If there's a single event that offers a clear idea of what's happening in the auto industry, it's the Detroit Auto Show, now called the North American International Auto Show. Celebrating its 100th Anniversary, the 2007 Detroit Show played host to 47 automotive manufacturers looking to show off their latest futuristic design concepts, as well as current models.
If you love all things automotive, this is the Mecca of the car universe. However, one of the most unfortunate things about this year's auto show is that it really was all about cars; there was very little news in the form of pickup trucks or traditional SUVs. Clearly, fashion trends are shifting. Most of the highlighted vehicles pushed some sort of alternative fuel or mode of transportation to get attention.
In addition, with Ford leading the way, technology was the name of the game this year. Ford made a big splash, linking up with Bill Gates from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to announce that in the very near future, your car (and probably all cars soon enough) will be able to download songs to your ipod, hook into your cell phone, and give your dealership diagnostic information before you ever feel a cylinder sputter--all very impressive, if not a little scary. Even General Motors showed their high-tech Chevy Volt electric vehicle that uses the next generation Lithium-Ion batteries and is reported to get as much as 500 mpg (we're guessing there is some provision for keeping the gasoline or diesel fuel fresh) by using a small fuel engine to charge the battery pack.
We can only assume there will be more truck and SUV news coming at the Chicago (February) and New York (April) auto shows, but don't hold your breath. Will all the attention crossovers and fuel prices are getting, it's going to be very difficult to get any momentum behind a big-dog, functional, work-duty product . . . just not sexy right now. Which means eventually the pendulum will be swinging back. Still, there was plenty to gawk and admire. We even found a few really good looking spokes-models who sure talked like they were "truck guys". That was refreshing. For more details on what happened each day, check out our Truck Perspective blog here and/or at MotorTrend.com. For now, we'll just have to wait and see. Thank goodness the new heavy-duty Ford, Chevy, and Dodge pickup trucks are coming soon.