Notes from the Detroit Auto Show

The world’s top automakers have revealed their plans for their latest product lines at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Consumers are sure to see a number of exciting technological and design developments when automakers roll out their 2013 models, but they unveiled plans to produce even more exciting prototypes and concepts in the future. Here are some of our notes from the show.

Notes from the Detroit Auto Show

A variety of news stories came out from the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, here are the ones that stuck out for us.

Nissan Makes A Play For Midsized Truck Market
Now that Ford has ceased production on the Ranger after three decades of production, Nissan is hoping to use this opportunity to increase its share in the midsize pickup truck market. The company has created a new ad campaign for the Nissan Frontier, marketing it to young consumers as a lower-priced alternative to large pickup trucks, where the Ford F-Series continues to dominate the Nissan Titan by a wide margin.

Scion Vies For Pickup Market
Scion vice-president and general manager Jack Hollis has gone on record saying he wants his company to produce a pickup truck, but as of now the company has yet to release any prototypes or even concept vehicles. According to Hollis, his goal is to produce a Scion truck with a functional open bed area. He came up with the idea after seeing the For-us concept from Smart; its 75-horsepower electric motor offers 98 feet of torque and a battery with greater capacity than that of the Chevrolet Volt.

Chrysler Hints At Plans For Next-Generation Dodge Dakota
Rumors of Chrysler’s re-entry into the small truck market have circulated for years, but company CEO Sergio Marchionne has promised to replace the recently discontinued Dodge Dakota with a unibody truck similar to the Honda Ridgeline. He has also speculated that Jeep could introduce a smaller, more rugged frame-based truck as well. While Marchionne acknowledged the difficulties of designing a unibody truck to meet pickup owners’ needs for payload and towing, he was unable to say when consumers would get to see its next-generation small truck.

Ford Defends Decision to Discontinue Ranger
Visitors to the Auto Show confronted Ford executives about the company’s decision to discontinue the Ranger compact pickup. Mark Fields, president of Ford’s American division, stated that small trucks do not sell well in the United States, adding that the Ranger was too close in size to the F-Series trucks and that small pickups only accounted for two percent of the total market. Ford’s current game plan is to sell the same cars and trucks around the world with only minor adjustments appropriate to the market. Ford marketing chief Jim Farley stated that while Ford’s next-generation small pickup will be made in Argentina, South Africa and Thailand, he believes it is “probably not right for the U.S.” In contrast, rival automaker GM plans to introduce its redesigned Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon in the United States within the next few years; both models are currently available overseas.

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