2019 Chevy Silverado LT Trailboss

The dawn of self-driving cars might have been the focus of last week’s CES tech extravaganza in Las Vegas, but this week in Detroit it’s all about the trucks that Americans are buying today and which generate the profits that fund tomorrow’s innovations.

Forbes reported that Americans love their pickups, and the truck leaders are giving them plenty to salivate over at this year’s North American International Auto Show, opening to the public on Jan. 20. Chevrolet has a new Silverado pickup, Fiat Chrysler has a new Ram 1500, and Ford is bringing its mid-sized Ranger pickup back to North America.

It’s rare that Detroit’s auto giants all have important truck launches at the same time, which means there’s plenty of bravado and bluster going on during this week’s press preview.

With the new Silverado, on sale in the second half of this year, General Motors is launching the pickup truck it probably wanted to build a decade ago. But after emerging from bankruptcy in 2009, GM couldn’t afford big investments so it decided to forego a complete re-engineering of its bread-and-butter vehicles and instead slapped a new front end on its existing trucks. GM paid a price, however, losing market share to rivals like Ford, which in 2015 overhauled its top-selling F-series pickups with all-new aluminum bodies.

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