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Car, Truck and Utility of the Year awards handed out among bevy of new car models at Detroit auto show

Ford introduced its 2020 Shelby Mustang GT500.

DETROIT. Auto shows are a great place for vehicle introductions, and when a new Mustang is being introduced, it will often overshadow some of its competitors.

Ford (NYSE: F) introduced the Shelby Mustang GT500, which is “the most powerful street legal Mustang ever,” said Chairman Bill Ford.

Preview week of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit also featured the Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards. The awards have been given out for more than 25 years. This year, the Genesis G70 won for Car of the Year while the Hyundai Kona/Kona Electric took home the honors in the Utility of the Year. Ram Trucks’ 1500 model won for Truck of the Year.

But it is always the new vehicles that dominate the news cycle, and this year is no different.

In addition to the Mustang, Ford announced two redesigns of family cars and a connected Police Interceptor model. An Explorer Hybrid model was introduced, with an estimated EPA range of 500 miles between fill ups, said CEO Jim Hackett. An Explorer ST version is also being introduced for those seeking more of a performance vehicle.

Hackett also said there will be a number of new models in the next 24 months as well as redesigned Super Duty and Transit van models.

The star of the Ford show, though, was the Mustang. With more than 700 horsepower, the car covers a quarter-mile in less than 11 seconds, Hackett noted. “It has as much power as the NASCAR Mustangs but is street legal,” he said.

The car goes from 0 to 60 in the mid-three second range.

Ram introduced new heavy duty truck models. The 2500 and 3500 models build upon the success of its 1500 model, which has been named winner of both Motor Trend and North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year truck of the year awards, with added towing and hauling capacity, while adopting some of the 1500’s driver comfort features, such as premium sound and safety packages.

Toyota (NYSE: TM) President and CEO Akio Toyoda was particularly excited to announce the reintroduction of the Supra with a GR (Gazoo Racing) model. Saying the Supra was “his car,” the 2020 model will be the first Supra rolling off an assembly line in 17 years when it debuts. The concept for the car actually appeared in the Grand Turismo video game.

“Which I recommend to any designer trying to get their boss to sign off on a concept car,” Toyoda said. “Because for me, it was game over.”

The 2020 Supra will feature a 335-horsepower engine producing 366 lbs.-ft. of torque and a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. Toyoda said the car will go from 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds. The rear-wheel drive vehicle, which Toyoda hinted may not be the last in Toyota’s lineup, will feature pre-collision braking and lane departure warning.

The new Supra will be entered in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and driven by Christopher Bell.

Volkswagen, in addition to announcing a new plant in Chattanooga, TN, that will produce electric vehicles, also announced the 2020 Passat sedan. While some in North America are turning away from sedans, which now make up less than 40% of new vehicle sales, Volkswagen is not.

“Some say there is no market for cars, but there were 4.2 million sedans sold in the U.S. last year,” Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group North America, said. “That is 800,000 more cars than the entire German market. We think there is still opportunity.”

The Kia Telluride SUV is a purely concept vehicle that indicates the brand’s interest in building a premium SUV above its current Sorento model.

“The Kia Telluride makes an aesthetic statement for the Kia brand as a bold, all-new luxury SUV with an abundance of advanced technology, focusing particular attention on the experience and comfort of second-row occupants,” Tom Kearns, chief designer, Kia Design Center America, said. “Longer, wide and taller than the recently redesigned Sorento CUV, Telluride allows us to envision what a full-size seven-passenger SUV from Kia could look like.”

Hyundai announced its redesigned 2019 Sante Fe has been awarded the Redesign of the Year award by ALG, the analytics subsidiary of TrueCar. It also announced the Elantra GT N Line performance-inspired trim level.

In an event just before the show started, Cadillac introduced its XT6 SUV. Sharing the same platform as the GMC Arcadia and Chevrolet Traverse, the vehicle offers a bit more styling with all leather and wood materials. It also includes in-vehicle comfort such as air ionizer, automatically heated and ventilated front seats and heated second-row outboard seats.

Luxury brand Lexus updated its RC for 2019 with updated styling, interior refinements and a retuned suspension for more precise ride and handling. It also introduced the LX Inspiration Series. The exclusive design with Black Onyx exterior, black trim and black chrome accents, will only be available to 500 owners.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.
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