Tracing Canada’s History Through its Cars

This is a guest post courtesy of the Canadian International AutoShow.

As Canada prepares to mark its 150th anniversary, the 2017 Canadian International AutoShow will help celebrate the country’s remarkable history in the best way it knows— through its cars.

Under the title The Canadian Story, this year’s Art & the Automobile exhibit features Canada’s most important cars in context with important historical landmarks over the past 150 years. It will showcase a combination of Canadian designed and built cars that stretch back to the year of Canada’s confederation, as well as extremely rare cars owned by Canadian collectors who share a passion for fine cars — many of them with connections to important historical events. The one-of-a-kind exhibit is being hosted by Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance, September 17, 2017.

The roots of auto manufacturing in Canada are as old as the country itself. Visitors to Art & the Automobile will be able to glimpse our rich car-making history and see several examples of vehicles that were designed, built and sold here.

Among the Canadian-made vehicles are:

  • 1867 Seth Taylor Steam Buggy. Canada’s first car hit the road the same year as Canada’s confederation. The steam buggy was designed and built by Henry Seth Taylor, a prosperous watchmaker, jeweler and businessman in Stanstead, Que. While Taylor never went into the car-making business, his invention has permanent home at the Canadian Science and Technology Museum.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • 1910 McKay. The McKay was the only car to be commercially produced in Nova Scotia before the arrival of the Volvo in 1963. Brothers Jack and Dan McKay built cars between 1908 and 1914, producing an estimated 125 vehicles. One of only two surviving examples of the McKay, the car to be displayed at the AutoShow is owned by the Canadian Automotive Museum.1910-mckay
  • 1914 Russell. This 1914 Russell 14‐28 is a fine example of one of the most distinctly Canadian cars ever built. Both the car and its engine were designed and built in Canada, something quite rare in the history of automobile manufacturing in Canada. This is clearly a luxury vehicle designed with great attention to details and finished in the finest materials. This car is especially remarkable because it was once owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Anderson, daughter of Thomas Russell, the first president of the Russell Motor Car Company.1914-russell
  • 1927 McLaughlin-Buick. One of two original McLaughlin-Buicks hand built by General Motors in Oshawa, ON. for the use of the British Royal Family during their 1927 tour of Canada.  The seven-passenger open touring car, owned by collector Tony Lang, was built for a five-week tour by the Prince of Wales and Prince George to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of Confederation.1927-mclaughlin-buick
  • 1956 Monarch Richelieu. Owned by collector Andy Schmidt, this 1956 Monarch Richelieu is a convertible, painted Lauderdale Blue and Continental White with all numbers matching. Only about 11 of the 163 Monarchs built in Oakville, Ont. are known to exist today.1956-monarch

In addition these fantastic showpieces, Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance has also brought together a number of rare and historic cars owned by some of Canada’s top collectors, including:

  • 1903 Columbus Electric. Total production of the Columbus Electric, built in Columbus, Ohio, is not known, but only two examples from 1903 are known to have survived. This Columbus, serial #78, is from the first year of production, during which only this folding top roadster body style was offered. The early history of the car is not known, but it was discovered in Kingston, ON by owner Peter Fawcett’s father in 1957 in fairly sound condition.1903-columbus-electric
  • 1935 Packard 1207 Dietrich-bodied Coupe Roadster. Owned by Gallery 260 Limited, this luxury roadster is one of only six such V12 cars remaining. This particular car was delivered new to the Packard Ontario Motor Car Company of Toronto, Ont. and has been owned and operated by several Canadians, including first owner Marland Woolnough, founder of National Grocers in Canada.1935-packard
  • 1936 Roll Royce Phantom III Sedanca De Ville.  Owned by Iron Band Holdings Ltd., the first owner of this beautiful car was the Marquis de Villeroy of France for his use on the continent and while in Britain during the Second World War. This is the last model of Rolls‐Royce that Sir Henry Royce was involved with prior to his death. This is one of two Sedanca de Villes bodied by Carrosserie Henry Binder, famous for the coachwork on two of the Bugatti Royals.1936-rolls-royce
  • 1949 Cadillac Concept. Owned by Steve Plunkett, this prototype Coupe De Ville Cadillac was built by General Motors for the Transportation Unlimited Exhibition of the first Post World War II Auto Show held in New York at the Waldorf Astoria. This custom hard top was the superstar prototype coupe on display at the show and became Charles Wilson’s (then President of GM) car. This is the only survivor of the four prototypes produced.1949-cadillac
  • 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Superleggera. The 1965 Aston Martin DB5 is considered by many to be the most famous car in the world, largely because it appeared in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. With only 886 built, a DB5 Coupe is a rare car indeed. Dare to Dream Classic Cars is proud to be the owner of this outstanding DB5.1965-aston-martin

