LOS ANGELES, CA: With the wrap up of the media portion of the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, it’s my chore to list news and debuts by “domestic” manufacturers, an increasingly vague category when you consider all the auto companies running offices, assembly plants and design studios throughout Canada and the U.S.
But lets just reference the old standbys – GM, Ford and Chrysler, err . , excuse me, I meant FCA. And maybe include that upstart Tesla.
With one of only a few domestic debuts on the big stage, Lincoln’s Nautilus (formerly the MKX midsize SUV, platform sibling of the Edge) has already been detailed in a story.
But, summing up, along with the new name signifying the erosion of the former “MK” moniker style, the Nautilus adds the Continental grille, some of its styling cues, new turbo engine choices, a new eight-speed tranny, massaging seat options, new tech and luxuries galore for 2019.
Not quite sharing the same limelight, a similarly refurbished MKC (compact SUV, sibling of the Escape) showed the same new Continental cues. But no new name yet. Lincoln wants to spread out the name changes for extended impact.
I expected more hybrid/EV news from Lincoln, especially now when every company that used to pooh-pooh the Prius is fighting to keep up with China’s electrification quotas for access into the most lucrative market in the world. But stay tuned, there’ll probably be more news later at the Detroit or New York shows.
No major debuts from Lincoln’s parent company but Ford’s centrepiece was a GT ’67 Heritage Edition in Race Red with white stripes, celebrating the GT40 Mark IV race car that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1967.
A full slate of product on the floor included recent additions like the 2018 EcoSport that is coming to Canada early next year.
The 2018 F-150 with its new 10-speed transmission and the revised 2018 Mustang feature fairly recent makeovers while the refreshed 2018 Expedition is arriving at dealers now.
Chevrolet pulled the slipcovers off the fastest Corvette ZR1 ever, a convertible in blood orange paint boasting 755 hp, 715 lb/ft of torque with a pulse-racing seismic blast of acceleration to a top speed of 212 mph (341 km/h).
The flashy All Mountain concept is a gob smacking flight of fancy, featuring a 2018 GMC Sierra Denali fitted with snow-eating tracks instead of tires.
And, in more practical applications, GM is still crowing about thrifty diesel applications in the Cruze and new Equinox/Terrain duo. The 2018 Colorado ZR2 models are still stunning eye-catchers.
Both the Volt and the new Bolt, like most electrics, are still bit players chewing the scenery on stage, but they are also still briskly outselling Tesla and doing fine in the electrified fleet, thank you very much. Also noted on the show floor – a new blacked out Yukon and the new 2018 Buick Lacrosse Avenir.
Jeep unveiled the latest JL generation of their iconic Wrangler, carefully treading the line between new tech and tradition.
Staying true to the heritage cues but with edges rounded ever so slightly for improved aerodynamics, the 2018 Wrangler boasts LED lighting, new soft top roof choices, a folding windshield, fourth generation Uconnect and more than 200 Mopar accessories.
It also boasts four new powertrains – a new 270 hp 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder, a 285 hp 3.6-litre V6 and a 260 hp 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 slated for 2019, all mated to a choice of six-speed manual or new eight-speed automatic.
And, yes, I did say four new powertrains with, believe it or not, a plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler planned for 2020.
Other Fiat Chrysler Automobiles stuff on the floor included the Grand Cherokee Track Hawk harnessing the insane power of a 707 hp Hellcat Hemi V8 engine and the only slightly less muscular Durango SRT which will be arriving in Canada soon as well.
I also couldn’t help but notice the conspicuous absence of the Dodge Grand Caravan.
Sure it may seem a dated relic to some, but it’s still FCA’s second-best seller in Canada after the Ram, it still sits midfield in FCA’s US sales numbers, and it is still outselling the pricier Pacifica that FCA is trying to push into its niche instead.
What can you say about Tesla that the company hasn’t boasted already?
The Model X with its falcon wing rear doors drew the curious.
But the Model 3 on display attracted the biggest swarms of onlookers, even without the drama of a reveal presentation, an indicator of the hype and hope that has inspired almost half a million pre-orders for this “affordable” electric. Production delays have the Model 3, and Tesla itself, teetering on the brink of either success or disaster.