Motor Bella 2021: U.S. demand for SUVs and light trucks steadily grows

Ford Expedition, Jeep Wagoneer family, Buick Envision and Enclave highlight increasing technology



  Motor Bella was held from September 21 through September 26, 2021 at the M1 Concourse outdoor event venue and track in Pontiac, Michigan, U.S. The exhibition was a one-year replacement for the cancelled 2021 North American International Auto Show. The M1 Concourse devoted approximately 1.6 million square feet for vehicle and technology displays surrounding the track. More than 350 vehicle models from approximately 35 brands were shown at Motor Bella. The exhibition featured ride-along demonstrations with models such as the Ford Bronco, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Ram 1500 TRX and Jeep Grand Cherokee. It also held test drives on the streets neighboring the M1 Concourse with Ford and Audi models.

  The increased interactivity at Motor Bella compared to previous shows highlighted a change in mindset to increase the relevance and value of auto shows as more OEMs opt to host private or virtual events for their own debuts. In this way, Motor Bella acted as a small scale preliminary run for future iterations of the North American International Auto Show that are expected to be held at least partially outdoors. As a one-time event, Motor Bella served to gauge public interest in this new format while negotiating with the difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Central track area of M1 Concourse Ford Bronco off-road demonstration area
Central track area of M1 Concourse featuring primary Detroit Three exhibits Ford Bronco off-road demonstration area

  While Motor Bella featured far fewer debuts compared to previous years of the North American International Auto Show, the displayed models reflected the status of the U.S. market, emphasizing SUVs, crossovers and light trucks. Ford unveiled the mid-cycle refresh of the Ford Expedition. Other notable models at Motor Bella included 2021 Chicago Auto Show debuts such as the Nissan Frontier, Corolla Cross and refreshed Jeep Compass. The Detroit Three showed other SUVs with the Buick Enclave and Envision, Lincoln Navigator and Jeep Grand Wagoneer. One trend highlighted at Motor Bella is the increasing availability of advanced technologies across all vehicle segments.

  This report is the first of two reports which focuses on the content shown at Motor Bella. This report will focus on notable internal combustion engine vehicles shown at the exhibition. A future report will highlight electrified models and specific panel sessions at Motor Bella.

Related reports:
U.S. Market: Biden Administration Plans to Promote EVs and Strengthen Semiconductors (Jul. 2021)
Stellantis (Part 2): Launching large SUVs & pickups in N.A., small SUVs & LCVs in the EU (Apr. 2021)
Ford (Part 1): Collaboration with VW and targeted investment under new CEO (Nov. 2020)

North American International Auto Show 2019:
U.S. and EU OEMs: U.S. automakers continue focus on crossovers, utilities and trucks
Asian OEMs: In contrast to U.S. OEMs, Asian automakers exhibit performance models, electric concepts and SUVs


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