The AutoShow is proud to welcome back Castrol and Lant Insurance Brokers as associate partners of the 2017 Art & the Automobile exhibit. Located on the 700 level of the South Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the 2017 Art & the Automobile installation is a collection of fine cars and history that’s not to be missed.

The Canadian International AutoShow will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre between February 17th and 26th. Please visit autoshow.ca for more information. Follow us on Instagram @cdnintlautoshow, Like us on Facebook and join the conversation on Twitter @autoshowcanada with the hashtags #AutoShowOhCanada and #CIAS2017.

 

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Taking Innovation to New Heights

Steel is accelerating innovation in today’s automotive history – like it has for decades. Just look at how much advanced high-strength steel is used in today’s vehicles – 10% higher than projections! We’re not surprised with how much high-strength steel is used by the automotive industry, given its strength and lightweight applications, but we aren’t resting on our laurels. We’re continuing to spread the message about why #SteelMatters and how it’s raising expectations for the rest of the industry.

If you’ve attended an SMDI-sponsored event in the past year, you know how much we like sharing the great performance, value and sustainability of steel. We’ve talked with people about steel at auto shows, ride and drives, and luncheons across North America.

From California:

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to Michigan:

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to Texas:

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to New York:

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…Americans are getting smarter about what they drive – and the materials those vehicles use!

We’re kicking it up a notch this year by attending even more automotive events around the United States – and in Canada too, and leaving behind a prize! Steel has made millions of road trips happen across the continent over the years, so we’re on a trip of our own in 2017.

Our first stop this year was in Detroit for the 2017 North American International Auto Show, where we handed out the Men and Women of Steel Awards and put steel at center stage during our press conference.

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Afterwards, we headed to our nation’s capital for the 2017 Washington Auto Show. Policy took center stage this year, given today’s changing political landscape. Highlighting the show were the 2017 Green Car awards, given out annually by Green Car Journal. All three award winners make significant use of steel – led by the 2017 Green SUV of the Year, the BMW X5 xDrive40e.

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Most recently, we took a trip to the Windy City for the Chicago Auto Show, where SUVs and special edition vehicles reigned supreme. Our first prize winner was our friend Brian, who noticed steel’s strength was on display in many areas of the McCormick Place – not just in the vehicles.

Next stop: our northern neighbors host the 2017 Canadian Auto Show in Toronto. Are you going? If so, follow along using #SteelMatters – we’re holding a contest for our prize during both media days (February 16-17) and public days (February 17-26). Check out the details here:

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If you’re looking for cool shots of your house, a 360-degree view of your car or the best seat at every Little League game, this contest is perfect for you. Drones are a LOT of fun to use for both work and play – they’re also inspiring students to get into STEM careers!

We can’t wait to see what piques your interest in today’s auto industry, and are looking forward to continuing to share how steel is accelerating innovation.

Excited about our new prize? Want to know if we’ll be at your event? Leave us a comment, and let’s chat!

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Let’s Get Sustainable with the 2017 Green Car Awards

Cars, trucks and SUVs are an integral part of the American fabric. Most people see them as an extension of themselves. So as Americans begin to make personal changes to become more environmentally conscious, they expect their vehicles to do the same. Though the “green movement” has been around for a while, automotive MPG has been under a microscope ever since the EPA outlined its “54.5 by 2025” regulations. The automotive industry reacted quickly, with an increased focus on how their products impact the environment and the materials they use to build their vehicles.

