[THE INVESTOR] Midsized sedans and sports utility vehicles are the talk of the town at the international auto show that kicked off on Jan. 8 in Detroit, Michigan, the hub of the US auto industry.
The annual North American International Auto Show showcases industry trends led by global carmakers and their latest technology, through introductions of their new models and industry-shaping plans.
Kia Motors’ first premium sports sedan, the 2018 Kia Stinger, made its first appearance at the NAIAS 2017. Kia Motors
Some 30 leading auto firms are to roll out 40 new models and exhibit 750 at the Detroit auto show running until Jan. 22.
“Sedans are traditionally the most prevalent vehicles exhibited at auto shows. But in the past few years, SUVs have also become key players on strong demand,” said Kim Pil-soo, a professor of automotive engineering at Daelim University.
Taking center stage are the revamped versions of the key industry players’ flagship midsized sedan models.
South Korea’s No. 2 automaker Kia Motors rolled out its first premium sports sedan, the 2018 Kia Stinger, seeking to strengthen its sedan lineup. The sedan can accelerate up to 100 kilometers per hour in 5.1 seconds from zero, which is the fastest among Kia vehicles, according to the company. Equipped with a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 and eight-speed transmission, the sedan can also produce a maximum horsepower of 370.
The Stinger is set to hit Korean dealerships in the first half of this year.
German premium brand BMW premiered its all-new 5 Series, a redesigned version of the popular premium sedan BMW 5 Series, which the automaker sold over 7.6 million units worldwide since its first release in 1972. The new seventh generation 5 Series is about 100 kilograms lighter than the previous model, but bigger in size, the automaker said. The latest sedan also features various advanced assistant systems, such as semiautonomous driving and the Lane Change Assistant.
BMW was pushed down in global sales rank last year, giving up its No. 1 spot to archrival Mercedes- Benz for the first time since 2005.
“Recently the popularity of SUVs has strikingly increased. SUVs released these days are designed to suit urban lifestyle while offering enhanced options, safety features and the exclusivity of sedans,” said professor Kim.
Global auto brands introduced new SUV lineups based on market predictions that demand for larger vehicles will continue this year. In Korea, for instance, some 435,000 SUVs are forecast to be sold in the local market this year, making up 35.5 percent of total automobile sales, according to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association.
Chinese government owned automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. debuted it a midsized SUV GS7, and two concept cars at the show with an aim of tapping into the US market after missing last year’s show.
US-based automaker Chevrolet, an affiliate of General Motors, will debut two redesigned crossover SUVs; the next generation of the Traverse crossover and the Terrain small crossover. The renewed Traverse SUV can accommodate eight passengers and offers the most spacious load space among similar models, according to the company.
German premium auto brand Audi will lift the curtain on its Q8 concept, a luxury SUV.
Japanese carmaker Honda Motor will roll out the all-new 2018 Odyssey minivan, equipped with a new powertrain and design and the latest technological advancements.
According to auto experts, recreation vehicles will continue to see a boost this year in the US market, following projections that US President-elect Donald Trump is likely to stop supported expansion of eco-friendly vehicles.
Professor Kim of Daelim University added that although Trump’s negative stance on eco-friendly policies may hinder development of electric cars in the short term, a single leader won’t be able to overturn the global trend in the long run.
By Kim Bo-gyung/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)