Global automakers will kick off 2017 by displaying a wide array of future vehicles at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This year, luxury sedans and small sport utility vehicles will jostle for the spotlight along with electric cars and diesel-powered pickup trucks. When it comes to industry profits, the trucks and SUVs will be at center stage.
Here are some of the notable vehicle debuts expected at the Detroit show, which opens to the public on Saturday, Jan. 14.
—Lexus LS. Toyota Motor (TM) debuted the first Lexus LS 400 sedan in Detroit at the 1989 auto show. On Monday, the brand will unveil the fifth generation of its big sedan to a market that is turning away from the traditional concept that a luxury brand’s “flagship” model must be a sedan, instead of a sport utility vehicle.
—BMW 5-series. BMW (BMWYY) has already taken the wraps off the look of the new 5-series, which competes with the Mercedes E-class and Audi A6. The German luxury automaker plans to display a plug-in hybrid version of the car for the first time in Detroit. Like its competitors, the 5-series is losing ground to SUVs—and the Tesla Model S electric sedan—among affluent U.S. buyers.
—Fiat Chrysler and Waymo. Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) and Waymo, the self driving car unit of Silicon Valley’s Alphabet (GOOGL) unveiled one of the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans developed under an alliance.
—Volkswagen (VLKAY). Volkswagen will display a prototype for an eight-passenger, electric microbus, called the I.D. Buzz. It is the latest in a series of show cars designed to kindle consumer interest in a 21st Century version of the classic microbus that helped to propel the VW brand’s growth in the United States during the 1960s.
—Honda Odyssey. Just in time for millennials starting to have the baby boom generation’s grandchildren, Honda Motor (HMC) is expected to debut in Detroit a new generation of its Odyssey minivan. The minivan segment has shrunk since the former Chrysler pioneered the concept of a boxy family hauler in the 1980s, but sales in the segment rose 8% last year.
—Ford F-150. Ford Motor (F) will give the 2018 model of the best-selling vehicle in the United States some modest appearance changes, and more significantly, new technology to reduce fuel consumption. For the first time, Ford will offer a diesel engine option in the F-150. The company is not releasing fuel economy estimates for that engine. A new 3.3 liter six cylinder engine will also be offered and fuel-saving technology that shuts down the engine at a stop light will be available.
—Chevrolet Traverse. General Motors (GM) is highlighting two redesigned sport utility vehicles in Detroit, including a new generation of the Chevrolet Traverse, a family hauling SUV that will compete with the likes of the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
—Toyota Camry. The best-selling passenger car in the United States for the past 15 years gets a major makeover. Camry sales fell 9.5% in 2016 from the year before, reflecting pressure from the shift to SUVs. Overall, mid-sized sedan sales in the United States fell 10 percent. Toyota has been giving its mainstream models more expressive styling and advanced technology, to counter a long-held image for dull reliability. The 2018 Camry is expected to reflect that direction.
—Audi SUV. Analysts expect Audi, the high-volume luxury brand of Volkswagen, to show a new, large sport utility vehicle in Detroit. The mainstream Volkswagen brand, meanwhile, is expected to highlight a new generation of its compact Tiguan sport utility.
—Nissan (NSANY). Nissan Motor is expected on Monday to debut a new small SUV for the U.S. market as well as a redesigned QX50 compact SUV for the Infiniti luxury brand.