NAIAS 2017: Annual show to feature car, truck, and SUV intros; adds mobility component

09 Jan 2017 IHS Markit Automotive Expert

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is set to feature new products from General Motors, Toyota Motor Company, and others, as well as a focus on mobility issues.

IHS Markit perspective

  • Significance: The 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) started its media days on 8 January. IHS Automotive expects Toyota, Ford, General Motors (GM), Nissan, and Honda to provide some of the key introductions. Throughout the week, IHS Automotive will cover introductions and other news.
  • Implications: According to IHS Automotive data, about 65 new or updated cars went on sale in 2016; that number is forecast to drop to 50 in 2017 then recover slightly to 55 in 2018. Of the known 2017 NAIAS introductions, IHS Automotive expects at least three vehicles new to the market.
  • Outlook: Of the all-new products being introduced at NAIAS in January 2017, the Toyota Camry will have the largest volume impact when it goes on sale. Initial information suggests the show will have a handful of concept vehicles, with a focus on traditional segments. New products are expected to continue to expand use of technology for safety, infotainment, and connectivity. While there are always surprises at this event, the 2017 show is expected to deliver a similar number of cars and utility vehicles, as well as a new minivan.

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) kicked off its media days on 8 January 2017, with the traditional industry and supplier days later in the week. IHS Automotive has this overview of expected introductions. Overall, IHS Automotive expects introductions of standard fare, spiced up with some technology news. While Volkswagen (VW) has promised a new concept for its upcoming electric vehicle (EV) range and BMW will have a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) version of its 5-Series, most vehicles introduced at NAIAS are expected to offer traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) powertrains. There will be two notable new diesel offerings, however, as Ford adds a diesel for its F-150 and GMC introduces the Terrain with a diesel.

NAIAS's organizers have expanded the scope of the show, adding sessions to enable industry discussion of the issues related to autonomous cars and mobility, as well as the chance for non-automotive technology startups to present their solutions to automakers at one session. The CEO of Google's autonomous vehicle project, now a separate company called Waymo, delivered a keynote address and displayed the Waymo Chrysler Pacifica. The opportunities that autonomous vehicles, electrification, and new technology are opening up for the automotive industry are coinciding with consumer interest in alternative ownership models and transportation consumption, as well as societal demands for improved safety and the challenge of increasing urban density, to make changes in mobility the most significant issue facing the industry. The focus on this area has therefore increased at all major automotive shows as well as the CES (formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show) electronics trade show held a week before NAIAS.

General Motors
GM's NAIAS focus in January will be on crossover utility vehicles (CUVs), with the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Terrain. The rumors ahead of the show suggest that Chevrolet may also deliver the latest ZR1 Corvette as well.

The GMC Terrain continues its relationship with the all-new Chevrolet Equinox, both due on sale in 2017 for the 2018 model year, although it is designed to reinforce a premium positioning for the GMC variation. Like the Equinox, the Terrain will offer three engines, including adding a turbo-diesel. Chevrolet's Traverse is the first of the full-size utility vehicles on the Chi platform, introduced in smaller form under the Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia. The platform will also be used for the next-generation Buick LaCrosse, due later in 2017.

Mercedes-Benz introduced the E-class sedan at the 2016 NAIAS, and follows with the coupé at the 2017 NAIAS, along with a facelift for its GLA compact crossover lineup. Mercedes has been rumored to be making some news with its AMG sub-brand as well. Mercedes released initial details on the E-class coupé in December. The latest-generation E-Class took a larger footprint, shared with the coupé, as well as advancing Mercedes technology. The GLA's modest mid-cycle update includes revised bumpers and new wheel designs, as well as a new off-road comfort suspension option that raises the body by 30 mm; the powertrain is unchanged. The update will help keep the vehicle fresh in the second half of its lifecycle, but its performance in the US market is not forecast to significantly change.

Nissan and Infiniti
Nissan will show a new addition to its utility vehicle range with the Rogue Sport, as well as introducing a concept vehicle, while Infiniti will take the stage at NAIAS with a concept version of the next-generation QX50. The QX50 updates Infiniti's premium compact CUV entry; along with the recent update to the QX60 and the all-new QX30, Infiniti will have a fresh CUV range in 2017. The Rogue Sport is a five-passenger, two-row vehicle, whereas the Rogue is a three-row offering. According to Nissan North America CEO and global chief performance officer Jose Munoz, Nissan's decision to introduce the Rogue Sport was in part driven by the positive response when Nissan retained the prior-generation, two-row Rogue alongside the new three-row version during launch of the current generation. The Rogue Sport will be imported from Japan, while Rogue continues Tennessee production.

