Detroit auto show: Return of the trucks

After three years of smaller cars, Americans just like to drive trucks

by Chris Sorensen

Since 2009, the Detroit auto show has been mostly about cars—the smaller, the better. After being caught flat-footed by the recession and a big spike in gasoline prices, the former Big Three—Ford, GM and Chrysler—were eager to show the U.S. government and taxpayers (which bailed out GM and Chrysler) that they knew how to build more than hulking pickup trucks and gas-guzzling SUVs. Hence, the spotlight was on small cars like the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and Dodge Dart, while the heavier pieces of metal were parked off to the side.

Not this year. All three automakers are turning their attention back to bigger vehicles—namely pick-up trucks. GM is showing off its new 2014 Chevrolet Sliverado 1500 and its sister model the GMC Sierra. Ford, meanwhile, has a burly Atlas pick-up concept that is believed to represent the future look of its best-selling F-150.

Ford F-150 concept. (North American International Auto Show)

In part, the renewed focus on pick-ups reflects a need to refresh models that haven’t seen a major update in several years (although that didn’t stop the F-150 and Silverado from claiming the top two sales spots in the U.S. last year by a significant margin). It’s also timed to coincide with the rebound in the U.S. housing market, which is expected to draw contractors and other construction types back to showrooms. But mostly it reflects a reality of the U.S. auto business that was swept under rug for political reasons in 2009, but remains as important to the Detroit Three’s bottom lines as ever: Americans like to drive trucks.




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Detroit auto show: Return of the trucks

  1. Do not, under any circumstances, invest in the American auto industry.

    • Should we stop paying taxes? By hook or by crook, Canadians will be ‘investing’ in the american auto industry for long time yet.

      Maclean’s Jan 2013

      Ottawa is extending an auto sector fund that provides a $250-million pool of investment cash over five years for car companies and their suppliers. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking at the Ford plant in Oakville, Ont., said the Automotive Innovation Fund has helped Canada’s auto sector become more innovative, agile and competitive.

      • I know….Harper trying to buy votes again. But he and the premier should both be winding down the industry, and investing the money elsewhere.

        Privately you may have to buy stocks….but nobody else does.

  2. It is good thing Americans, and Canadians, like to drive light trucks because that is only product American auto companies can reliably produce. European and Asian car makers out perform American in producing small to mid size cars. Light trucks are also how American firms make $$$ – American firms break even or lose money on cars that sell for less than $30,000 or thereabouts.

    • Americans and Canadians have been convinced they should buy trucks by advertising that’s all….it’s not that most people need trucks

      But ads made trucks part of the Culture War….an effort to cling to the Industrial and Agricultural Age and the past in general…. when ‘men were men, and sheep were nervous’ and all that.

  3. by the entry of these trucks ford explorer will be a history for sure and trucks will be lately known as F150.As they are almost sharing same platform they will be having some common characteristics but not about the power.the previous models of ford were compromising in lack of transmission issues with the other competitors like Chevrolet,GM,etc.I had some issues with its gear shift while running and i had to consult truckers assist for repairing it..

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