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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Report Card: 2016 Detroit Auto Show

      We Reported on the Vehicles That Made Their Appearance At Detroit, Now Its Time To Grade Them

    This year's Detroit Auto Show was somewhat down in terms of excitement. But considering last year's show was a 'once in a blue moon' event with a number of highly awaited vehicles and some surprises, 2016 was going to be somewhat a disappointment. Still, a number of automakers were willing to give it a shot and show off new models and concepts that would amaze all.

     

    It is time to see who is on the honor roll and who be heading to detention after the show.

     

    Acura Precision Concept: C
    Something I never thought I would say: I miss the shield grille. Also, were Acura's designers play too much F-Zero on the Super Nintendo.

     

    2017 Audi A4/A4 Allroad: C+/B+
    At first, I couldn't find the A4 sedan at Audi's booth. But after a moment and looking on the back on a number of their vehicles, I was able to find it. I never thought it was possible to self-plagiarize your design.

     

    At least, the A4 Allroad looks somewhat different than the current model. Also, the interior in both models is really sharp.

     

    Audi h-tron Concept: B+
    Finally, something that isn't an electric concept! Seriously, this is one really sharp looking concept.

     

    2016 BMW M2: A-
    I'll admit I wasn't interested in the M2 when I first wrote about back in October. But seeing it in person, I was intrigued. 0-60 times under 4.5 seconds from a revised turbo 3.0L inline-six and suspension tuning from M? This is something I want to drive.

     

    2016 BMW X4 M40i: C-
    So a 355 horsepower four-door crossover coupe thing with M bits for the suspension... WHY!? *Begins pulling hair out*

     

    Buick Avista Concept: A+
    And now for something surprising: Damn, that's a fine looking Buick. It helps there is a twin-turbo V6 and what many believe to be Alpha platform sitting underneath. Many want Buick to put this into production. But if past experience tells us anything, we could be seeing elements of Avista in a production model.

     

    2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback: A
    Mark Reuss said not bringing the first-generation Cruze was a mistake. GM hopes to fix this with the new Cruze Hatchback. After seeing it in person, I think Chevrolet has a real chance.

     

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica: A
    This could challenge the Kia Sedona for sexiest minivan on sale (yes, I know that is a contradiction). Also, the plug-in hybrid is a unique selling point. But why Pacifica? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH TOWN & COUNTRY?!

     

    2017 Ford Fusion: B-
    Postive: Refresh makes it look less like an Aston Martin
    Negative: Who wants to pay close to $40,000 for a Fusion?! (i.e. Platinum)

     

    2017 Ford Raptor SuperCrew: Incomplete
    Whoopie, there is a supercrew version of the Raptor... Ford, just go back to your room and think about why this warranted a show debut. Also, planning to release power figures soon?

     

    2017 Genesis G90: B+
    Somehow the new Equus, wait I mean G90 looks more frumpy than the model it replaces. The new engines and seemingly never-ending list of standard equipment make up for it.

     

    2017 GMC Acadia: A-
    How to drop 700 lbs out of a crossover? Make it smaller. With the Acadia, there is beginning to be some clear differentiation starting to appear in GM's large crossovers.

     

    2017 Honda Ridgeline: C+
    Now more truck like including a space between the cab and bed! Honda, you're not fooling anyone. At least, the in-truck bed is still there.

     

    2017 Infiniti Q60: A
    Keeps much of the design from the concept and brings some much needed new engines to Infiniti. Horray. Also Infiniti's direct steer system is optional which should quiet those folks who believe it is the worst thing to happen to cars (about five or six at last check).

     

    Kia Telluride Concept: Incomplete
    Uhh, hmm. I don't have any words for this concept.

     

    2017 Lincoln Continental: B-
    To quote my Instagram: "Lincoln... I really want to like you, but you are making it so hard to do so." Something on the design just seems off.

     

    2017 Lexus LC 500: A-
    The fact that Lexus made the LF-LC into a production model is shocking enough! Considering they didn't water it down is more shocking. But Lexus, we need to talk about building a V8 that is capable of 500-plus horsepower for this new coupe.

     

    2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: B+
    Mercedes-Benz has taken the Audi ideals when designing their vehicles; using the enlarge and reduce function on the copy machine. But I like what Mercedes is doing with their design on their current sedan lineup. The sharpness of the interior is an added plus.

     

    Nissan Titan Warrior Concept: B+
    Glad to see someone else take Ford on with a Raptor even if it's a concept. Quick Aside: Can someone build a muscle truck again?!

     

    Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept: C
    Whose bright idea at Volkswagen was; let's take the concept we showed at Frankfurt, add some offroad bits, and call it the GTE Active? Great Idea, right? No.

     

    2017 Volvo S90: A+
    Woah. Inside and out, the new S90 is a stunner. It also helps that S90 underneath is the same as the North American Truck of the Year - the XC90.

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    Acura Precision Concept: C. It just an execixze in obsurdity. the radical design is actually borring at this point. Who would have thought

     

    2017 Audi A4/A4 Allroad: D/D. Jelly Bean.. I'm trufully sick to death of Audi's styling. Its boring in small, medium, and large. I really connot fathom what makes people see them as anything other than over-priced VWs.

