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2019 Chicago Auto Show: Huge Demand of Trucks and SUVs, Sedans Take Back Seat

“We’re not abandoning the car market completely,” Majuros assured. “We’re right-sizing our portfolio".

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Sedans, Chicago
Sedans Take Backseat to SUV's, Trucks at 2019 Chicago Auto Show. VOA

It’s billed as North America’s largest and longest-running auto show, now in its 111th year. The 2019 Chicago Auto Show offers a lineup of nearly 1,000 vehicles occupying nearly 1 million-square-feet of space at the McCormick Place Convention Center.

A special preview for members of the media at the annual show is a chance for manufacturers to show off their latest and greatest products about to enter the market.

What is notable about this year’s event is what some manufacturers aren’t showing off — new sedans.

Sedans, Chicago
Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations of the Americas for Ford Motor Company, speaks during the media preview of the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place, Feb. 7, 2019, in Chicago. VOA

Customers want trucks, SUVs

“Over 10 years, there has been a consistent movement of customers in the United States and around the world, but even more so in the United States, moving away from sedans and more traditional passenger sedans into more utility vehicles,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Motor Co.’s Global Operations.

“Nearly 7 out of 10 vehicles sold today are trucks or SUVs in the U.S. market. They like the ride high, the seating height, the utility of the vehicle. And now, we can give them the fuel efficiency that they used to get out of sedans. So, that’s where customers are going.”

All reasons Ford is going the extra mile and planning to invest $1 billion to upgrade its Chicago manufacturing facility, which produces the popular Explorer Sport Utility Vehicle, or SUV — also used as a law enforcement vehicle — and the new Lincoln Mariner luxury SUV.

But while Ford is offering new options for consumers, it is also discontinuing models of the Focus, Fiesta and Fusion cars, ending production later this year.

“We’ve been planning our business to incorporate the expectation that some of those cars will go away,” Hinrichs said. “Then bring in new products to enter the market to supplement some of that volume that was lost so that we can keep our plants full.”

The new family car

“We have the debate a lot about is the compact SUV the new family sedan, and in many instances, you can say yes,” said Steve Majuros, marketing director for cars and crossovers for the General Motors Chevrolet brand. He introduced two new trucks in Chevy’s popular Silverado lineup to media at the auto show.

The prominence, and choices, of SUVs, crossovers and trucks in GM’s current lineup promoted at the auto show stands in contrast to its perennial attraction in recent years, the Chevrolet Volt. Even though it is the top-selling electric plug-in vehicle of all time, sagging sales have led GM to cease production in March.

“Volt was a great product for us,” said Majuros. “(It) had a great run — two generations. But what has happened is as the ability to produce pure electric and the kind of cost configuration and range of what people are looking for, Volt had its time, but was a great stepping stone for us to lead us to the future, which was pure electrification.”

Sedans, Chicago
A long row of unsold 2019 Cruze sedans sits at a Chevrolet dealership in Littleton, Colo., Feb. 3, 2019. VOA

Joining the Volt on the chopping block is the Cruze, a compact car manufactured at GM’s Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio. Chevrolet does plan to keep making the Malibu midsize sedan and the Bolt all-electric vehicle, among a few other options.

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“We’re not abandoning the car market completely,” Majuros assured. “We’re right-sizing our portfolio. We’re reacting to what the consumers are looking for.”

What they are looking for are trucks and SUVs, which made up about 70 percent of the 17 million vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2018, a trend expected to continue this year. (VOA)

Next Story

Move over Baseball, it’s Cricket Time in Chicago

West Loop Cricket Association (WLCA), Chicago, provides an unbeatable platform to the hundreds of cricket fans in US

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Baseball, Cricket, Chicago
Players representing as many as 20 diverse neighbourhoods from Chicago and suburbs, were joined by those who drove hundreds of miles to be part of this fun tournament.

By West Loop Cricket Association, Chicago

Two days. 18 teams. 25 games. One winner. Thats cricket in Chicago for you. Baseball.

Played in the sprawling University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Michelle Obama Athletic Complex, in the west loop neighbourhood of Chicago, the Super 8 Cricket Tournament is becoming a huge hit among the cricket crazy fans in Chicago and neighbouring cities like Ohio.

When four IT guys, originally from India (Harry, Shreenidhi, Vivek, Harsha), decided to start a cricket club in Chicago, little did they know, that what was started as a one time game, would take shape of a tournament, being played every year.

Since its inception in 2017, the number of participating teams in the Super 8 Cricket Tournament, has gone from 8 to 18. This time, according to the organisers, registrations had to be stopped in five days. Talk about supply exceeding the demand.

Baseball, Cricket, Chicago
Since its inception in 2017, the number of participating teams in the Super 8 Cricket Tournament, has gone from 8 to 18.

“Our initial goal was 16, then we moved to 18, but then we had to stop the registration, as the teams kept coming from different neighbourhoods, says Vivek Sarkar, Co-founder, WICA (West Loop Cricket Association). We also got requests from few non-Indians, which we will try to accommodate, next time.”

Sponsorship association with US Bank reflects the games’ huge popularity and increasing fan base, in the city known for it’s love for baseball (Chicago Cubs).

“It is an honor to sponsor the WLCA and this wonderful event! Thank you for allowing U.S. Bank to be a part of your cricket family. Cheers to your success”, says Susan Brown, Mortgage Loan Originator, US Bank.

For the players, it’s the undying love for the game of cricket that pulls them together. Players representing as many as 20 diverse neighbourhoods from Chicago and suburbs, were joined by those who drove hundreds of miles to be part of this fun tournament. Every year this tournament brings in new experince, new motivation.

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“Basically for love of the game, we like organising and managing things, want to stay connected in this way, and spread this game around. Chicago is a very diverse city, many people often ask us about cricket, which makes us so happy. I would love to make this the best cricket league in Chicago”, says Kunal, Member, Core Organising Team.

For a few teams, even names are typical Indian (Chennai Super Kings, Hyderabad Nawab, Hyderabad Blues).

If you want to get in touch and participate in the next year’s tournament, the core organising team includes Kunal, Niranjan, Sunil, Saurabh, Vijay, Yogesh and Rahul.

This year GloryHunters took the champions trophy while defending champions Chicago Centaurs were the runners up.