#FordNAIAS: The North American International Auto Show

Last week, I had the pleasure of joining Ford at the North American International Auto Show for a few days.  Having been to the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto and the Hamilton International Auto Show in my youth, I didn’t think it would be much different.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The Detroit Auto Show is the Crown Jewel of them all.  There was a product launch and unveiling every few hours and the room was full of approximately 6,000 media from around the world.  You could feel the room buzzing as each new car was unveiled and people began to talk about it.  There was a Corvette hanging on a wall in the GM area.  There was a simulated assembly line in the Ford section.  There were hor d’oeuvres at the SMART Car booth and refreshments and coffee almost everywhere you looked.  This was a different experience all together.

The first stop of the day was at the Joe Louis Arena where Ford unveiled the new 2015 F-150 Truck.  This was one of the MOST impressive product launches I have witnessed.  If you didn’t get a chance to see it, check out this video which shows the entire Ford press conference culminating with the F-150 reveal:

The entire first day of our two-day visit was focused on the Auto Show.  Ford had an impressive media room set up to allow us to go, “Behind the Blue Oval” and learn more about Ford.  They ran sessions on different topics all day that covered everything from design processes to Q & A sessions with Ford executives.  It was especially refreshing to hear throughout the day how happy and excited the Ford executive team was to have not only traditional media there with them, but also new media members as well.  It was also a relaxing environment to recharge (both yourself & your gadget batteries) and a great opportunity to take a closer look at the vehicles Ford is working on and ask lots of questions.

A snack conveyor belt

A snack conveyor belt

I had the opportunity to see a new proximity security feature they have added to the Police Interceptor line of vehicles.  This feature will automatically close open windows and lock doors, when active, if someone approaches a police cruiser from behind.  This is a big step in helping keep law enforcement professionals safe.

The team at Ford had definitely thought of everything we might want during our time at the Auto Show.  This included meals, refreshments and even a conveyor belt of snacks which kept changing throughout the day.  It started with granola bars and nuts.  Then it changed to chocolate and it ended the day with candy.  What more could you ask for?

Alan Mulally, CEO, Brad Keselowski, Chris Vollick

Alan Mulally, CEO, Brad Keselowski, Chris Vollick

During the evening portion of the event, I had the chance to meet Brad Keselowski and Alan Mulally, the President & CEO of Ford.  They were there talking with the guests and answering questions in a very relaxed setting.  I also had a chance to chat with former NASCAR driver (and 2014 Hall of Fame inductee) Dale Jarrett and NASCAR Hall of Fame member, Ned Jarrett.  The evening also included a short screening of the upcoming movie, Need for Speed (sorry, no video allowed) and the chance to meet the director of the movie, Scott Waugh.  If it sounds like a whirlwind it was.  It was also a great end to a great day!

Chris Vollick, Dale Jarrett

Chris Vollick, Dale Jarrett

Chris Vollick, Ned Jarrett

Chris Vollick, Ned Jarrett

Scott Waugh, Chris Vollick

Scott Waugh, Chris Vollick

If you want a glimpse into what Alan Mulally is like in person, there are plenty of videos online.  I had recalled seeing him in the clip below on the Late Show with David Letterman and he was very much the same in person, in my opinion.  After diving deeper into how he tied the vision and focus on the Ford brand into the original pillars that Henry Ford built the company on, when he joined the company, I am even more impressed at what Mr. Mulally has accomplished in his career.

With the work that Mr. Mulally has done at Boeing and now Ford, he has definitely helped people get around the world either in a car or an airplane for almost half a century.  If that doesn’t make him someone who embodies Henry Ford’s vision of “Opening the Highways to all mankind” which appeared in a 1925 Ford advertisement, I can’t think of a better example.

7 responses to “#FordNAIAS: The North American International Auto Show

  1. From your report I gather that the Toronto Auto Show needs to step it up a bit. That said, Detroit is where things seem to happen!

    Looks like I have a new reason to visit Detroit for next years Auto Show!

    What was your most favourite part of being there?

    • I don’t know if Toronto needs to change, it is just a different type of show. I would say Toronto is a showcase where Detroit is the venue where products are launched or revealed.

      My favourite part was, being there. I had always wanted to go to the Detroit Auto Show. It was impressive to see the show and I definitely liked all the behind the scenes stuff that Ford gave us access to.

  2. Nice summary, Chris 🙂 You captured some of the excitement and electricity that buzzed in the air from NAIAS — it opened my eyes to much of what keeps the automotive industry thriving, even in these challenging times.

    Also, thanks for the photo of the conveyor belt — it occurred to me that with all the excitement of grabbing snacks from it, I never took a photo of it! Definitely going in my summary with a link back to you.

    Kudos, sir!

    • Thanks, Casey! I didn’t think that the post would be complete with out showcasing the Ford Innovation in the Candy Conveyor department!

  3. looks like a great place to see some cars ,, glad to see your links work 😉

    • It certainly was a great place to see cars and learn about cars, thanks to Ford! I know more about what and how they look towards the future after only two days. Can’t wait to visit the Autoshow in Toronto and dig deeper into the 2015 models.

  4. Great post, Chris! I’m with Casey on the candy conveyor – it’s a must! 😉 I watched the clip of Alan Mulally on David Letterman, because I don’t think I ever saw it – nice!

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