Horses and longhorn cattle surround a Dodge Ram pickup during its debut at the 2008 Detroit auto show. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
There will be no longhorn steers herded on downtown streets, no SUVs dramatically driving through sugar glass. Heck, there won’t even be the $ 100 worth of orange extension cords hanging limply from the ceiling.
That’s because one of the auto industry’s historic master auto showmen has almost nothing new to show at this year’s Detroit auto show. To quote the president-elect: Sad!
Sure, Fiat Chrysler will still have a massive stand on the show floor, with booming sounds and seizure-inducing light shows each hour. But an unfortunately timed product cadence and the allure of the larger CES show in Las Vegas persuaded FCA to pull out its new glitzy toy — the Chrysler Portal BEV minivan concept — a week early.
FCA won’t hold an automaker press conference to unveil a new product in Detroit this week as many of its counterparts will do. There are some new products in the pipeline — a Jeep Grand Cherokee Track Hawk, a redesigned Wrangler, a refreshed Jeep Cherokee, a next-generation Ram 1500 — but they’re not ready yet and will be shown later this year or in 2018.
New product announcements are great for garnering free media, but new products aren’t free to develop, and sometimes the schedule just doesn’t work in your favor. FCA will no doubt still make plenty of news in Detroit — after all, the annual Sergio Marchionne quote-a-thon will still take place at the show on Monday morning, and that never fails to garner headlines of all types.
But it’s just a little sad to see a Detroit auto show without some completely over-the-top stunt by the smallest of the Detroit 3.