The Green Car Awards, given out annually at the Washington Auto Show by Green Car Journal, recognize the efforts of the automotive industry to create sustainable, environmentally-sound vehicles. As a sponsor of the 2017 Washington Auto Show, SMDI was able to get an up-close and personal look at the award-winning vehicles.

One question we had as the award ceremony drew near: what role will advanced high-strength steel play in the material makeup of the winning vehicles? We know from the North American International Auto Show automakers win with steel. We also know materials play an important part in the greenhouse gas emissions of each vehicle, especially when a vehicle’s complete lifecycle is taken into account.

Today’s automotive technologies continue to dazzle us, especially regarding autonomy and vehicle communication systems. Steel innovation has seen an equally meteoric rise, with the number of steel grades available today. The best part? Both electronic and steel technologies promise to innovate even further in the future. It’s a great time to be in the automotive and steel industries!

Three awards were handed out by Green Car Journal: Connected Green Car of the Year, Luxury Green Car of the Year and Green SUV of the Year. The winners are as follows:

Connected Green Car of the Year – Mercedes-Benz C350e

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The Mercedes-Benz C350e uses a variety of materials to reduce weight and increase MPG, the most notable of which is advanced high-strength steel.

Luxury Green Car of the Year – Acura NSX

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The sleek-looking NSX supercar added advanced high-strength steel to its A-pillars for extra fortification.

Green SUV of the Year – BMW X5 xDrive40e

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The BMW X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid uses multiple grades of advanced high-strength steel in many different areas of the vehicle to ensure its occupants are protected.

Three deserving winners, wouldn’t you say so? All three vehicles use advanced high-strength steel in various capacities to reduce weight and increase strength and performance. Advanced high-strength steels help reduce the total greenhouse gas emissions of these vehicles.

What do you think of the winners? Like them? Thought another vehicle should have won? We’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments!

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SMDI Honors Steel Innovators with 3rd Annual Men and Women of Steel Awards

The vehicles we drive each day are created using steel, and the steel industry’s goal is to aid its customers in achieving the highest value and performance in their products. The men and women within the industry exemplify this with their innovative applications and work with steel.

Starting in 2015, SMDI has annually recognized leaders in the industry who are accelerating innovation by conferring the “Men and Women of Steel” awards at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The Men and Women of Steel awards include the Industry Innovator Award, which recognizes automotive designers or engineers who showcase superior innovation in their use of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS), and the Community Hero Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations whose work using steel impacts the quality of life of the community.

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On Jan. 10, 2017, at SMDI’s press conference during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, two professionals were honored for their work promoting the use of advanced high-strength steel.

You can watch a live version of the press conference here:

The Industry Innovator Award was presented to Gregory Warden, executive director and global functional leader, body, exterior & dimensional engineering at General Motors (GM). Thanks to leaders like Mr. Warden and companies like GM, advanced high-strength steel’s growth has exceeded forecasts and will continue to do so.

Jody Hall with Gregory Warden

Jody Hall with Gregory Warden

 

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The Community Hero Award was presented to Steve Marks, industry technical support manager at Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR). His work includes conducting research on collision repair and OEM training and development. He is also a lead instructor for repair certification programs. Marks educates the next generation of technicians about the repair processes for steel, which have been widely taught for many years. As new steel grades are produced, Marks aids in the redevelopment of the repair process making sure it is as advanced as the new steels.

Steve Marks with Jody Hall

Steve Marks with Jody Hall

 

Greg and Steve are two people who demonstrate the value of steel in their daily work with the industry and inspire others to accelerate innovation by exploring the use of AHSS in new applications.

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Tom Gibson, AISI, Jody Hall, SMDI, Steve Marks, I-CAR, Gregory Warden, General Motors, Larry Kavanagh, SMDI, and Roger Newport, AK Steel

Congratulations to this year’s winners! If there are people in your community you feel are deserving of  these awards, leave a comment sharing their story.

