Paul W. Smith: Take pride in Detroit's auto show

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We should take pride that our Detroit auto show is the most influential annual automotive event in the world. The show opened to the press on January 8 and it will run for two weeks, ending on January 22, featuring dozens of the hottest new cars.

Meanwhile, Chrysler's Pacifica minivan was the victor of Utility of the Year thanks to a wave of new technology featured in the vehicle including easy driver controls and rear video screens that can play movies and TV shows that also offer touch-screen video game options. Overall, mid-sized sedan sales in the United States fell 10 percent.

Trump has vowed to cancel or renegotiate USA trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"It's finally happening-Fiat Chrysler just announced plans to invest $1 BILLION in MI and OH plants, adding 2000 jobs", Trump said in one tweet.

The project will see production of the Dodge Ram pickup truck shifted from Mexico to Warren, Michigan, just north of Detroit.

So we chose to honor the weirdest, worst, and longest cars we saw at this year's show with the first ever TLDCar awards.

Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for the website Autotrader.com, said that the auto industry's reaction since Trump's unexpected election victory in November has been "a little bit unnerving". Last week, Fields announced the company cancelled plans to build a $1.6-billion plant in Mexico. Instead, Ford will spend 700 million dollars to expand an existing MI factory.

Ford Motor Co is reviving its Bronco SUV. "This is just the beginning - much more to follow". But Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai each import about half of their US -sold vehicles, while Mercedes-Benz and BMW "import the most into the U.S." despite exports from their American factories to foreign markets, Johnson noted. Ford has not been Trump's only target in the automotive sector.

The Republican last week attacked General Motors Co.

Queue the fawning USA political class now gleefully perpetuating the illusion that the new president-elect of the United States is anything but a huckster. When the automaker canceled the Mexican project, it said "two new iconic products" would be built at its Wayne, MI, factory where the Focus now is assembled. "If tomorrow morning, President-elect Trump decides to impose border tariffs on anything that comes up from Mexico, then we'll have to adjust".

Still, Detroit still really matters.

"We keep going up and up and up and it's because we are competitive, and innovative", said Sen. "I think the industry fundamentally is working, and I think what we're all looking for is clear stability so we can keep executing our plans".

Karl Brauer, publisher of auto valuation website Kelly Blue Book, warned of a "huge negative backlash" if Trump's protectionist manufacturing policies cause vehicle prices to rise.

But the biggest result of Ford's flip-flop is a greater potential for Trump to bully other auto makers into similar moves.

"We had a very clear directive from company leadership about four years ago to get an electric vehicle by the fourth quarter of 2016, which was capable of more than 200 miles of range and affordable for under $30,000, which this is when you include government incentives", said Stuart Norris, the managing director of design for General Motors-Korea.

Chevy's highly anticipated plug-in electric vehicle, Bolt EV, was named auto of the Year. But Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said in a research note that there's "likely little ability" for manufacturers to pass costs along to consumers in the form of higher prices because shoppers "are fairly price sensitive". Discounts and rebates could keep consumers interested, but at the expense of carmakers' bottom lines.

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