Muscle, glitz and a minivan: A look at Detroit auto show

January 8, 2016 byDee-Ann Durbin
Muscle, glitz and a minivan: A look at Detroit auto show
A worker uses a lift near a video board in preparation for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. The show opens to the public on Saturday, Jan. 16. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

That sound of engines revving? It's coming from Detroit.

The North American International Auto Show opens next week in the Motor City. Automakers will debut around 45 new production vehicles and experimental concept cars during the media preview Monday and Tuesday. Starting Jan. 16, the public can see 750 cars spread over 17 acres at Detroit's Cobo Center.

The Detroit show isn't the biggest in terms of public attendance or square footage—in the U.S., those honors go to New York and Chicago. But Detroit attracts the most media: More than 5,000 journalists from 60 countries and 40 states. The show is also a hot ticket for tens of thousands of automotive engineers, designers and other industry attendees.

Here are some things to know about the Detroit show:

— MUSCLE CARS TO MINIVANS: Last year, the Ford GT and Acura NSX supercars stole the show. This year, it's the humble minivan's turn. Chrysler will debut an all-new minivan, the vehicle it invented 33 years ago. But there will be some flashier cars, too. Porsche will debut a 911 Turbo and Mercedes-Benz will show the sporty SLC coupe. Honda and Nissan will unveil pickup trucks and Volvo and Hyundai will show new sedans.

A worker constructs a Ford Motor Company display in preparation for the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. The show opens to the public on Saturday, Jan. 16. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

— WHERE'S WALDO?: The Detroit show floor will be completely new this year, its first major renovation in five years. Automakers have moved to new spots and spent $200 million on flashy new displays. Show organizers say the new plan reflects changes in the industry—Fiat Chrysler, for example, has more room to stretch out—and groups luxury makers together. A new mobile app will help guide visitors around and flash information about cars to them through electronic beacons placed throughout the floor.

— NO SHOWS: Several brands who have had displays at the Detroit show in the past won't be attending this year, including Tesla Motors, Mini, Jaguar and Land Rover. They have different reasons for the change. Tesla generally doesn't make a splash at auto shows, preferring to unveil new cars on its own timeline. But the company also has frosty relations with Michigan, which currently bans Tesla's retail stores. Jaguar Land Rover wants to focus on the luxury-oriented New York and Los Angeles shows, and Mini is also skipping the Geneva show. Detroit is getting one returning ultra-luxury brand, however: Aston Martin, which last attended the Detroit show in 2009.

Muscle, glitz and a minivan: A look at Detroit auto show
A GMC pickup truck is shown elevated in plastic in preparation for the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. The show opens to the public on Saturday, Jan. 16. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

— WHAT A GAS: Low gas prices have hurt sales of electric and hybrid vehicles. U.S. sales of the electric Nissan Leaf dropped 43 percent last year. But automakers are still exploring alternatives to gas-powered vehicles, partly because they have to meet higher fuel economy standards. Lexus will show a hydrogen fuel cell-powered sedan, the LF-FC, in Detroit, while Ford is expected to have a new plug-in hybrid version of its Fusion sedan. GM will show the electric Chevrolet Bolt, which can go 200 miles on a charge and will go on sale later this year.

— CROWDED CALENDAR: Some say there are now two big auto shows in January: the Detroit show and the CES gadget show in Las Vegas. Automakers, eager to show off the increasing amount of technology in their cars, are choosing to debut autonomous systems, dashboard electronics and even entire vehicles at CES, which is going on this week. This year, General Motors debuted its Chevrolet Bolt electric car at CES, while Volkswagen showed its experimental BUDD-e electric microbus. Kia promised a self-driving car by 2030, while Ford and BMW announced in-car apps that will let drivers control their home appliances using voice commands.

Muscle, glitz and a minivan: A look at Detroit auto show
A worker prepares the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles area for the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Muscle, glitz and a minivan: A look at Detroit auto show
A worker points to lighting at the Smart exhibit in preparation for the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Muscle, glitz and a minivan: A look at Detroit auto show
A worker cleans at the Mercedes-Benz exhibit in preparation for the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. The show opens to the public on Saturday, Jan. 16. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Muscle, glitz and a minivan: A look at Detroit auto show
A worker checks a video display in preparation for the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Muscle, glitz and a minivan: A look at Detroit auto show
Carpenter Rick Feledy works on the Smart exhibit in preparation for the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. The show opens to the public on Saturday, Jan. 16. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Muscle, glitz and a minivan: A look at Detroit auto show
Carpenter Andy Assenmacher cleans the floor at the Mercedes-Benz exhibit in preparation for the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. The show opens to the public on Saturday, Jan. 16. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Muscle, glitz and a minivan: A look at Detroit auto show
A Mercedes-Benz automobile is moved to the show floor in preparation for the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Muscle, glitz and a minivan: A look at Detroit auto show
Workers attach lines on the show floor for the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Muscle, glitz and a minivan: A look at Detroit auto show
A Mercedes-Benz vehicle is moved to the exhibit floor in preparation for the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Explore further: Innovation, optimism on display at Detroit auto show

Related Stories

Innovation, optimism on display at Detroit auto show

January 14, 2015

The mood is exuberant at this year's North American International Auto Show. Automakers are flush with profits and the show gleams with performance cars, beefy trucks and exciting experiments, from plug-in hybrids to cars ...

Kia sees autonomous cars by 2030

January 6, 2016

South Korean automaker Kia said it envisions introducing an autonomous car using its own technology by 2030 under a new initiative dubbed "drive wise."

GM unveils Bolt electric car in Vegas

January 7, 2016

General Motors unveiled the production version of its Chevrolet Bolt electric car, on which the US auto giant is pinning its hopes for the emerging segment.

Recommended for you

Auto, aerospace industries warm to 3D printing

August 25, 2016

New 3D printing technology unveiled this week sharply increases the size of objects that can be produced, offering new possibilities to remake manufacturing in the auto, aerospace and other major industries.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.