The North American International Auto Show kicks off in Detroit this week. This year’s show is going to be all about showing off hardware after a year of booming sales, falling gas prices and growing consumer confidence. Trucks sales are expected to strong in 2015, especially small and midsize models.
“Pickup trucks in particular, from parts of the market that have not been well represented until now,” says Bill Visnic, Edmunds.com editor.
While cheap gas may be driving sales of trucks and SUVS for now, automakers are doubling-down on fuel-efficiency.
“We’re living in this new trend where everything is going to be kind of environmentally responsible too,” says Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. “So those high performance vehicles and sports cars, they’re going to be hybrids, they’re going to be plug-in hybrids, they’re going to be electric.”
General Motors also hopes to make a splash with plug-in electric cars. GM has rolled out an upgrade to its hybrid-electric Volt, as well as new Bolt concept car. With a range of 200 miles and a cost of around $30,000 (including state and federal rebates), the Bolt would be a cheaper alternative to rival Tesla.
“We don’t make $100,000 cars, this is what the [Chevy] brand is about,” says Stuart Norris, director of advanced vehicle design at GM. As with other automakers, GM is banking on a return to higher gas prices.
“This is a long-term vision. We can’t have our electrification strategy being driven by local gas-price fluctuations,” he says.
The Bolt is scheduled to hit the market in 2017.
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