The only product introduction that Ford has confirmed is an update for the 2018-model-year F-150. The F-150 update brings new front and rear styling, increases available technology, and updates the powertrains. The powertrain updates affect every available combination in the F-150 range, including a new optional 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel. It is the first diesel the company has offered in the light-duty F-150, and will offer competition with the Ram 1500 diesel, as well as work towards meeting fuel-economy regulations. Ford says the F-150 will become the first full-size pickup to add automatic stop/start across the full engine and model range. The F-150 models get new grilles, headlamps, and bumpers designed to create a visually wider and more planted stance, as well as increase differentiation between the trim levels. New technology for the range includes adoption of adaptive cruise control (with stop-and-go functionality) and pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, a first for the full-size light-duty pickup segment. The F-150 is one of the vehicles that will get the upgrade to 4G LTE Wifi hotspot. The updated truck is set for sales in the third quarter of 2017.

Honda, Toyota, and Lexus
For Honda, the 2017 NAIAS rounds out its update of its light-truck range, with the all-new Odyssey. Ahead of the show, Honda announced that the fifth-generation Odyssey will take a powertrain upgrade and new family-friendly features. Toyota has the all-new production car that will have the highest volume impact on the market, despite declines in mid-size sedan sales. IHS Automotive forecasts sales in the standard mid-size car segment to continue to erode while remaining above 2.1 million units through 2024. The Camry is expected to feel the impact of the shift in market trends, but also to book US sales in the high 300,000-unit level through the decade. The new Camry is expected to continue to deliver on the company's efforts to instill more visual excitement into its products. Lexus has also announced that it will introduce the latest LS sedan at NAIAS 2017.

BMW revealed the 5-Series in October, and the model makes its first automotive show debut at NAIAS. There are additional details coming with the US introduction, however, including the announcement of the 520e iPerformance PHEV. Along with the 5-Series, BMW will introduce the X2 to the US market, plus updates to the 6-Series. The new 5-Series is due on sale in the United States in second-quarter 2017, while BMW plans to add the X2 in 2018. BMW's Mini brand will be absent from NAIAS in 2017, without new product news that aligns with the show.

Volkswagen Group
VW Group will have two concept vehicles at NAIAS, along with the latest Tiguan and a new trim level for the upcoming Atlas. Audi's stand will deliver the near-production Q8 prototype, as well as complete the A5/S5 range with the introduction of the convertible variants. VW's current Tiguan has proven small for the segment. The new Tiguan offers a longer wheelbase, for better interior space. The product is significant in VW's effort to become a stronger participant in the US utility vehicle market. The Audi Q8 will sit above the Q7, and is set to take on a similar entry expected from BMW. It is expected to offer a sleeker profile from the traditional SUV and the Q7. It will have a lower sales volume than the Q7 or Q5, but offers opportunity for a highly profitable and aspirational full-size utility vehicle.

Outlook and implications

Of the all-new products being introduced at NAIAS in January 2017, the Toyota Camry will have the largest volume impact when it goes on sale. Initial information suggests the show will have a handful of concept vehicles, with a focus on traditional segments. New products are expected to continue to expand the use of technology for safety, infotainment, and connectivity. While there are always surprises at this event, the 2017 show is expected to deliver a similar number of cars and utility vehicles, as well as a new minivan. Largely missing from this year's show will be small cars, and we expect a reduced focus on alternative powertrains.

While the issues surrounding electrification, mobility, autonomous vehicles, and artificial intelligence (AI), as applied to the automotive industry, are expected to continue to dominate the discussion and are embedded into the current automotive conversation, the production vehicles being introduced at NAIAS are only making incremental steps moving forward. While the second half of 2016 had several automakers announcing plans for mobility services, including plans for autonomous and electric vehicles, most of the vehicles being introduced at the 2017 NAIAS will focus on resolving near-term issues.

About this article

The above article is from IHS Automotive Same-Day Analysis of automotive news, events and trends, and is a deliverable of the World Markets Automotive Service. The service averages thirty stories per day and also provides competitor and country intelligence. Get a free trial.


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