Call it a wait and see approach on Detroit's part.
Two years ago at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, Ford shocked us all by revealing, not one, not two, but three phenomenal cars, the Mustang GT350R, the next-gen Raptor, and the GT, albeit in concept form. At this year’s show, the only thing “new” Ford had to show was the refreshed F-150. There was also that press conference announcing a reborn Bronco in a couple years’ time but still, we had hoped to see more. Heck, we wanted more from all three Detroit-based automakers.
Speaking with Jeep director of product marketing, Scott Tallon, we inquired as to why the redesigned Wrangler, at least in concept form, wasn’t present. "We’ll choose the right date and place that’s appropriate for the new Wrangler," Tallon told us. Our immediate reply was that surely Detroit, this week, was the right time and place. It doesn’t get better than Detroit, the place where Bob Lutz drove the then brand new, 1992 Jeep Grand Cherokee through a plate glass window for its debut. What about GM? OK, there was the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Terrain, but nothing else all new. So what’s going on here? In one word: Trump. Or, rather, President-elect Trump.
By now you’ve read the headlines about all three automakers, previously planned or not, announcing an overall shift away from Mexico to America for new factories and jobs.They don’t want to get on the new President’s shit list and face possible tariffs, for example. Obama came into office with the daunting task to prevent GM and Chrysler from going bankrupt, and provided those still controversial (for some) bailouts. Trump, on the other hand, is in a very different position. The Big Three are healthy. Sales are up, as are profits. Oh, and gas is cheap again. But Trump has campaign pledges to fulfill, and threatening automakers who are thinking of opening up shop outside of the US has become his latest late night Twitter hobby.
Detroit simply doesn’t know what to make of the guy yet and preferred to play it safe until further notice. Wouldn’t it be better to reveal a new vehicle or related technology that was fully developed and or built in the US of A? Absolutely. Would it be smart not to piss off the next president who has a proven history of unpredictability? Most definitely. Detroit is taking a wait-and-see approach in regards to Trump and hopefully by next year’s Motor City extravaganza Trump and Detroit will understand each other better. If not, well, Russia would be more than happy to build cars for America and the world.