REUTERS - Global automakers will kick off 2017 by displaying a wide array of future vehicles at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This year, luxury sedans and small sport utility vehicles will jostle for the spotlight along with electric cars and diesel-powered pickup trucks. When it comes to industry profits, the trucks and SUVs will be at center stage.
Here are some of the notable vehicle debuts expected at the Detroit show, which opens to the public on Saturday, January 14.
* Lexus LS. Toyota Motor Corp debuted the first Lexus LS 400 sedan in Detroit at the 1989 auto show. On Monday, the brand will unveil the fifth generation of its big sedan to a market that is turning away from the traditional concept that a luxury brand’s “flagship” model must be a sedan, instead of a sport utility vehicle.
* BMW 5-series. BMW AG has already taken the wraps off the look of the new 5-series, which competes with the Mercedes E-class and Audi A6. The German luxury automaker plans to display a plug-in hybrid version of the car for the first time in Detroit. Like its competitors, the 5-series is losing ground to SUVs - and the Tesla Model S electric sedan - among affluent U.S. buyers.
* Honda Odyssey. Just in time for millennials starting to have the baby boom generation’s grandchildren, Honda Motor Co is expected to debut in Detroit a new generation of its Odyssey minivan. The minivan segment has shrunk since the former Chrysler Corp pioneered the concept of a boxy family hauler in the 1980s, but sales in the segment rose 8 percent last year.
*Ford F-150. Ford Motor Co will give the 2018 model of the best-selling vehicle in the United States some modest appearance changes, and more significantly, new technology to reduce fuel consumption. For the first time, Ford will offer a diesel engine option in the F-150. The company is not releasing fuel economy estimates for that engine. A new 3.3 liter six cylinder engine will also be offered and fuel-saving technology that shuts down the engine at a stop light will be available.
* Chevrolet Traverse. General Motors Co is highlighting two redesigned sport utility vehicles in Detroit, including a new generation of the Chevrolet Traverse, a family hauling SUV that will compete with the likes of the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
* Toyota Camry. The best-selling passenger car in the United States for the past 15 years gets a major makeover. Camry sales fell 9.5 percent in 2016 from the year before, reflecting pressure from the shift to SUVs. Overall, mid-sized sedan sales in the United States fell 10 percent. Toyota has been giving its mainstream models more expressive styling and advanced technology, to counter a long-held image for dull reliability. The 2018 Camry is expected to reflect that direction.
* Audi SUV. Analysts expect Audi, the high-volume luxury brand of Volkswagen AG, to show a new, large sport utility vehicle in Detroit. The mainstream Volkswagen brand, meanwhile, is expected to highlight a new generation of its compact Tiguan sport utility.
* Nissan. Analysts expect Nissan Motor Co to show a new small SUV for the U.S. market, as well as a redesigned QX50 compact SUV for the Infiniti luxury brand.
Reporting By Joe White