DETROIT – Revived brands and hints of our self-driving future characterized Monday's opening day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Ford won the spotlight among automakers by announcing the return of the Ranger pickup truck and the Bronco SUV. Both models -- Ranger in 2019 and Bronco in 2020 -- scored buzz online for the Blue Oval.
While competitors revealed their own new vehicles -- including a flashy new Lexus, an out-there concept from Volkswagen, a luxury SUV from Audi and a new Toyota Camry -- the underscored message of Day 1 was the pursuit of autonomous vehicles.
Nissan, Audi, FCA, Volvo, Volkswagen and Ford announced connections to self-driving cars, and an executive from Google's Waymo division got attention for a talk on Sunday detailing his company's aggressive plans to test and develop technology to bring autonomous vehicles to millions.
Self-driving vehicles came up time and again in presentations by car companies either testing technologies that are preparing for the increasingly inevitable shift.
President-elect Donald Trump loomed large over the proceedings, even though it's Vice President Joe Biden who will be around the show this week. Trump's tweets attacking U.S. automakers for building plants in Mexico reportedly unnerved the car companies, though at least one showed some defiance. BMW said it was moving forward with its plant in Mexico, while Toyota said its plans to invest $10 billion into American auto plants had nothing to do with Trump.
The show opened Monday with the annual North American Car and Truck of the Year awards, and a new "Utility" category this year. The Chevy Bolt, Nissan Ridgeline and Chrysler Pacifica scored wins.
Following the Pacifica's success, lovers of minivans have a new sliding-door vehicle to kick the tires on. Honda rolled out a new Odyssey and Jalopnik loves its new features, including a built-in PA system parents can use to scold kids in the third row, and an in-cabin camera with night vision for spying on them.
Want to see it all for your self? Here are dozens of videos and photos from today's packed schedule of reveals: