2016 Detroit Auto Show Preview – What To Expect

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The grand daddy of all of the auto shows happens next week – the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) also known as the Detroit Auto Show. Press days are January 11-12 with press conferences happening all day, each day. What new trucks will we see this year? A new Ford Ranger perhaps? Here is my best guess.

2016 Detroit Auto Show - What to Expect

The Toyota Tacoma was one of the many highlights last year and this year may be a “down” year for trucks.

Last year, the Detroit Auto Show could have been called a truck show with all the exciting reveals. To recap, last year the following trucks were revealed – Toyota Tacoma, Ford Raptor, Nissan Titan XD, Ram Rebel, Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept. While sure, the Ford GT concept was unveiled and the Acura NSX stole a lot of attention, the trucks really got our full attention.

What does this mean for this year? We could be looking at a less exciting show for trucks. (part of the reason, I will not be there this year – look for me in Chicago).

Here are my guesses on what will be revealed for each manufacture.


For the 2016 Detroit Auto show, Toyota will unveil a car. We know this per a video of Toyota’s Bob Carter:

My assumption is this vehicle will be the much-rumored Supra.

Mark my words, a new truck-type vehicle will be unveiled in Chicago. I will be there in person to see it.

Chevy/General Motors

2017-gmc-sierra-3500-hd-prototypeThe current best guess for both Chevy and General Motors will be the next generation HD trucks for the Silverado and Sierra. These trucks have become long in the tooth and with the 2016 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra receiving a mild refresh, the mid-size twins on sale including the diesel version, the truck team’s attention is likely focused on heavy duty. The assumption would be they have found ways to improve capability and will challenge Ram’s claims of Best-In-Class towing, payload and torque.


No other truck maker goes to the 2016 Detroit Auto Show with more buzz. Frankly, the idea that Ford could bring back the Ranger has people in a frenzy. If you haven’t heard the buzz, the story is simply this: Ford will have a factory sitting idle soon with production moving elsewhere; an agreement with the UAW has been reached to keep the factory open and produce a vehicle. That’s it.

However, this has created all sorts of speculation like a rebirth of the Ranger AND the Bronco. The thinking is the plant will be able to produce 300k vehicles and production will be split between the two. Now, how Ford could sell 150k Rangers is beyond me. I mean, the Tacoma finished the year with about 180k units sold, the GM twins came in at a combined 112k units. This means, the market stands at around 292k units sold annually. It seems like a stretch to say the Ranger is going to increase the market by another 50 percent. They could, but I’m not seeing it.

What will they unveil? Honestly, they are such a wild card, I don’t know. I could see specs released on the new Super Duty and the Raptor. We could also see a hybrid F-150 concept. They may also bring out a completely new truck in the form of a F-100. It will be exciting to see what happens.


One automaker I feel like I can accurately predict is Ram. They have unveiled a host of new trucks over the past few years, I could really see this being an off year for them. With almost everything new in their lineup, a good-selling EcoDiesel engine, no desire to offer a mid-size truck and the Rebel fitting nicely into their portfolio, I just don’t see anything on the horizon.

Plus, FCA’s Marchionne plans to trim nearly $2.2 billion in costs through reductions in product development, research and other cost savings. With the spin off of Ferrari, FCA is working towards having a credit balance of $2.2B in 2018 according to our friends at Allpar.com.

Adding all of this up – new lineup of vehicles, reductions in spending – means Ram will probably not have much to offer.


Now, a company with some news to share could be Jeep. Yes, I’m talking about the much-hyped Jeep Wrangler pickup. While, I still don’t see it coming to fruition since Jeep seems to be heading in a different, global direction (see: the new Renegade) and the lack of a Wrangler pickup in Marchionne’s master plans. However, it could happen since it would be a relatively easy vehicle for them to engineer and would continue to add a new energy to the overall company.


