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2018 Detroit auto show kicks off, and it's all about trucks

Part of the new Chevrolet Silverado lineup at the 2018 Detroit auto show.
Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio
Part of the new Chevrolet Silverado lineup at the 2018 Detroit auto show.

The North American International Auto Show’s media preview week got started in Detroit this weekend.

Expect to hear a lot about trucks at this year’s show. GM got things rolling Saturday night with the debut of its new Chevrolet Silverado lineup.

With country music and nostalgic videos on loop, GM reminded us that it’s been doing trucks for 100 years. It’s a market that’s increasingly profitable and competitive in North America.

The Ford F-150 has been the top-selling truck and industry standard-bearer for many decades now.

But GM North America President Mark Reuss was confident enough to take a dig at it during the Silverado debut:

“I don’t think you’d get much work done with an aluminum hammer,” Reuss said, referring to Ford’s decision to switch to a lighter, all-aluminum truck body several years ago.

Reuss said GM is sticking with a “mixed materials” strategy that still includes some steel.

Chevrolet North America President Alan Batey thinks GM as a whole is already in a good spot when it comes to trucks.

“We’ve sold more trucks than anyone in the U.S for three consecutive years,” said Batey. “And we’re doing it in a very profitable way, we’re building our brands.”

There are some concerns hanging over this year’s show, particularly ongoing re-negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other uncertainty about President Trump’s trade policies.

Batey noted how “inter-linked” the North American automotive market is, with many car and truck parts shipped across borders before a final product is produced.

But he largely dismissed concerns over the impact of a potential NAFTA blow-up, saying “we’ll worry about that when we get there,” and noted that 80% of trucks sold in the U.S. are made here.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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