DETROIT — Although ongoing negotiations between Detroit’s three automakers and the United Auto Workers union have overshadowed everything else in the industry, some companies have benefited from this year’s Detroit Auto Show to present new and revamped models on Wednesday.
Discussions over a new four-year contract have been tense, with the union threatening costly strikes if the sides do not reach an agreement before 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday night, when the current contract expires.
Given this context and the challenges auto shows have faced since the coronavirus pandemic, it’s no surprise that most automakers have opted not to reveal their new models — or even attend the show at all. But there was still an all-new model, a redesign of GMC’s popular Acadia crossover and significant updates to a few others revealed at the event, correctly called the North American International Auto Show
Here’s what CNBC saw during the broadcast.
All new: 2024 GMC Acadia
The show’s only big new model reveal came as General Motors unveiled the completely redesigned 2024 GMC Acadia on Wednesday morning. The all-new Acadia remains a midsize crossover, but it’s larger than the outgoing model, with a muscular new look that’s more in line with its GMC brand siblings, like the smaller Terrain crossover and Sierra pickup truck.
The new Acadia will be powered exclusively by a new 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 328 horsepower and 326 pound-feet of torque – more than the outgoing model. Inside, there’s a standard 15-inch center control touchscreen and a host of new safety and convenience technologies, including GM’s Super Cruise hands-free highway driver assistance system.
Enlarging the Acadia means correcting what GM executives have come to view as a mistake made with the outgoing model. The company downsized that vehicle, much to the dismay of current owners and dealers, according to GMC executive Duncan Aldred.
“It was a pretty easy decision for us to really expand because we know the customers want it, they like this space, we think it will lead to more success,” he said during a media event.
Production of the 2024 Acadia is expected to begin early next year at a plant in mid-Michigan, with vehicles expected to arrive in dealer showrooms during the first quarter. GM announced a third change for the plant to produce the Acadia and its sibling crossovers Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave.
The Acadia is a big seller for the premium GMC brand, with just over 40,000 units sold in the United States in the first half of 2023. Among the brand’s SUVs, only the Yukon, based on a large truck, sells more.
A big refresh: the 2024 Ford F-150
Ford engine didn’t do much at the show on Wednesday, but he was no slouch. The company unveiled its updated lineup of 2024 F-150 pickup trucks Tuesday evening to a packed crowd in downtown Detroit, not far from the show.
The revamped truck, a huge seller that is crucial to Ford’s profits, features updated engines and new interior and exterior designs. The latter includes a new tailgate that allows customers to access the bed of the vehicle like a standard door as well as a traditional drop-down tailgate.
2024 Ford F-150 PowerBoost Platinum Hybrid
The big news of the evening was that the company plans to double U.S. production of a hybrid version of the F-150 to about 20% of trucks produced for the 2024 model year.
The hybrid plans follow Ford CEO Jim Farley’s statements in late July that the Detroit automaker would quadruple the company’s production of gasoline-electric hybrids while continuing to increase production of electric vehicles – but at a slower pace than previously announced.
2024 Ford F-150 Powerboost Platinum Hybrid
“I certainly think the hybrid, our PowerBoost hybrid, helps people go all-electric,” John Emmert, general manager of Ford trucks, told CNBC in an interview. “Hybrid is a step toward electrification, and for some people, electrification is not the best solution for them.”
A new face: 2025 Cadillac CT5
General Motors also unveiled an updated version of its Cadillac CT5 sedan at the show Wednesday morning. The CT5, the larger of Cadillac’s two remaining internal combustion sedans, will get a redesigned grille and refreshed interior, including a large new touchscreen, for the 2025 model year.
The refreshed CT5’s dashboard adopts the large 33-inch touchscreen found on other Cadillacs, giving drivers plenty of customization options, including navigation and entertainment services powered by Google. On the outside, its new front end includes a bolder grille, inspired by recent Cadillac show vehicles, and redesigned lighting.
“Advanced new technologies enhance the driver’s personal connection in a sedan already renowned for its driving spirit, comfort and technology,” said Alex MacDonald, CT5 chief engineer.
Cadillac CT5 2025
The rear-wheel drive CT5 is highly praised by reviewers for its precise handling. But while it’s Cadillac’s best-selling sedan, its sales trail those of most of the brand’s SUVs and crossovers.
GM sold about 10,000 CT5s in the United States during the first half of the year, about double the total of the smaller CT4 sedan. But this is much less than the nearly 21,000 sales of the luxury brand’s best-seller, the large SUV Escalade, over the same period.
Production of the updated CT5 will begin in the second quarter of 2024. Updates to the high-performance versions of the CT5, the CT5-V and CT5-V Blackwing, will be shared at a later date, GM said.
Some timely updates: 2024 Jeep Gladiator
Stellantis has unveiled a slightly revised version of its Jeep Gladiator, a pickup truck based on the brand’s iconic Wrangler. The Gladiator will receive an updated version of Jeep’s iconic grille for the 2024 model year, along with an improved touchscreen “infotainment” system and new off-road features.
Jeep revealed a refreshed 2024 version of its Gladiator pickup in Detroit on September 13, 2023.
Unsurprisingly, the Gladiator’s new grille is very similar to the revamped grille that the Wrangler itself will sport for the 2024 model year. The two models are built side-by-side at the Jeep brand’s flagship factory in Toledo.
Inside, Stellantis has made its 12.3-inch touchscreen system – originally an upgrade option – standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Buyers of the revamped Gladiator will also be able to opt for new power seats that have been “ford-tested,” said senior vice president Jim Morrison, who heads the Jeep brand in North America.
The facelifted 2024 Jeep Gladiator includes a larger touchscreen infotainment system as standard equipment.
“Combine all that with its fold-down windshield, three roof choices, two different door options or removing the doors entirely, and the Gladiator is the only truck in the industry that can celebrate that kind of outdoor freedom while doing real truck stuff.’” Morrison said.
The new “X” versions of the Mojave and Rubicon versions of the Gladiator, even more off-road focused, add a full-time transfer case and an integrated off-road camera, as well as steel bumpers to both ends. But Stellantis dropped the Gladiator’s optional diesel engine, leaving buyers with just one powertrain choice: a 285-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. Unlike the Wrangler, the Gladiator is not offered in a hybrid version.
Sales of the Gladiator are only a fraction of those of the Wrangler — about 27,000 Gladiators compared to more than 84,000 Wranglers in the first half of 2023 — but it’s still an important, high-profit product for Stellantis. The company said dealers can order the facelifted truck now, with deliveries expected to begin before the end of the year.