to Rival Ford, Rivian, Tesla https://www.rivianautomotiveclub.com/home/ev-news/general-motors-confirms-plans-for-electric-pickup-truck-to-rival-ford-rivian-tesla
February 26th, 2019
General Motors had no news in Chicago, but delivered crowd-pleasing displays from Chevrolet and GMC, as well as Cadillac and their crossovers and SUVs. Of interest to truck enthusiasts were Heavy Duty Chassis Cabs from Ram, facelifts and equipment improvements from Toyota, face-lifts for some Nissan CUVs, a new Range Rover Evoke and more.
The Chicago show is immensely different from Detroit, and that is a pun. With 2.3 million square feet of display space, the result is wide-spread (and often poorly lit) displays, indoor off-roading tracks, and worn boot-leather. These are the highlights.
Alphabetically, Chevrolet brought its cars, well; they must have been there somewhere, and its new Heavy Duty Silverados, which were abundant in every powertrain and trim. And they brought the Lego Silverado, which is amazing in detail and execution. GMC “stood tall” with its Heavy Duty Sierra walk-under display and great lineup. Cadillac replaced their militaristic all-new XT6 with a gray one; it was better. They do have emotional colors available?
Chevrolet spanned much of the North Hall, filling it primarily with trucks, crossovers like the fiercely red Blazer to lead your eyeballs into the display and nearby SUVs, but the focus was on Super Duty.
Silverado had pride of position, though the new Traverse was mentioned, as well.
From fifty-feet, you’re not convinced this Lego truck isn’t a real Silverado Z71. Even closer, it still fools the eye.
Among the Silverados on display was this High Country.
The Z71 Heavy Duty proved popular to the dealer, potential buyer, and social media crowd. Green is nice, Red is better, and note the difference in wheels and running boards per model.
This is a great juxtaposition, the new Silverado Heavy Duty and its upgraded diesel engine. A perfect pair.
We again saw the snow plow in Chicago, this time close enough to crawl beneath for a photo of the no-cutting-required blade attachment system.
A pair of close-ups, first the dedicated, and covered, block heater that’s available and a better representation of the two bed steps designed for easy steel-toe boot access.
At first glance, in Detroit, the new Blazer didn’t move our emotional needle the way we hoped. Much better in Chicago, with better lighting and blazing red color. It surely fills a needed niche in Chevrolet crossovers; it’s based on a global platform that carries Cadillac’s XT5.
GMC brought no new product to Chicago, only a clean, bright and entertaining display. Of note, their walk-under Sierra and the tracked Aspen special we mentioned as debuting in Detroit.
Trucks, regardless their size, battle on GVWR, tow ratings, tire size, infotainment screen size (and bigger is always better), and now tailgates. Ram has a split gate that opens larger-left, then right, or folds. Ram offers a pullout entry step for easy entry, signature Ram box, and collapsible internal storage barrier.
Ram’s big news—excuse the pun—was its 2019 Ram Chassis Cab; they brought several upfitter modified models as demonstrations, including a luxury fifth-wheel version. With so many ultra-lux 1500s, 2500s and 3500s, why there haven’t been more full-on interiors aimed at horse owners and racecar haulers, is retrospectively a mystery. Ram now offers its most modern interior to Class 3/4/5 upfitters. The chassis is 97-percent High Strength Steel, the diesel engine is an up-rated Cummins 6.7-liter knocking out 800 lb.-ft. of torque and mated to an 8-speed transmission.
Not to be left out, Jeep brought a Rubicon version of the new Gladiator. Looks pretty rad to us. You?
Land Rover’s latest small SUV/crossover Evoque is externally similar, though the platform is all-new and a bit longer with improved cargo space. Off road technology, which the brand is known for, is improved and the 246-hp Ingenium engine is now mated to a 48-Volt mild hybrid power assist to make 296 eco-friendly horsepower.
