Day one is a wrap at the North American International Auto Show here in Detroit. Well, there may be some Chinese company talking about a car they designed using tracing paper, but we’re here to talk about what really mattered today. And some stuff we thought was kinda stupid. So in no particular order, here we go. (Editor’s Note, I let Andrew Fails, our crack photographer add in some commentary below. I’m sorry)
Heroic Reveals Montage
The big story out of hometown hero Ford Motor Company was that indeed the Bronco and Ranger are coming back in 2020 and 2019 respectively. I leaned forward in my seat, knees weak, arms heavy (from holding the camera) as Mark Fields…or Bill Ford…or someone told us about historic names, offroad prowess, etc. Right at that moment when I thought we were about to see a God damn Bronco roll onto stage, it ended. The new rejuvenated nameplates were teased but not shown.
Overall, it’s admirable hearing what Ford is talking about. Whereas most of the Euro brands talked about sales figures and how they fucking killed it in 2016, Ford talked about saving the world. Ok, it felt like a TED talk focused on autonomy and societal change complete with fake interviews with both sides reading off teleprompters. And yes Fails, it did feel a bit like a megachurch with a priest on a dais and Ford icons in the background. But they talked about important stuff like ride sharing and mobility and things that may actually improve life one day. Stay tuned.
We got fantastic seats for the Honda press conference. But looking at the backdrop, we felt a bit like Mario was about to find out that his princess was in another minivan and bailed. Supposedly they came out with a minivan that can track what your kids are doing using night vision. Creepy.
Chevy can be fun, Chevy can be interesting. Today, it was neither of those things and presenter sounded a bit like the priest from The Princess Bride (mawwage is what bwings us togevah). With a lot of talk about mainstream car culture, active lifestyles and third row seating, we didn’t stay much longer than it took to get this photo of the new 2018 Traverse.
AF: “People apparently care about these. Has third row seating for your active lifestyle, which isn’t about swinging”
Like most of the luxury automakers from Europe, Audi stressed the performance and technology of their cars. Well, that as well as their kickass sales figures. The first speaker, Audi USA president Scott Keogh had a fantastic suit and even better hair. The second speaker had a wonderful German accent and was exactly what you would expect a German auto exec to be. They unveiled the new S5 Convertible and the new SQ5 crossover, as well as as the new concept Q8 which will slot in at the top of their SUV universe.
After stating definitively how much market share the various elements of the BMW Group have locked down, an Englishman and and Australian discussed yachting. Thankfully they moved on to the reveals. The first was an “M Performance” 7 series. Not to be confused with an M7. The newly unveiled 600+ horsepower M760i debuted with a an exhaust noise over the speakers system and they pretended it was live. “Sounds good doesn’t it” the Englishman said. Indeed, but his feet had left the vehicle when we heard it.
Next was the brand new 7th generation 5-series complete with semi-autonomous tech and driver assistance programs said to work up to 130mph. That sounds terrifying, but I for one welcome our new autonomous overlords. The 5-series debuted with a silent hybrid/electric sort of thing and a raucous M550ixdrive, which is tough to say, and made a great exhaust noise. Well, ideally, this one was also played through the speakers. I see a trend.
Then it broke.
In what can only be described as “appropriately Swedish”, Volvo’s exec tossed out lots of statistics and figures. Interesting, but safe with a big focus on autonomous cars. If you haven’t heard, they are partnering with Uber! Volvo-guy prattled on about safety and autonomy and how they value the opinion of “normal families”. So they brought one with them! The Swedish Family Robinson were on hand to talk about how they love safety and if autonomous cars make them safer, they’re down. Only, they’re one of 100 families who volunteered to test the new tech in Sweden. Lycka till to them!