Detroit — At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) sometimes things don’t go as planned.
On Monday, Jan. 14, following a bright, high-energy introduction before more than 100 journalists and auto industry insiders, the highly anticipated Infiniti’s QZ Inspiration electric concept vehicle failed to start and drive on stage during the presentation.
The announcer dutifully carried on, flashy graphics serving as the only visual. Eventually, the QX Inspiration was pushed on stage.
This was one highlight of the first media day of the 2019 NAIAS. This event brings several auto manufacturers under one roof at Cobo Center to give journalists, industry professionals and the public a first look at what’s new in the world of automobiles.
Public hours start Saturday, Jan. 19 (see sidebar.) While traditionally held in the winter, next year, the NAIAS will be held in the summer, starting on June 8, 2020 according to NAIAS.
The new show will feature outdoor displays and live performances and food vendors.
As possibly the last indoor show, this year’s auto show still attracted thousands of journalists, many international, to the Detroit Auto Dealers Association signature event. As a rule, announcements and unveilings draw large crowds of media and industry professionals.
The new ultra high-performance Subaru S209 was unveiled under intense music and white fog. This vehicle line has never been available in the U.S. until now.
Ford also unveiled the long-awaited high performance monster in its Shelby GT500, which will boast at least 700 horsepower, though Ford isn’t giving a number yet. It’s touted as the most powerful Ford ever built.
Brand new for Detroit is the Jeep Gladiator pickup truck. It’s basically a late-model Wrangler with a pick-up bed,
unveiled at the LA Auto Show this past summer.
The name is reused from a pick-up model built between 1962 and 1988 from various Jeep brand owners from Willys to Chrysler, based on the Wagoneer and Cherokee.
While on the topic of Jeep, India-based Mahindra brought its Roxor brand to the auto show for the first time this year.
Built in Auburn Hills, it looks very much like classic Jeeps of the past 50 years. This company has been manufacturing their Jeep-like SUVs since 1945. They’re not street legal, and they will compete directly with other off-road utility vehicles, like the Razor. The base price is $15,499.
Chevrolet had unveiled its 2019 Blazer in June 2018 in Atlanta, and it met the audience in Detroit for the first time this week. This model shares the same chassis with the Traverse, according to a Chevy spokesperson. It comes in three models, starting at $28,800. Unlike the true sport utility vehicle of the past, this is a crossover with sleek styling.
Motor Trend Magazine awarded the 2019 Ram 1500 as “Truck of the Year.” The Ford F-150 was the 2018 truck of the year.
Absent were several major auto manufacturers — Audi, BMW and Mercedes didn’t participate in the auto show this year. Mini and Tesla were not at the auto show either. Nor were Volvo, Porsche, Jaguar or Land Rover.
The Automotive News essentially said that automakers were being more careful on which shows they attended, because they’re expensive propositions.
The only German auto manufacturer was Volkswagen. This year is a chance to see the final Volkswagen Beetle model before it’s discontinued.
The NAIAS public show
Dates: Jan. 19 -27
Hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 27: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Early handicap access is at 8 a.m.
No admittance an hour before closing time.
Tickets: Adults: $14; seniors 65 and older, and children 6-12: $7. Children under 6 are free with parent or guardian.
Go to naias.com for more information