10 key vehicle debuts for the end of a rocky year

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Automakers are sending a slew of critical new and redesigned models into dealer showrooms right now, despite worries around the country about a worsening outlook for the coronavirus pandemic and the possibility of new business restrictions.

The timing couldn’t be worse for these fourth-quarter product launches.

But on the other hand … the timing couldn’t be better.

For the past eight months, auto dealers have been doing what auto dealers do best — shaking off market jitters, mobilizing to sell more cars and trucks, maneuvering to keep their stores operating and marketing to keep shoppers excited about what’s for sale.

Retailers need this infusion of fresh product. And judging from the industry’s sales comeback in the back half of this year, consumers still want to buy.

Ford F-150

The king of the American auto business is redesigned for a new generation. How it performs will indicate not only the health of the industry, but also the economic outlook of its traditional customer base of small-business owners and contractors.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Say what you will about the demise of sedans and the rise of crossovers and SUVs. But then there is the E-Class. The 2021 redesign arrives into a weakened luxury-car market. But Mercedes is looking for more ammo to fend off its competitors.

Nissan Rogue

Dealers always say they need new product. But Nissan dealers truly need the redesigned Rogue. The automaker is trying to put the brand back on solid footing, and the Rogue is its biggest-volume product.

Ford Bronco Sport

Ford hopes this downsized version of the upcoming Bronco will take a bite out of the small-crossover segment now held by Jeep, Chevrolet and the imports.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

This could be a bellwether for Ford as it maps out its product future, a blending of all that’s hot: electric, crossover and Mustang DNA.

Jeep Wrangler 4xe

Jeep knows it must transition from off-road icon to environmental responsibility. This plug-in hybrid Wrangler is the bridge.

Acura TLX

The arrival of the new TLX means more to Acura dealers than having a sporty sedan to market. It is the vanguard of a new brand positioning for Acura, which plans to go back to its roots as a performance marque.

Hyundai Elantra

One year ago, few would have gotten excited about the arrival of a redesigned compact sedan. But Hyundai is on a roll in the U.S. The ’21 Elantra is bolder-looking and also comes as a hybrid.

Kia Sorento

The new Sorento is tapping into the beefy looks of the bigger, hot-selling Telluride. If it proves popular, it’s sure to help move Kia closer onto the heels of its sibling brand, Hyundai.

Toyota Sienna

Toyota’s 2021 Sienna is raising the stakes in the surprisingly competitive minivan segment. A hybrid powertrain will now come as standard.

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