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STEELing the Show: The 2017 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year

Advancements in steel are continuing to accelerate innovation and help vehicles across all categories pull in leading automotive industry awards, advancing occupant protection, performance and value to both the industry and its customers. Riding into first place for the 2017 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards – announced during the first Press Preview Day of the North American International Auto Show – are the Chevrolet Bolt, Honda Ridgeline and Chrysler Pacifica.

Car of the Year: Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt

The Chevrolet Bolt, named the 2017 North American Car of the Year, goes the distance. From its high-strength steel frame to the advanced electric motor technology under the hood, the Bolt is built with sustainability in mind to help you get from point A to point B efficiently and safely. The Bolt was also recently named Motor Trend’s 2017 Car of the Year.

Truck of the Year: Honda Ridgeline

In addition to the vehicles on the show floor, the steel structures for the Ridgeline and Pacifica are also featured in the Steel Market Development Institute exhibit space during NAIAS Press & Industry Preview Days.

The Honda Ridgeline’s modern, rugged and aerodynamic body – featuring a broad array of advanced materials – makes it a stand out as the 2017 North American Truck of the Year. Whether you’re towing a camper trailer for a weekend getaway or tackling a DIY backyard project, the Ridgeline is all about optimizing performance using a variety of steels to strengthen and increase rigidity of its body construction for a lighter weight vehicle with a better overall driving experience.

Utility Vehicle of the Year: Chrysler Pacifica

Chrysler Pacifica

The Chrysler Pacifica took home this year’s first ever North American Utility Vehicle of the Year title. The Pacifica’s popularity has quickly grown as a favorite for families and those constantly on the go. Its extensive use of thin-gauged high-strength steels helped the Pacifica achieve strength and durability without sacrificing space. Its body structure, constructed of 72 percent high-strength steel, also helped the vehicle earn a 5-star safety rating from the U.S. National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), giving families peace of mind that their precious cargo will be protected.

The use of high-strength steels in the structures of all three winners this year, proves the fundamental role steel continues to play in the automotive industry in Detroit and across America in efforts to improve vehicle strength and performance. Each year, vehicles eligible for the 2017 NACTOY awards are judged by a group of nearly 60 automotive journalists from across the U.S. and Canada. Vehicles are honored for excellence in innovation, design, safety, performance, technology, driver satisfaction and more. This year, marks the first Utility Vehicle of the Year category, nodding to the growing demand for SUVs in markets around North America.

What do you think of this year’s winners? Tell us your thoughts and your vote for the top car, truck and utility vehicle of the year in the comments below.

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Accelerating Innovation at the North American International Auto Show

The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) invites you to Detroit as we once again sponsor the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). This auto show season will be full of great new reveals, some of which we are anticipating here. One thing we know for sure is the next big thing in automotive has a very familiar name!

As you walk the floor at this year’s event something will become very clear: cars, trucks and SUVs depend on advanced high-strength steel (AHSS). In fact, AHSS is not only proven and trusted, it’s the fastest growing automotive material for four years running. AHSS delivers exactly what consumers and automakers need. No other material matches its performance, value and sustainability. Since the 1970’s, the number of automotive steel grades has grown from a few to more than 200 – and it’s not stopping there.

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Accelerating innovation in the automotive industry, steel leads the way in performance as a result of its superior strength, lightweighting, durability and repairability. Today’s steels are as much as six times stronger than steels of a decade ago and three to four times stronger than the latest aluminum alloys on the market. Combining AHSS with evolving manufacturing processes enables engineers to apply thinner steels to produce lighter-weight parts, while maintaining or improving structural performance.

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The repair industry infrastructure is steel-centric and is able to adapt shops, tools and train technicians to repair steel-intensive vehicles faster and at higher value than vehicles produced with alternative materials. What this means for the consumer is lower cost of ownership.

Additionally, steel enables aggressive exterior styling cues with its outstanding formability and enhances interior spaciousness with smaller structural sections.

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Steel has the lowest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions making it the sustainable choice for automakers.  Compared to making steel, greenhouse gas emissions from making aluminum are significant and at least four times greater, even when aluminum is produced using mostly hydropower and substantially higher when aluminum is produced using fossil fuel-sourced electricity. It is critical to look beyond tailpipe emissions, and instead consider the full life cycle emissions of vehicles, specifically the emissions from materials production.

At the end of a vehicle’s life, steel still beats aluminum. Its physical properties allow products to be continuously recycled into any other steel products without loss of quality, saving vital resources for future generations.

So as you walk through the show floor at this year’s auto show, remember – only one material is Accelerating Innovation through increased performance, value and sustainability. You can follow the steel story during NAIAS on Twitter via #SteelMatters.

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The 6 New Vehicles We Can’t Wait to See in 2017

2017 is almost here and there’s a brand new auto show schedule to sink your teeth into. As a premier sponsor of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) for the third consecutive year, this is one of our favorite times of the year. We can’t wait to get on the show floor and see what’s new! Here are the top 6 vehicles we can’t wait to see:

1. 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL

No release date has been set, but Jeep has been working hard for the past few years to redesign the Wrangler. According to Car and Driver, we can expect the new edition to have “…a hydroformed steel ladder frame carrying a body made of high-strength steel.” Rumor has it FCA won’t announce the next-gen Wrangler until fall 2017, but in the meantime you can check out this preview of the four-door pickup, which will join the traditional Wrangler lineup.

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2. 2018 Chevrolet Blazer

Automotive News recently captured some spy photos of a camouflaged Chevy test vehicle, which looks to be the new Chevrolet Blazer. The Blazer name hasn’t been used since 2005 and this current version seems to be a cross between the Acadia, Equinox and Traverse.

ar-1612099113. 2018 Nissan Frontier

This is pure speculation, but we have our fingers crossed for Nissan to redesign its mid-sized pickup, the Frontier, for 2018. Look for it along with the Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado when it’s finally announced.

2017-nissan-frontier-lava-red-sand-dune-large4. 2018 Ram 1500

So far all we know is FCA discontinued production on the Chrysler 200 to make way for the Ram 1500 at its Sterling Heights, Michigan assembly plant. PickupTrucks.com spied this camouflaged version of what could be the new model.

ram5. 2018 Chevy Traverse

General Motors confirmed they will debut the all-new Chevrolet Traverse on Jan. 9th at NAIAS. According to Chevrolet, the 2018 Traverse will feature “a bold and refined design with seating for up to eight passengers.” All we’ve seen is this shadowy teaser image, but we will be front row center in Detroit for the reveal!

traverse6. 2018 Honda Odyssey

Honda recently announced the unveiling of its fifth-generation Odyssey minivan at NAIAS on January 9th. Honda has completely redesigned the vehicle including the addition of “a new suite of innovative features…” We can’t wait to see what Honda has come up with. So far this teaser image is looking mighty sleek.

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Are you headed to NAIAS or will you watch the debuts from afar? Tell us what vehicles you’re looking forward in 2017!

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5 Gifts for the Truck Lover in Your Life

Most people have someone in their life who they would describe as a truck lover. These people are usually just as strong and reliable as the steel their truck is made of and deserve something really nice for their truck this Christmas. We’ve put together a gift guide of the perfect presents for the special truck lover on your list this holiday season.

1. Wheel Well Cooler/Storage with Charging Ports ($230)

These divided storage chests can be used as a cooler or general storage and include ports for charging electronics and a locking mechanism.

wheel-well-cooler2. Heavy Duty Floor Mats ($50-70 per mat)

Everyone knows that truck owners work hard in all sorts of conditions. These floor mats are tough and reliable without sacrificing comfort and function.

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3. Truck Bed Tent ($259.99)

Now you can convert your truck into a camper with this innovative camping tent for your truck bed.

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4. Rear View Safety Back Up Camera for Towing ($276.73)

This camera allows you to see behind the trailer for easier maneuvering while towing.

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5. Hinged Truck Bed Cover ($835.23)

This hard shell, durable cover lifts up and down and locks for safety and protection.