Preview_Sketch_of_Next_Gen_Honda_Ridgeline55The Ridgeline is coming, the Ridgeline is coming, the RIDGELINE IS COMING! This is a guaranteed vehicle to debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show and probably the most exciting thing to share is it is coming. All of the initial rumors point to the Ridgeline being a true full-size truck and it will likely borrow much of the same interior from the recently redesigned Pilot. However, other sites like AutoNews.com says it will ride on a unibody frame shared by the Pilot and Odyssey. Other than that, we will have to wait and see if Honda plans to truly challenge the truck market. My sense is it will continue to be a small player.

Fun fact, in my 4+ years of doing this, I’ve never had a Honda press loan. This is due to several factors including the size of their press fleet and my distance from it. However, I’m not alone. If they plan on really selling the Ridgeline, it will be interesting to see how if more people will get access to their vehicles.


The word I’m hearing from Nissan is they will have a truck concept to show off. My assumption is this truck will be the non-XD version of the Titan. This is the truck “waiting in the wings” and I don’t see them revealing a new Frontier and take energy away from the Titan. They could also introduce a new Armada or an updated NV van. Either of these are good choices and are need of a refresh.

While I won’t be there in person, I will be watching all the excitement and updating our readers as soon as possible. Keep tuned!

Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. DJ says:

    You say a new Toyota “Truck-type” vehicle will be announced at the Chicago show?


    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Yes. Take that to the bank. I’m only going to Chicago because I have concrete information saying there will be something there I am “interested” in. My source wouldn’t say that if it was a car.


      • Breathing borla says:

        How about a 8 speed tundra with 5.7 DI, projector headlights and push button start?

        I’ll give you that 6 pack in person as I live near chi-town

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          I’m thinking it is likely a refresh of the current generation Tundra since the timing seems right. Considering that the current generation was unveiled in 2013 and it is now 2016 (3 years later) and the next model year out this fall is a 2017 (again 3 years), this seems to be in line with being right in the middle of a 7-year product cycle.

          I wonder if TSA will let me carry on that 6 pack. LOL.


          • DJ says:

            Oh man, I hope you are right!

            With Nissan reviving the Titan that left Toyota with by far the oldest platform.

            Interesting though, because I’ve heard ZERO about a new reveal, and I keep up on all things Tundra and 4Runner.

            Thanks for the info!

  2. TRDSmokedU says:

    Could it be the 2017 4Runner?

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      I hadn’t thought about the 4Runner, but it could be as well. It could also be a new Sequoia as well. I honestly don’t know what it is, I just know I NEED to be there. And if I NEED to be there, then it is something truck related.


      • DJ says:

        If you “need” to be there that certainly smells of Tundra.

        4Runner is due for a refresh though, as 2017 would be 7 years since the 5th Gen’s came out…

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          You are right about the 4Runner and it certainly could be the reveal. I’m thinking Tundra myself since the 4Runner is a smaller player for Toyota. We will have to wait and see.


  3. mendonsy says:

    Not another re-hash of the Tundra!!
    Maybe they’ll re-release the 1962 International??

  4. hemi lol says:

    OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHH Interesting to hear! I have heard NOTHING on this end about anything coming at all…………

    Man now i’ll be thinking about this all the time!

    4 Runner……… Minor refresh for 2014 after ground up in 2010…… seems less likely although powertrain changes are possible

    Sequoia……… Man that’s a possibility as the other one is long in the tooth but not likely to me since we sell 15k a year………… maybe tho….

    Taco…….. I’m assuming the TRD Pro version to be coming for 2017….. unsure if its Bilstein or one of the other big players Ikon or King………

    Tundra………… Chassis has reached 10 years. powertrain, 10 years. HD Maybe? Oh man I’m jacked up about this one!!!! please be an HD! Still I’m expecting a redone Tundra all together since the timeline fits…. guess we’ll wait and see.

    • DJ says:

      lol it’s going to be a long 5.5 weeks!