Toyota debuted TRD Pro upgrades to its Tacoma, RAV4 and Sequoia. RAV4 has barely arrived in dealer showrooms, yet received welcome off road chops thanks to a dedicated suspension, all-terrain tires, all wheel drive, and standard torque vectoring for this RAV4 TRD Off-Road model. Tacoma, the perennial best-selling mid-sized pickup in North America, adds power-adjustable seats in most grades and has improved infotainment systems with 8-inch touchscreens that are smart phone savvy. Performance and glitter items like new grille and wheel designs, sequential LED headlights for the Tacoma TRD Pro model are balanced by new exterior cameras that deliver surrounding terrain views for improved off road safety. Sequoia TRD Pro now offers TRD-tuned Fox Racing off road dampers, plus other greasy-side items and an upgraded leather seat interior. The Land Cruiser Heritage Edition, a USA-specific version, goes the opposite way, shedding its chrome, third-row seats and running boards in favor of bronzed BBS wheels and a clean, subtly badged exterior.
Without fanfare, Toyota put what may be future crossover product, the TJ Cruiser, on display to gauge reaction. Feel free to let them know what you think.
Ford introduced its Super Duty trucks the week before GM’s similar launch. Their new Super Duty features three engines, the venerable 6.2-liter gas engine, now joined by an all-new 7.3-liter V-8 and third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel. The newer motors are paired with a Ford-designed and built 10-speed automatic with optional PTO. Features include a new high-flow grille, Pro Trailer Backup Assist, LED headlamps, and improved trailer tow and payload capacity.
Nissan’s 2020 Rogue Sport, not available for several months, offers new grille, refreshed exterior styling, and adds high-level safety features: Nissan ProPILOT and Nissan Safety Shield. Together, that provides owners with automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, rear AEB, lane departure and rear cross traffic alert, radar-based smart cruise control and high beam assist. ProPILOT tech ““is a single-lane “hands-on” driving assistance technology that eases driver workload by reducing the amount of driver acceleration, steering and braking input under certain driving conditions, such as single-lane highway driving,” or semi-autonomy”, the company says.
The Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition adds 18-inch wheels and some interesting, and functional cosmetics like black over-fenders, black-mesh grille and black roof rails, door handles and exterior mirrors. Inside they’ve added two-tone seating with contrast stitching; functionality includes a Best-In-Class 6,000-pound tow rating.
February 5th, 2019
2019 - Last North American International Auto Show - as we've known it.
Filled with sprawling displays of gleaming sheet metal and enough spotlights to illuminate the International Space Station, this was the final chilly, Detroit Auto Show in January. 2019 lacked the European media-hustle excitement, which left extra space for other exhibitors.
Next year the Grand Experiment begins, moving show dates to June and using the Cobo Center rooftop and multiple venues spread throughout downtown Detroit to showcase the best in cars, trucks, crossovers, SUVs, SAVs, mobility pods and platforms. 2020 will be interesting, to say the least.
We've done the General Motors story, this is the rest of the best.
Ford kicked off the show, bringing their all-new 2020 Explorer to an early debut at Ford Field. Hmm, plenty of space under the dome! At Cobo Center, there were the new Explorer, new Mustang GT500, infused with a supercharged V-8 making over 700 horsepower with a 0-60 time a tick over three seconds, and the latest Ford F-150 Raptor, all brightly colored for maximum exposure. Interestingly, even on limited-attendance media days the Ford layout felt cramped.
The 2020 Explorer will use EcoBoost turbo power, either a 2.3L base engine or more powerful 3.0L depending on your needs and your credit union's scorecard. It's a rear-wheel drive platform, with AWD available. To me there's not a substantial change anywhere except the front-end, which is more like Fusion or Focus, which is not a bad thing.