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Are any of these items on your wish list this year? Or do you have anything we should add? Let us know in the comments.

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A Drive Down the Walk of Fame at the LA Auto Show

You’ve heard the rumors, you’ve seen the teasers, you’ve been refreshing your Twitter feed to no end and it’s finally here: the Los Angeles Auto Show! The unofficial kick-off to Auto Show season had some big promises from well-known brands and boy, did they deliver. Automakers went all-out to bring attention to their latest and greatest at Automobility LA, the press days and official precursor to the LA Auto Show.

This year had a common theme: larger vehicles are the immediate future of the auto industry in America. With gas prices dropping and consumers looking for vehicles with more high-strength steel it’s no surprise that hybrid and electric vehicles took a backseat to crossovers and SUVs. It seemed as if every automaker brought a brand new, redesigned or special edition crossover or SUV to Automobility LA for LA Auto Show attendees to admire. Our friends at She Buys Cars were roaming the floor as well, having plenty of fun (in true She Buys Cars tradition) with every reveal.

Here are the vehicles that everyone was talking about at the LA Auto Show:

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

That other Italian brand Chrysler picked up when merging with Fiat needed a grand entrance for its first serious foray into the American market, and it hit an LA-sized home run fit for Dodger Stadium. Like other car companies from lo Stivale, Alfa Romeo has long been known as a performance brand with an if-you-gotta-ask-you-can’t-afford-it price tag. At the LA Auto show, the brand revealed its first SUV, the Stelvio, which it claims can go 0-60 in 3.9 seconds and will be the fastest ever SUV at the Nürburgring. The SUV will hit dealerships in early 2017, which follows its luxury performance counterpart, the Giulia. A splashy entrance indeed for the Italians.

 

Volkswagen Atlas

As of right now, the large vehicles in VW’s American portfolio – the Tiguan and Touareg – are midsize crossovers . It’s a hot market, but as American VW owners turn in their sedans in search of something larger, the Germans needed to add another vehicle with some size to keep their customers from going to competitors. Enter the Atlas, which will be built at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, TN plant and will add to their midsize SUV offering in the United States. The vehicle will seat seven comfortably – which NBA legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy of the LA Lakers demonstrated – and features the Digital Cockpit infotainment/gauge cluster system, which allows for customization in the same way that sister brand Audi’s Virtual Cockpit does. There is still much that is unknown about the Atlas, which will debut in 2017 as a 2018 model, so we’ll be interested to hear more about the Atlas’ features beyond what was revealed at Automobility LA.

 

Mazda CX-5

Mazda isn’t going to wow you with big-name celebrity endorsements or tie their vehicle into a movie franchise (like the next vehicle on this list). It spends what others may put into their marketing budget on designing safe, high-quality, visually appealing vehicles. The second generation of Mazda’s increasingly popular crossover was revealed at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show with the tagline “Car as Art,” and the overall styling follows their KODO design language, which is meant to capture the “Soul of Motion.” We’re big fans of Mazda increasing the amount of high-strength steel in the vehicle, which has upped the vehicle’s torsional rigidity by 15.5%. An increase in strength for an already-established brand among families? Good call, Mazda.

 

Nissan Rogue One

Where better for an automaker to show off a partnership with one of the most successful movie franchises in history than the LA Auto Show? Nissan collaborated with Lucasfilm to debut the 2017 Nissan Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition with a host of special effects. Introduced to the show floor alongside Stormtroopers and presented underneath a giant TIE Fighter, the Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition won in the presentation category. But take away all the special effects – what kind of vehicle did Nissan bring to Automobility LA? Nissan used what it calls “Zone Body Construction” to absorb impact in certain areas and stiffen in others, thanks in part to materials such as high-strength steel. Combine that with a quieter ride, a spacious interior and a host of safety features like its Safety Shield technology with Forward Emergency Braking and you have a vehicle worthy of the red carpet.

