DETROIT – Even as ongoing negotiations between Detroit’s three automakers and the United Auto Workers union overshadowed everything else in the industry, some companies used this year’s edition of the Detroit Auto Show to unveil new and revised models Wednesday.
Discussions over a new four-year contract have been tense as the union threatens costly strikes if the sides fail to reach an agreement by 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday evening, when the current contract expires.
Against this background Given the challenges auto shows have faced since the coronavirus pandemic, it’s no surprise that most automakers have opted not to unveil their latest models – or not attend the show at all. But there was still an all-new model, a redesign of GMC’s popular Acadia crossover, and significant updates to several others unveiled at the event: actually called the North American International Auto Show
Here’s what CNBC saw on the show.
All-new: 2024 GMC Acadia
The only major unveiling of a new model at the show came when General Motors unveiled the completely redesigned 2024 GMC Acadia on Wednesday morning. The all-new Acadia remains a midsize crossover, but it’s larger than the outgoing model and features a beefy new look that’s more in line with its GMC siblings like the smaller Terrain crossover and Sierra pickup.
The new Acadia is powered exclusively by a new 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 328 horsepower and 326 pound-feet of torque, more than the previous model. Inside, there’s a standard 15-inch touchscreen for central controls and a host of new safety and convenience technologies, including GM’s Super Cruise Highway hands-free driver assistance system.
The Acadia’s larger size corrects what GM executives now see as a mistake made with the previous model. According to GMC CEO Duncan Aldred, the company has downsized the size of this vehicle, to the dismay of current owners and dealers.
“It was a pretty easy decision for us to really go bigger because we know the customers want it, they value this space and we think it will lead to more success,” he said during a media event.
Production of the 2024 Acadia is expected to begin early next year at a plant in central Michigan, with vehicles expected to arrive in dealer showrooms in the first quarter. GM has announced a third shift for production of the Acadia and its sister crossovers, the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave.
The Acadia is a top seller for the upscale GMC brand. Just over 40,000 copies were sold in the USA in the first half of 2023. Of the brand’s SUVs, only the large truck-based Yukon sells more.
A big refresh: 2024 Ford F-150
Ford engine didn’t do much at Wednesday’s show, but it wasn’t left out. The company unveiled its updated 2024 F-150 pickup truck lineup Tuesday evening to a large crowd in downtown Detroit, not far from the show floor.
The redesigned truck, a top seller that is critical to Ford’s profits, features updated engines and new interior and exterior designs. The latter includes a new tailgate that allows customers to access the vehicle’s cargo area like a standard door, as well as a traditional fold-down tailgate.
2024 Ford F-150 PowerBoost Platinum Hybrid
The big news of the evening was that the company plans to double U.S. production of a hybrid version of the F-150 to about 20% of the trucks produced for the 2024 model year.
The hybrid plans follow Ford CEO Jim Farley’s statement in late July that the Detroit automaker would quadruple production of the company’s gas-electric hybrids while continuing to increase production of electric vehicles – although more slowly than previously announced.
2024 Ford F-150 Powerboost Platinum Hybrid
“I definitely think the hybrid powertrain, our PowerBoost hybrid, will help people transition to all-electric vehicles,” John Emmert, general manager of Ford trucks, said in an interview with CNBC. “Hybrid is a step towards electrification, and for some people electrification is not the best solution right now.”
A new face: 2025 Cadillac CT5
General Motors also unveiled an updated version of its Cadillac CT5 sedan at the show Wednesday morning. The CT5, the larger of Cadillac’s two remaining combustion sedans, gets a redesigned front grille and a refreshed interior, including a large new touchscreen, for the 2025 model year.
The updated CT5’s dashboard adopts the large 33-inch touchscreen of other Cadillacs and offers the driver extensive customization options, including Google-based navigation and entertainment services. On the outside, the new front end features a bolder grille inspired by Cadillac’s recent show vehicles and redesigned lighting.
“The new advanced technologies enhance the driver’s personal connection in a sedan already known for its driving spirit, comfort and technology,” said Alex MacDonald, chief engineer of the CT5.
2025 Cadillac CT5
The rear-wheel-drive CT5 is praised by critics for its sharp handling. Although it is Cadillac’s best-selling sedan, its sales lag behind most of the brand’s SUVs and crossovers.
GM sold about 10,000 CT5s in the U.S. in the first half of the year, about double the total number of smaller CT4 sedans. But it was far fewer than the nearly 21,000 sales of the luxury brand’s best-selling Escalade large SUV during the same period.
Production of the updated CT5 will begin in the second quarter of 2024. Updates for the high-performance versions of the CT5, the CT5-V and the CT5-V Blackwing, will be released at a later date, GM said.
Some recent updates: 2024 Jeep Gladiator
Stellantis unveiled a slightly redesigned version of its Jeep Gladiator, a pickup truck based on the brand’s iconic Wrangler. The Gladiator gets an updated version of Jeep’s iconic grille for the 2024 model year, as well as an improved touchscreen infotainment system and some new off-road features.
Jeep unveiled an updated 2024 version of its Gladiator pickup truck in Detroit on September 13, 2023.
Not surprisingly, the Gladiator’s new grille is very similar to the revised grille that the Wrangler itself will wear for the 2024 model year. The two models will be built side by side at the Jeep brand’s flagship factory in Toledo.
Inside, Stellantis has made its 12.3-inch touchscreen system – originally an upgrade option – standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Buyers of the redesigned Gladiator can also opt for new power seats that have been “water-tested,” said Senior Vice President Jim Morrison, who leads the Jeep brand in North America.
The redesigned 2024 Jeep Gladiator features a larger touchscreen infotainment system as standard.
“Combine all of that with the folding windshield, three roof options, two different door options or taking the doors away, and the Gladiator is the only truck in the industry that celebrates that kind of open-air freedom while still doing real truck stuff “I can do that,” Morrison said.
New “X” versions of the Gladiator’s Mojave and Rubicon trims, more focused on off-road driving, feature a permanent transfer case and an integrated off-road camera, as well as steel bumpers at both ends. But Stellantis has dropped the Gladiator’s optional diesel engine, leaving buyers with only one powertrain choice: a 3.6-liter V6 with 285 horsepower. Unlike the Wrangler, the Gladiator is not offered in a hybrid version.
Sales of the Gladiator are only a fraction of those of the Wrangler – about 27,000 Gladiators versus over 84,000 Wranglers in the first half of 2023 – but it is still an important, profitable product for Stellantis. The company said dealers can order the redesigned truck now, with deliveries expected to begin before the end of the year.
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