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Auto makers trump-et their wares at Detroit
By Liz Dobson in Detroit • 10/01/2017
It’s the first motor show of the year, and may be the most important after President elect Donald Trump’s critising car companies for operating in Mexico.
The North American International Auto Show opened in Detroit today with reveals for the major players, but the question that all the car bosses faced from the media was, “What do you think about Trump’s stance?”.
Trump is bullying the major players such as General Motors, Toyota and Audi to move all their production to the USA.
In a tweet, Trump threatened to slap a “big border tax” on GM for importing compact cars to the US market from Mexico.
But at the auto show today, GM’s CEO, Marry Barra, told the Detroit Free Press that that the company would continue "to build where we sell".
"We have more than 40 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and over the last two years alone we have investment more than US$11 billion creating thousands of new jobs in the U.S., as well as recruiting technical talent," Barra told the Detroit Free Press today after Chevrolet unveiled the 2018 Traverse large SUV.
She said GM would continue to produce the Terrain SUV at the San Luis Potosi, Mexico plant. GM will also produce the Equinox, that is coming to New Zealand this year, at GM's plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada.
Just after her comments to the media on Trump’s tweet, Barra faced a more pleasant experience – accepting the award for North American Car of the Year for Chevrolet’s Bolt compact EV.
Audi of American’s CEO, Scott Keogh, was also questioned by the media at it revealed the world premier of the Q8 concept.
He was asked about Audi’s plant in Mexico and said “the plant decision was made five years ago”.
“It is a global plant producing vehicles for all around the world.”
The Q8 wins my vote for standout product at Detroit, not only for the in the stunning Bombay Blue hue but also for coupe-like styling and stunning front grille.
Keogh said the Q8 would go into production next year.
Also on display was the S5 cabriolet that is sure to win some new customers to the brand.
Mercedes-Benz followed up the success of the award-winning E-Class sedan (that took out Driven’s top prize) with the reveal at Detroit of the coupe.
The two-sear luxury car made its first public appearance today before going on sale globally this year. I can’t wait until the E-Class cabriolet is ready for buyers – and test drivers like me – as it has always been a standout product.
Winner of the most beloved concept at the show goes to Volkswagen’s I.D. Buzz concept that harks back to the days of the Kombi and Microbus.
The van is an electric, autonomous vision of for VW and the company says it isn’t just a quirky design study, it’s a practical preview of Volkswagen’s electrified, connected products.
One person who was very interested it in was Opel’s boss Karl Thomas Neumann (pictured below) who hopped behind the wheel as the concept was demonstrated to him.
Volvo also was thinking autonomous at Detroit but instead of concept it brought in a couple – and their two teens – from Sweden to demonstrate its Drive Me project that kicks off in Gottenberg today.
The Hain family (pictured) will be one of 100 families in Sweden to test the autonomous Volvo XC-90 in real world trials.
Mrs Hain was just happy that she wouldn’t have to yell at her husband’s bad driving anymore!
But the most intriguing for Kiwis was Honda’s US designed and built ute, the new Ridgeline. It has been completely reimagined and redesigned – and if Honda NZ was keen (and pushed for RHD) then this product would sure to sky rocket sales for the brand.