 

Jeep Compass

You knew the king of the SUV market had to bring something to such a crossover-heavy show, and FCA’s highest-selling brand had the new Compass up its sleeve. The smallest SUV in Jeep’s lineup (since the Renegade is a compact crossover), it has an available Trailhawk edition that upgrades its look as well as its off-road chops. This Jeep is designed to be a truly global SUV and will be sold in more than 100 countries around the world while maintaining the tried-and-true Jeep look and feel. With more than 65% high-strength steel in its body structure, it promises to be driven with confidence, wherever the road (or lack thereof) leads.

 

Subaru Viziv-7 (Concept Vehicle)

A concept vehicle? Why are we highlighting this? It’s simple. Concept vehicles are sometimes created for a manufacturer to have a little fun, but other times it’s to test out the public’s reaction to a brand entering a new segment. General consensus says that in the Viziv-7’s case, it’s the latter, and Subaru is rumored to be preparing an entry into the full-size SUV market for 2018 that borrows heavily from the Viziv-7. The in-your-face look, bulky but athletic wheels and attention-capturing headlights is at the very least a step in the right direction, we think. Automobility LA attendees agreed, as reaction was positive across the board for a three-row Subaru. Given that Subaru owners are some of the most brand-loyal in the industry, other automakers should pay attention – if Subaru gets your customers, they won’t lose them!

Did you attend Automobility LA or visit the LA Auto Show? Tell us what your favorite vehicle was in the comments!

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Big Trucks in the Lonestar State – a Recap of the Texas Truck Rodeo

This is a guest post courtesy of Nic Phillips, President, Texas Auto Writers Association

If you think trucks are a BIG deal in Texas you should know that the coveted title of “The Truck of Texas” is almost as big as the state itself.

The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) gathered in Dripping Springs, Texas for the 26th annual Texas Truck Rodeo where more than 70 journalists named the 2017 Ford Super Duty the 2017 “Truck of Texas.”

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It is the growth of the truck market that inspired the Texas Auto Writers Association to create the Texas Truck Rodeo.  This unique event pairs journalists directly with truck manufacturers, who many times ride shotgun to talk about the features of their vehicle. The journalists spend two days driving as many trucks as they can. This year, manufacturers brought in more than 71 vehicles valued at nearly $4 million. These vehicles were evaluated in 17 categories.

The TAWA Truck Rodeo that was held in the scenic Texas Hill Country and is sponsored by the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI).  TAWA members were able to evaluate vehicles both on and off-road while climbing rocks, crossing creeks and dodging exotic wildlife. Longhorn River Ranch was an ideal location for hosting this event, the nearly 1,650 acre ranch boasted picturesque hilltops, ample rich bottom land and vibrant creeks.

LongHorn Ranch

LongHorn Ranch

It is through partnerships with groups such as SMDI that organizations such as the Texas Auto Writers Association are able to learn more about the inside of the automotive industry.  This type of opportunity provides additional membership value in the form of expanding educational opportunities.  Members learn more about the products on the market, which also enhances their capabilities and hopefully will lead to more opportunities in the automotive journalist market place.

“Steel remains the fastest growing material in automotive applications and the North American steel industry continues to develop new grades and advanced manufacturing technologies to respond to the changing needs of automakers, as it is an important material in the designer’s toolbox,” said Dr. Jody Hall, vice president, automotive for SMDI.

Nissan Armadas

Nissan Armadas

Other noteworthy wins were the SUV of Texas, the 2017 Nissan Armada built with a steel frame. The CUV of Texas, the 2017 Volvo XC90, steel intensive with the use of ultra-high strength (boron) steel in the safety cage. Best Commercial vehicle, the 2017 Nissan Titan XD Single Cab which features 58 percent high and advanced high-strength steel in its body structure. Luxury Pickup truck, the 2017 Ram 1500 with a ladder-type frame, steel cab, and double-wall steel pickup box. Full-Size Pickup, the 2017 Nissan Titan built with a reinforced steel-frame structure that helps maintain the integrity of the passenger compartment, while crumple zones absorb crash energy.

The Texas Auto Writers Association, Inc., is a non-profit organization providing growth, development, and networking opportunities for media members, as well as providing scholarships for journalism majors in the State of Texas education system.   

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