The North American International Auto Show is the place to be this January. Quick on the heels of the Consumer Electronics Show, NAIAS offers the latest in automotive technology and concepts. For many automakers, this is the place to reveal new vehicles (the 2018 Camry race car) and celebrate automotive achievement. At this year’s show, there were multiple trends that we haven’t seen before – and some that we have.
The most talked about all electric at the show is definitely the Chevy Bolt. The new Bolt is able to take much longer journey’s, similar to the Tesla. The range has been extended to 238 miles. Electric cars used to be good for people that lived, and stayed, inside of cities that’s not the case anymore. The range gives leeway for long distance motoring – making the Bolt an option to take on vacation. It is still the only regular production electric to offer a longer range battery.
The Volkswagen I.D. Buzz turned heads. The body has the exterior look of the VW van, but the inside is a different story. The cockpit can be described as sparse. There’s no need for much dashboard clutter since the vehicle is set to operate fully autonomously.
Other NAIAS 2017 vehicles showed a focus towards autonomy. Although many people don’t realize, most of the technology required for self-driving vehicles exists – it just isn’t introduced all at once. Industry experts believe that automotive technology must be introduced in phases, giving consumers time to get used to the driving differences.
Toyota and Kia both introduced completely new takes on their signature brand “looks”. The new Camry has shifted from blasé to driving machine. The popularity of the Camry has dwindled due to shifting preferences towards SUV’s and competition from Honda (which showcased a newly styled, sporty Civic in 2016). Kia is also diversifying and offering the Stinger, which looks reminiscent of a Cadillac. The Stinger offers a twin-turbo engine and over 360 horsepower, positioning the Kia to a different market than previous offerings like the Soul and Forte.
The most beautiful vehicle at the show – the 2017 Ford GT. Last June, the Ford GT won the 24 hour Le Mans race (just as it did 50 years prior). NAIAS goers were ecstatic to get close to the GT. The 2017 GT features a 3.5 liter V6 engine, horsepower is projected at 600+. Since most won’t be able to drive the GT around a track, Ford is offering a VR experience. The user can actually experience Le Mans through this application. Ford VR is available on Google Play and the App Store.
One of the unusual developments at this year’s show is the vast amount of SUV’s and Cross-overs. Consumers want SUV’s and the auto industry has noticed. Among the reveals were the Infiniti QX50, Lincoln Navigator concept, and GAC Enspirit. Some feel that these vehicles are a result of obese Americans requiring larger transport. Others cite that the trend evolved from perceptions that heavier vehicles are safer.
NAIAS 2017 definitely has a lot to offer, whether you are into cars or emerging technology. If this is any indication of the way the industry is moving, we will expect to see even more green energy and autonomy in the future (and hopefully some ridiculously fast super cars). If you haven’t made it to NAIAS 2017 yet, you can find ticket information here. The show ends 22 January 2017.