FCA's RAM division challenged its cross-town rivals with an all-new RAM Heavy Duty 2500 and RAM Heavy Duty 3500 which the brand says, "Out-powers, out-tows and out-hauls every other pickup available." Why? It's thanks to an update Cummins 6.7-liter high output turbo-diesel that breaks the 1,000 lb.-ft. torque barrier for standard pickups. If you want all of those torques, you'll have to order a two-wheel drive model equipped with proper equipment. Then your Ram will be rated to tow 35,100 pounds and deliver a 7,680-pound payload. Ram's media briefing was all about axles, transfer cases, suspension, brakes and transmissions, AKA gear-head heaven and real news.
GAC, will likely the first Chinese automaker to deliver cars to the USA, and have multiple dealerships (we discount supercars and tiny e-cars.) They brought a non-concept concept called ENTRANZE. It seats 3+2+2 in a pod-like configuration. Of course the vehicle is electric, and a version of this shape/size/configuration will be released by GAC later in 2019 for the Chinese market. GAC will soon open a North American headquarters in California. They also displayed a full lineup of sedans and small-and-larger crossovers; these guys are for real, even if we don’t find most of their current lineup visually appealing.
Ford and VW held a teleconference announcing a partnership to collaborate on a products and technologies. Likely, VW wants to take advantage of Ford's truck expertise while Ford could rapidly benefit from Volkswagen's advanced electric platforms and autonomous vehicle research. How this shakes out is yet unknown and details are conspicuously-but not unexpectedly-absent.
The handsome Lincoln Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door Edition, designed to remind us of Lincoln's heritage with center-opening doors and a luxury interior featuring Alcantara, was one of the best-looking vehicles on the floor. And the Continental delivers more than a sophisticated exterior, as under the hood you can option a hybrid version of the twin-turbo EcoBoost 3.0-liter V-6. By combining the EcoBoost with hybrid technology, it produces a respectable 450 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque. Get into line with a bank draft, only 80 will be produced.
Arguably the most-anticipated introduction was Toyota's new Supra. The 2020 GR Supra is the first global model developed by Toyota GAZOO Racing, the international umbrella for Toyota's global motorsport program. Built on a chassis shared with BMW's Z4, Supra comes in two models, Base and Premium, with a third Launch Edition based on the Premium limited to 1,500 cars. Those get signatures from Akio Toyoda on carbon fiber for display in your office. However, the base model looks like the better bet. It has the same 300-hp. engine, grippy Alcantara seats (versus leather) and a low-low entry price of $50,920. Car-loving journalists agreed, it has better looks and more impact than Margot Robbie or Gal Gadot.
Lexus brought it's RC F Track Edition, which has been upgraded and with a refreshed body. Meant for performance enthusiasts, add a set of tires and extra brake pads and you, too, Can't Drive 55, or have a good weekend of racing. Also, the company displayed a "concept" LC Convertible, a very sexy and meant-for-sunshine-weekend-weather touring. It awaits a decision on soft top or folding hardtop; well, that's what we think.
For family buyers, Volkswagen introduced a new Passat, which could look a bit more like the Arteon concept, in our opinion. However, Passats are meant for driving, not display, so look for aggressive pricing and "German Engineering" adverts to follow. Also look for significantly upgraded features added to the brands already-good ride and handling. As their Atlas CUV has great lane keeping and VW's excellent telematics system, we expect Passat to be well received by couples and families.
Nothing says Auto Show like CONCEPT CARS. Real concepts, even if they somewhat foreshadow the styling of future product. No production-intent cut lines, no perfect rubber gaskets with part numbers. Real. For several years Nissan and Infiniti have provided winners, 2019 was no exception.
The Infiniti QX Inspiration is, of course an electrified vehicle that hints at Infiniti's upcoming EV architecture. There is, according to the company, intent to build, though likely with conventional doors to meet safety regulations. Like other EVs, there's a "skateboard" modular base with e-motors on each axle, which generates all-wheel drive. The QX Inspiration took three of EyesOn Design's awards— Best Concept Vehicle, Best Designed Interior and Best Use of Color, Graphics or Materials
Nissan brought the IM purely electric sedan with its odd 2+1+2 seating arrangement. Nissan says IM stands for "Intelligent Mobility". With power estimated at 483 horsepower and 590 lb.-ft. of torque, the battery pack extends range to 380 miles, eliminating any range anxiety. It’s low, has a fantastic paint job, and a video-only instrument/infotainment panel sweeping across the dashboard.
