Market Overview

6 Industry Trends On Display At The 25th North American International Auto Show In Detroit

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The general public will soon be able to check out some of the latest upgrades, changes and trends when the North American International Auto Show opens up January 18 at Detroit's Cobo Center.

Some of the major executives and representatives were on hand to describe what advancements had been made to previous models for the upcoming year.

Here is a look at some of the trends on hand.

Light-Weight

  • Ford Motor (NYSE: F) opened up the week with the unveiling of the 2015 F-150, at one point the best-selling U.S. vehicle for 17 straight years. The modern look of the truck as evident, but the biggest advancement was its new 95 percent aluminum body. The military-grade alloy will take up to 700 pounds (compared to the 2014 model) off the new F-150.
  • Alcoa (NYSE: AA) was used for early-testing of aluminum parts and recently completed a $300 million expansion to meet demand. Novelis was picked up in 2010 and converted a New York plant to help meet demand. Ford's website says that the aluminum scrap can be reclaimed and sent back into the manufacturing process to minimize waste.

The company put a 2.7L EcoBoost engine in the truck, that could bring in a new customer to its truck market.

Related: Detroit Auto Show Unveilings Underscore Auto-Makers' Retooling Efforts

Smarter vehicles

  • Ford also introduced the 360-degree cam view with the F-150, which they called an industry-first. Joe Hinrich, executive vice president and president of the Americas, said the new model is to attract it's not tech-savvy truck customers.
  • Chrysler┬áBrand President and CEO Al Gardner touted how the new Chrysler 200 replaced the standard shift lever to a fully-electronic rotary dial. Additionally, the UConnect System uses a hands-free, voice-activated command center that, for example, can activate a driver's Pandora app and a voice-to-text feature.
  • "The 200 charts a new course for the Chrysler brand," Gardner said Tuesday morning. "It's athletic, and soulful with fluid surfaces drivers will want to touch and feel."
  • The mid-size sedan's Lane Sense Departure Warning-Plus, which alerts the driver when the car is about to drift out of its lane, displays the continued advancement of smart vehicles. Additionally, the car's ParkSense allows the driver to step back and allow the car to park in both parallel or perpendicular spaces.

Related: Panasonic, Major Automakers Evolving With Mobile & Infotainment

Electrification

  • Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA), the industry's hottest name, dealt with its latest 'recall' issues, but was also able to display why they have shot up the list of top domestic automakers. Jerome Guillen, vice president of worldwide sales and service, stressed the company's plan to continue "reckless growth."
  • Sales and service centers will double both domestically and globally. The company has added seven supercharging sites so far in 2014. Once Tesla fills in a gap in the northeast of the U.S., creating an "S" like path across the country, Guillen said that Model S drivers will be able to drive across the country for free.
  • Ford COO Mark Fields, said that the automaker doubled its electrified vehicle market share in 2013, with hybrids, plugin hybrids and all electric vehicles. Executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. added that the C-Max solar energy concept channels electricity from solar panels on roof, marking the "next step in electrified vehicles."
  • Volkswagen (OTC: VLKAY) Group of America CEO and president Michael Horn introduced the E-Golf, an electric vehicle that has already made waves in Europe. Despite the company's strong stance on electromobility, Horn was cautious when discussing e-cars future.

"If governments are putting much more effort into this, [electric cars]could be a big market, like in major cities," Horn told reporters on Monday afternoon. "If not, with the high cost of batteries, it's very difficult to reach customers."

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