‘Cars’ Movie Franchise Debuts New Star at Detroit Auto Show

Animated movie “Cars 3” reveals new rival for star racer Lightning McQueen at North American International Auto Show.

Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

Officials at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit have begun unveiling new cars.

And one of the first cars unveiled is not even a real car.

The animated feature films “Cars,” from moviemakers Pixar and Disney, center around plots where vehicles are the characters.

That includes the brash, hot-rod looking protagonist race car Lightning McQueen.

The franchise unveiled footage from the next installment, “Cars 3,” at the Detroit Auto Show, complete with a life-size version of McQueen.

The film’s creative director, Jay Ward, says he regularly visited the auto show in the past to ensure the automotive details were precise for a McQueen car he says had to look fast and a bit reckless.


“Now for Cars 3 we had that challenge again, to come up with a race car that looked different from the pack. A car that would stand out and be something different. And so we now have ‘Jackson Storm’,” Ward said.


The Jackson Storm car is a sleek, low-slung version of a futuristic NASCAR stock car who tells McQueen it’s time for him to retire.

The movie also includes a new female star car, a yellow coupe called Cruz Ramirez, who trains the now crafty veteran McQueen for a comeback.   


  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.