Early Investor Takeaways From The 2016 North American International Auto Show
Detroit's North American International Auto Show officially kicked off to the press Monday, January 11, 2016, and Benzinga was there bright and early to get a unique take on this year's showcase.
Car And Truck Of The Year
As most industry vets know, the top car and truck of the year were announced right as the show got underway, just before 7 a.m. Eastern. Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE: HMC)'s Civic beat out General Motors Company (NYSE: GM)'s Chevy Malibu and Mazda's MX-5 Miata. The top truck award went to Volvo with its XC90 offering, followed by Honda's Pilot and the Nissan Motor Co Ltd (OTC: NSANY) Titan XD.
Two of the earliest presentations went to Fiat Chrysler Auto (NYSE: FCAU) and GM via the Chevy brand.
Fiat Chrysler was the first to present at the 2016 show, unveiling the return of the Pacifica. Hybrid capability for the new launch was a major highlight of the presentation, with focus on how the battery technology works and the physical placement within the vehicle.
The crowd response at Chrysler was rather unimpressive. There was room to walk up to the new models on the stage -- something which was much more difficult to do at the Chevy presentation. Chrysler's overall display was the smallest of the big three American automakers.
GM CEO Mary Barra and North American heads Alan Batey and Mark Reuss took the stage next over at the Chevy display. To open up the presentation, Barra and Batey highlighted 2015 as a year of solid market share gains and brand recognition at an all-time high.
Reuss discussed three model-specific achievements over last year: Camero being named Motor Trend Car Of The Year, the Chevy Volt being named Green Car Of The Year, and the Colorado being named a truck of the year.
The new Cruze and Cruze Hatchback received some attention via a mid-presentation promo video and on-stage display of the vehicle. Reuss pointed out a third of Cruze buyers were brand-new customers to the Chevy brand, showing strong customer adoption of the relatively new model.
Given Chrysler's Pacifica presentation, It was notable to see GM's Chevy also leading with somewhat of a more family-friendly unit with the Cruze Hatchback.
New crash avoidance technology in the Cruze was briefly discussed, marking the first head nod to some kind of autonomous driving technology of the show. The Cruze was mentioned as being "fun to drive," one theme which popped up during several of the other morning presentations.
The hotly anticipated new Bolt EV closed out Chevy's 30-minute presentation. Mark Reuss suggested Chevy and the Bolt EV had "a great, great week at CES" in Vegas last week.
Most of the unveiling focused on improvements to the Bolt EV's battery technology and, similar to Chrysler's Pacifica presentation, the physical location of the battery -- lining the bottom of the auto under the driver and passenger and into the back seats.
Surprisingly, not much attention was spent on the look of the Bolt EV. The new appearance seems to mimic that of a smaller crossover or hatchback, compared to the longer, wider look of the sedan-like Chevy Volt.
Following the presentation by the three GM execs, members of the press flooded around the Volt, leaving the Cruze floor model looking lonely. Reporter buzz around the Volt remained for some time, indicating clear media interest in the new look and efficiency of the Chevy Volt.
General Buzz And Overall Display Sentiment
GM seemed to boast the largest display at this year's North American International Auto Show, followed closely by a large multi-floor display from Ford Motor Co (NYSE: F). GM's display interestingly included more truck displays, a space long dominated by Ford's F-Series. Chrysler's presentation and floor area was noticeably smaller than either of GM or Ford.
Below are a few other notable mentions, at least from the early-morning session of the first day of the NAIAS.
- The Mercedes-Benz section of the floor was one of the largest of the non-U.S. automakers.
- Audi's presentation, just the third of the 2016 show, seemed to receive the most momentous response presentation wise. The area around the stage was packed and audience response to the company's new unveilings was lively.
- Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) had a rather large display inside the Cobo Hall conference center, however this set up was located outside of the main automaker floor.
On probably the auto industry's most important day of the year, shares of automakers are all trading in positive territory. Fiat Chrysler shares last traded at $8.04, up about 0.6 percent, GM shares were up about 1.7 percent, and shares of Ford traded about 1.3 percent higher at $12.70.
As the Ford presentation does not start til just before 12 p.m., stay tuned to Benzinga.com for more updates from the North American International Auto Show.
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