>> The question is no longer, do you want a work truck or a luxury car? You can have both. You can have a work truck that is a luxury car. I'm Joe White with Reuters and I'm here at the Detroit Auto Show where there are a couple of very distinct messages coming from major auto makers.
One, they're talking about electric cars and how in the future they're gonna have electric and automated vehicles, but right now what they want to sell you are vehicles like that. That is a RAM heavy duty pickup truck power wagon, one of the variants of a new line of heavy duty trucks.
That years ago would have been strictly for work, strictly for hauling dirty trailers, and all kinds of farm equipment and hay bales. Now, these are luxury vehicles. The RAM has a 12 inch display screen in the dashboard, leather seats, all kinds of luxury conveniences and features that used to be the sole province of Mercedes or BMW.
These vehicles are the luxury cars for the center of the United States. $70,000, $80,000 vehicles that very wealthy people buy and use both for work and for fun. All of the Detroit auto makers, General Motors, Ford, Fiat, Chrysler, are trying to exploit demand for big luxurious trucks. At General Motors, the GMC brand has been exploiting this market trying to build and develop this market using its Denali brand.
These vehicles are big, and they burn a lot of fossil fuel. They have diesel engines in them that have to be cleaned up to meet emissions standards. Detroit loves them, the people who buy them love them. Regulators and people who are worried about the climate do not love them.
And there's a lot of tension around Detroit's dependence on these trucks for profits going forward. SUVs are also getting bigger, but they are getting more efficient. Ford showed the new Ford Explorer, which is larger than the one it replaces, but it has a hybrid variant which can get about 24 miles to the gallon.
That's the mileage you'd expect from a much smaller Ford Escape. In the end, customers will decide. And right now, as far as the Big Three are concerned, their customers are telling them they want vehicles like this.