5 biggest shocks: What surprised us at the Detroit auto show – USA TODAY
Here are some of the hottest cars from the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Take a look!
DETROIT—Perhaps the least shocking element of the 2017 Detroit auto show was that Donald Trump dominated the conversation.
From debate about his threat to impose a border tax, to speculation that his administration will loosen fuel-economy standards, the Trump effect loomed over the annual North American International Auto Show.
That much was inevitable. There were several surprises, however:
1. Akio Toyoda is funny.
The global CEO of Toyota showed off his comedic side in a scripted bit during a press conference Monday to unveil the redesigned Toyota Camry.
Customers will get a choice between “sexy or really sexy,” he quipped.
He also jokingly needled a racecar driver and one of his leading executives after the Toyota team didn’t win a second consecutive NASCAR Spring Cup Championship in 2016.
“Close doesn’t count, Bob,” he deadpanned. The crowd loved it.
It was refreshingly lighter moment in an event typically laden with jargon and industry speak.
Volkwagen’s concept microbus I.D. Buzz combines looks of VW’s 60s icon microbus minivan. The vehicle was revealed during the 2017 North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit.
Desperately needing to reestablish an emotional connection with disenfranchised fans, VW revealed the I.D. Buzz microbus concept to rave reviews. In a smooth blend of the sentimental and the modern, VW gave us something fresh. That’s hard to do in an age of yeah-right concepts and yawn-worthy production cars.
And you don’t have to be a hippie to love this vehicle, which could eventually turn into a production model. Technologists will appreciate the self-driving, electric capability.
3. The Kia Stinger.
And you thought you knew Kia.
Styled in Germany, the Stinger represents a bold move by Kia to extend its image for youthful design into an upscale, performance platform generating a halo effect for the brand.
The Stinger’s powertrain options include a 2-liter, 4-cylinder, 255-horsepower engine and a 365-horsepower, 3.3-liter, twin-turbo, 6-cylinder engine.
Drawing design inspiration from Kia’s snazzy GT concept car, the Stinger has a long “tiger nose,” short rear deck and sweeping roofline.
The only question is whether people with cash to burn will embrace an upscale European-style sporty hatchback branded as a Kia instead of an Acura, Infiniti, Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz, for example.
The car reaches U.S. showrooms this year. “The Kia you know 10, or even five years ago, is gone,” Kia Executive Vice President Michael Sprague said.
4. The Ford Bronco and Ranger are coming but will take time.
While industry observers expected Ford to reveal a slightly redesigned version of the Ford F-150 pickup truck at the auto show, the decision to also announce the return of the Bronco and Ranger was not expected to happen at this event.
While speculation has swirled for years that Ford would eventually bring back the Bronco sport-utility vehicle and Ranger pickup truck, the company finally made it official.
Perhaps the only surprise is that it will take so long. The Ranger will hit in 2019 and the Bronco in 2020, giving competitors plenty of runway to tailor their competitive strategy.
5. Bill Ford expects flying cars.
The Ford executive chairman told a group of employees at a private event attended by USA TODAY on Sunday that he foresees significant change in transportation. Perhaps even this.
“I suppose if you’re looking far enough out, we’ll have flying autonomous vehicles,” he said.
Put us down for the first available unit.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.