Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is reportedly introducing its next car to the world at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show instead of the Detroit Auto Show like it does traditionally. Does FCA sees its next big product as more of a gadget than a car?
CES has been building relevance in the automotive world in the last couple years. Last January at CES 2016 we saw the Kia Telluride for the first time, along with BMW’s gesture-control prototypes, Chevy Bolt, VW’s plan for electrification and of course Faraday Future’s wacky prototype.
Today the Detroit Free Press is reporting that FCA will have its next big reveal at the Las Vegas tech show next month instead of the Detroit International Auto Show which goes off around the same time. They’re still going to be in Detroit, but to just sort of hang out, I guess.
Freep cites IHS Automotive’s Senior Analyst Stephanie Brinley in the assertion that the next-gen Jeep Wrangler and half-ton Ram pickup truck won’t quite be finished cooking yet in time for either show, though both vehicles are expected to bow within a year and a half
BMW, Honda, Lexus, Nissan, Toyota the Chinese automaker Gungzhou Automotive Group are all said to be revealing new vehicles at Detroit. While FCA is still expected to have a significant physical presence with floor space for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, Maserati and Alfa Romeo, the lack of a new product reveal is unprecedented for the “hometown” company.
FCA’s decision to break out its shiny new toy at a tech show instead of arguably the biggest car show in America lines up with a trend the automotive industry has been leaning toward for some time: the idea that gadgets are cooler than cars. Or more specifically, that cars are supposed to speed the flow of your life the way your smartphone and its apps does, rather than be a focal point of interest themselves.
Speculation at this point is that FCA’s CES reveal will be a self-driving Pacifica minivan developed in conjunction with Google, but of course official company reps “can’t comment on future product.” We’ve reached out to FCA anyway and will update if a representative offers any more specific information about the company moving it’s big reveals from Detroit to Las Vegas.