From Detroit to Geneva, it’s auto show season, and Latino Traffic Report can report about the oldest and largest show in the country, the Chicago Auto Show (CAS). Celebrating its 110-year anniversary, CAS exposed several trends, new products, and a little bit of Hollywood.
Nissan returned with a collection of Star Wars-themed vehicles, reflecting its continued partnership with the franchise. Unlike last year’s special edition Rogue featuring specific branding from the film of the same name, this year’s vehicles were not road ready but still impressive. On display were several designed to reflect certain vehicles from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, like the Special Forces TIE Fighter and Poe Dameron’s X-wing, including a lively BB-8 nestled at the top.
While 2017 saw the last production year of Nissan’s sporty compact crossover utility vehicle, the Juke, it’s replacement, the 2018 Kicks, was on display in Chicago.
Where the Juke stood out for it’s distinctive looks, the Kicks bears the Nissan DNA, so much so that it could be called a “baby Rogue.” It will be available in two-tone exterior colors, following a trend reflected by many other models at the show.
Tiago Castro, director, Light Commercial Vehicle Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America, introduced the new factory-authorized suspension lift kit for select models of the Titan and Titan XD. Developed by California-based ICON Vehicle Dynamics, the bolt-on kits will give the Titan a more aggressive exterior appearance, plus increased ground clearance and a suspension lift of up to three inches. Available this spring, the suspension lift kits will require no cutting or drilling to install.
Lexus marked the tenth anniversary of its F performance brand at the CAS with the 2019 RC F anniversary special edition in a matte finish (right), seen for the first time in the United States. Lexus also brought the LS 500 from the Black Panther Movie and introduced the all-new 2018 RX 350L with three rows of seating.
Not to be outdone, Hyundai brought the 2019 Sportster (left) that will play a role in the Ant Man sequel, Ant Man and the Wasp (left), in theaters on July 6, plus the new 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models. The latter has an EPA all-electric range of up to 27 miles.
New vehicles of note included the all-new 2019 Ford
Transit Connect Wagon. Chief engineer, Adrian Aguirre, shared that the objective for the new van, based on the Transit Connect commercial van, was to increase its appeal to families. A native of Mexico City, Aguirre joined the Ford team fourteen years ago. Rather than focus on changes to the exterior, Aguirre looked at ways to make the new van more family friendly, from pricing —it’s one of the most affordable vans in the segment—to fuel efficiency—it’s powered by new gas and diesel engines matched to a new eight-speed transmission. It will also offer seating for seven.
Finally, Subaru fans will also get to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Subaru of America, founded in 1968, by purchasing one of a whole lineup of special anniversary editions in the distinctive production color of Heritage Blue. Other unique features include black upholstery with silver accent stitching, anniversary badging inside and out, and unique alloy wheels (except for the BRZ).
Many auto shows remain for 2018. See these models and more at a show near you.
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