SUVs, trucks and sports cars take center stage at Detroit auto show
Trucks, SUVs and high-performance vehicles dominated the new debuts scheduled for the US's premier auto show. The exception was Volkswagen, which was to unveil a new Passat sedan.
"Car companies are acknowledging that the crossover, sport utility vehicle boom is continuing," said analyst Michelle Krebs of Autotrader.
For those looking for an alternative, carmakers were emphasizing sporty cars with nostalgic pasts.
Ford's redesigned Explorer SUV, debuted in Detroit on Friday, is on public display for the first time, with a high-powered version of the Mustang sports car called the Shelby GT500 also to be unveiled.
Toyota was also scheduled to show off a new Supra -- a refresh of a beloved sports car the firm stopped producing more than 16 years ago.
Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler was to unveil redesigns of its larger versions of the popular Ram truck.
"We believe that the future is increasingly looking less positive for the industry," said Jonathan Smoke, chief analyst for Cox Automotive, whose firm has forecast 16.9 million new car sales in 2019, down from 17.3 million in 2018.
"The market itself is adjusting to a slightly smaller volume but they happen to be more expensive, higher quality vehicles," he said.
Small cars and conventional sedans accounted for less than a third of last year's new car purchases -- down four percent from 2017.
The industry has invested heavily in SUVs and trucks, making them more luxurious and high tech, analysts said.
Meanwhile, small car and sedan production has been downsized or abandoned by many companies.
GM has announced plans to close underused US plants that make smaller cars. Ford planned similar cost-cutting moves in Europe. (AFP) AMS