Subaru, home of family cars and the wonderful Subaru WRX and WRX STI boy-racers, brought to the USA, for the first time, the STI S209, a full-on racecar wrapped into an STI body. Subaru Technica International is Subaru's race shop and skunk works. Everything is hand-built or hand-assembled, including the 200 S209's that will be sent to the USA. While 341 horsepower from the boxer engine might sound small, competitors around the world have been looking at the taillights in multiple racing venues.
Kia brought its new Telluride three-row crossover to Detroit, putting it on display and on an interior hill-climb track, the first at NAIAS. Appearance is sportier than the soon-to-come Hyundai Palisade, and Kia's theme echoed that with an active lifestyle display complete with ski racks and kayaks.
Hyundai showed an enhancement to their N Line of performance vehicles. Available to you and me Really Soon, the Elantra GT N Line combines sportier trim elements with refinements to the chassis and powertrain. Think "BMW M that I can afford." Their first N Line racecar, the Veloster N TCR, will compete in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race, beginning with the 2019 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com
Ford's media launch for the all-new 2019 Ranger is presently underway. One tidbit that Ford let out today is that the Ranger will have a 22 MPG Combined rating in 4X4 and 23 MPG combined in RWD versions. Those numbers are the same as the Colorado and Canyon Duramax diesels'.
Normally, comparing a gasoline-powered vehicle to a similar one with a diesel engine is meaningless. Diesels are really good at two things; creating torque at low RPMs and having a high miles per gallon rating (of diesel fuel). The Ranger is a bit different. Like the new Chevy 2.7-Liter turbo gas engine, the Ranger's 2.3-liter "EcoBoost" turbocharged gasoline engine also develops outstanding torque at low RPMs. The Ranger is rated at 310 lb-ft of torque. Ford has not yet provided a curve for it and we will update our readers when they do. Expect a low RPM peak and a flat plateau over the entire normal operating speed range of the engine.
Diesel is presently selling at 22% more per gallon than regular unleaded according to AAA's daily national average posting. It will be interesting to see how the Ranger pulls trailers. It may well have a similar pulling ability to the Duramax equipped midsize trucks from GM, but offer much quicker acceleration coupled with a lower cost for fuel.
Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com
Ford has announced that it will begin to phase out of the passenger car market. The most recent announcement caps a long list of hints by Ford that the company could not seem to build cars that are competitive or that were profitable to make domestically. Ford will be walking away from a volume of business larger than the total sales volume of Volkswagen in America. The Mustang will stay, but most of the Ford cars will not have a next generation.
FCA recently canceled two Dodge and Chrysler models, deciding to keep only the luxury and rear/AWD muscle cars that it can also sell to government agencies. The natural question to ask, given that both Ford and Chrysler are walking away from mainstream family cars, is will GM follow the examples?
Mary Barra, GM’s CEO says GM will not follow the example. At least in the near term. Here’s what Barra told investors in a recent conference call:
“We launched very efficient architectures in the midsize and compact (segments) proving to be good platforms going forward with fairly minor changes…And the segments are still significant. Because we’ve made the investments, we need to deploy little to no capital going forward, so we view (cars) as an opportunity. What you’ll see us do is play very efficiently in a segment that, although it is declining, there is still an opportunity.”
That does not mean that GM won’t retire individual car models across its brands. Barra has already said that the Volt will go away eventually as GM switches to battery-electric cars (fully electric like the Bolt). Cadillac, Buick and Chevy also have some cars that are moving so slowly the market is killing them off, regardless of what GM wants. All but one Cadillac car, ironically, the front wheel drive one, the Lacrosse, the Impala, and the Sonic all look like models that could eventually be replaced by crossover models.
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