It was good to be back at the North American International Auto Show during industry preview days visiting our client, Clark Hill PLC. And it was encouraging to see that the reigning Detroit-based auto show was up to speed with more of the energy and excitement of new vehicles and new ideas that were missing a few years ago.
We entered Cobo Hall at the Ford exhibit, which gave my colleague, Christine Golus, a chance to reflect on the automotive brand that she has a special appreciation for, having grown up in a “Ford family” – her father worked at Ford’s Dearborn and Wayne locations. We sought out the newly redesigned 2013 Escape, curious to see how designers carried over emerging, modern design cues from the recent Focus and Explorer re-launch, and eager to see what kind of fuel economy improvements were made in this popular SUV. (We’re pleased to report 36 mpg highway with EcoBoost.) Of course a brief pause to admire the lineup of Mustangs on display goes without saying.
Of particular interest to us at Q was a brief presentation at the Chevrolet exhibit focused on two concept cars aimed at “millennials,” the Code 130R and Tru 140S. The Chevy team conducted research to explore why so many of today’s would-be teen drivers are indifferent about getting a driver’s license and longing for the freedom of the road – an odd phenomenon that we too observed among the teens, and their friends, in our own households. Their findings were incorporated into the styling and interior features of the concept vehicles.
After lunch with our friends at the Clark Hill booth overlooking the show, we decided our trip to the NAIAS would not be complete without a stop at the BMW exhibit for a glimpse of the latest German engineering and a few photos to share with our Q partners in Wiesbaden. While BMW had a smorgasbord of new 3 Series vehicles on display, we were disappointed they neglected to bring the X3, which Q creative director Todd Szymanski helped launch to dealers in 2011.
Christine’s pick for show favorite: the Fiat 500 Abarth in silver, but not necessarily the menacing scorpion logo adornments. Paul’s pick for show favorite: the Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon black diamond addition, with 6-speed manual transmission and track time that beats Ferrari. (Don’t believe it? Watch this Top Gear review.)
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