      Even if it’s not HD Tundra, a new powertrain combo would get my blood pumping!

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      LOL. Settle down man. 🙂 We are still a month or so away.

      Like you wrote, there are LOTS of possibilities. I don’t honestly know which one could be true. Like I’ve said, all I know is I “need” to be there. That’s it. And that’s enough to get me excited!!


      • DJ says:


        I have my fingers crossed it’s Tundra, but what has me doubtful.

        ZERO info out there, and not one spy shot of a Tundra floating around the internet since the refresh in 14′. Usually auto makers can’t keep a big change under wraps like this, but then again who knows!

        C’mon February 13th!

        • Tim Esterdahl says:


          If it is Tundra, it will likely just be powertrain and that would make it easier to keep confidential.


  5. Don says:

    I saw the 2007 in Chicago and bought my 2008 in Jan of 2008 (made in Indiana). It is now 8 years old and once again I am heading to FL to tow my toy hauler. 33 feet of nose heavy fun. I will be in Chi Town for the show. I also expect to see and talk to the Cummins reps at the Super RV show in Tampa where they will have their 5.0 diesel on display. I also understand Tundra sales are no longer flat???? I am in no rush but 8 years of various towing is hard on any truck and to be honest I would like to stick with Tundra but I guess it is a wait and see situation. If it is a diesel and if Toyota has completed EPA validation the wait maybe not be over 6 months….but who knows. They are masters at keeping secrets and with a low US Tundra Inventory at dealers I think something is up.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Not sure if you are able to tow at the Super RV show, but that is where the Titan excels IMO. The rest of the truck I’m a bit wishy-washy on, but when it comes to towing, it really is a beast much like the Tundra. Except the Titan has the diesel and even more towing prowess.


  6. Don says:

    We all for now have to relay on info from people like yourself who have driven it. I really would want to see it. I still cant believe they would put a 13 inch rear end on this truck. That is very stout…like 1 ton truck stout. That is a selling point for people who tow a lot. Personally I think these manufacturers may put us to an area of such a high price that all these new features will be out of reach for the average family man.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Drive it and let me know if you share my thoughts. It should be hitting dealer lots soon.


      • Don says:

        I will try to take a test drive….diesels are always different. Not you Tim but when I watch some of these testers making comments about acceleration or complaining you have to push in the tow mirrors or the transmission feels different …..these are fan boys of another make trying to be Mr professional about testing trucks. Each pickup is different and should be rated for what it brings to the table not what it does not. Those are my decisions as a driver to evaluate the truck. Even 8 years later as I bring my toy hauler 29zx down I 75 with at least 1500lbs tongue wt my 08 SR5 still does the job. No aluminum truck V6 for me Tim. It would not take my abuse. Take care.

  7. Randy says:

    The Foggy Chicago Crystal Ball:

    2017 Tundra: A refresh and the 5.0L Cummins Diesel

    2019 Tundra: A redesign with a new gas 5.0L combo cycle gas and a hybrid version.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      You are right. Something with you is certainly “foggy.”


    • Scott says:

      Not a chance that its a Diesel.
      Actually I have a feeling that it could very well be a Hybrid Tundra. There has been some recent rehashed news about the sour Ford/Toyota breakup on the hybrid collaboration from a few years back. It was odd that they were even commenting on it this long after the breakup. But if they are about to release something then it starts to make sense.

  8. SpringDrive says:

    Diesel-electric Tundra when?

  9. Don says:

    Well I saw a pre production all white Nissan XD at the RV show. To be honest I had no issue with the looks at all. They had the cummins in the back of the truck so one could see it. It also appears that Tiffin motor homes will be using this diesel in one of their units as well. That was interesting news. I asked about the Tundra and they said many people where asking the same thing. No news on that subject but I got that impression they wanted to build one for the Tundra. Truck was locked but suspension looks good, brakes look great, and cummins fits well in truck. In my opinion they did many things right on this truck….or at least it appears they did.

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