     

     

    Audi h-tron Concept: D+. The plus is for teh technology, not the design

     

     

    2016 BMW M2: A-. I'll agree. Its gonna be a quick lil bitch

     

    2016 BMW X4 M40i: C. I am with the OP. What real reason do people think that a CUV.. needs to handle like an M-Series. Its silly. And it really detracts from the brand and the segment

     

    Buick Avista Concept: A++ This vehicle is so buildable it isn;t even funny. Frankly I'd settle for the Opel MOnza inspired GT... which I bet resembles this BUick a great deal.

     

    2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback: A+ Should have come a while ago.. I am actually fine with this over a coupe, but seriously believe the one thing it lacks is the return of the SS engine. 300HP+ Anyone?

     

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica: B. I hate minivans, but a people mover shoudl be efficient. If this gets what FCA promises, 80MPG, then I'm all for it. Styling does make it livable

     

    2017 Ford Fusion: C. I never saw what the hoopla was about. Outside of the grille.. the Fusion came off as plain jane. Now.. the grill is gone.. and all that is left is the rest of it. BLAH!!!

     

    2017 Ford Raptor SuperCrew: Incomplete

    Whoopie, there is a supercrew version of the Raptor... Ford, just go back to your room and think about why this warranted a show debut. Also, planning to release power figures soon?

     

    2017 Genesis G90: F-. Blatant stealing off someone else's paper used to get a failing grade when I was in school

     

    2017 GMC Acadia: A- Like the ENVOY.. the ENVOY.. it replaces... it should offer a V8 or at least V8 power via the LF3 detuned to say.. 360HP. The 8Speed is missing as well. 

     

    2017 Honda Ridgeline: D. Japanese go home. Colorado and Canyon rule this land

     

    2017 Infiniti Q60: B.. for the 400HP. The looks. SOrry.. I'm just not into the Infinti, Lexus look

      

    2017 Lincoln Continental: B-

    To quote my Instagram: "Lincoln... I really want to like you, but you are making it so hard to do so." Something on the design just seems off.  I agree. Nuff said

     

    2017 Lexus LC 500: A- Props to Lexus for building it... It will get the driver noticed. Cadillac.. its your turn. Build the ElMiraj so the Lexus driver pulling right up to U.. doesn't get noticed at all. 

     

    2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: B for the sake of familiarity. I too have seen this before.. and it actually looks better as it gets larger. The C-Class is an awkward mess. The E seems to get better.. the S-Class drives it home.

     

     

    2017 Volvo S90: A Props to Volvo too for building this. While I wouldn't buy one it defeinetly should out all near-luxo builders on notice. BUICK.. this is what U should do in terms of materials and finish in your Enclave
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    All A's report card from a GM site.

    Shocking, I know.

     

     

    And for the record, the Raptor is all new, in it's second generation of having a crew cab, and GM has NOTHING to compete with it still.

     

    We are not a GM site.

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    I'd say the winner is the  Pacifica (A+) because the hybrid is revolutionary for the segment (even though few will buy it) and they did add a lot of technology, the multimedia for kids in the back, the 9-speed auto, they copied Honda's in car vacuum, etc.  And the styling is sleek and somewhat unique for a van.  Pacifica I think can really take over that segment.

     

    Stuff like the Fusion and E-class, they tweak them since they are big volume players in their segments, they will keep that going.   I like what they did with the E-class, the interior and technology really push it forward and it has the familiar Mercedes look.  Fusion is just a refresh, I'd give the E-class an A- because I would have liked a bit more unique styling.

     

    The Acura (D) concept is there to get headlines and make them look like a prime time luxury brand.  Otherwise they would have a trio os Honda-Inspired sedans and a rebadged Pilot on their stage, and no one would pay attention to them.  That precision concept is something they'll never build, but they want to keep teasing the fan base.  I feel like the Buick Avista is a bit like that too, although I think they should build a 3.6 V6 Avista, a grand touring style Camaro for about $40k.  I think that is a sell-able car that you can get enough volume off of.

     

    The Ridgeline (B)  looks a little awkward, but it could do well with the car like ride, Honda reliability, the storage bin under the pick up bed, etc.  Mid-size pickups got pretty dated, until the GM twins showed up, and after like 10 years a new Tacoma.  Competition is heating up there again.

     

    Acadia (A-) I think they did right.  It looks trucky as a GMC should, it moved to mid-size which is the sweet spot, and they have Enclave and Yukon there if you want bigger.

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    All A's report card from a GM site.

    Shocking, I know.

     

     

    And for the record, the Raptor is all new, in it's second generation of having a crew cab, and GM has NOTHING to compete with it still.

    Any idea of when we might hear something about the power figures? I was hoping we would have heard it in Detroit.
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    I would give extra credit marks to the following vehicles.

     

    Fusion. Bump it to B. I'll give credit for Ford realizing a sale lost on Lincoln is better captured by Ford one way or another. And they're the de facto performance leader in their segment now, and the platinum level interior is capable of punching above its class. Plus I really like the way it looks, but that didn't factor in the extra marks I would give.

     

    Buick Avista: You don't get a grade. You get advanced placement, you're off to battle school, and your grades are so good you make the Xenocide, Ender Wiggin, irrelevant. This is a car that would, quite frankly, upset the power balance in the GM portfolio, and a car like this would really shake Cadillac ATS to the bone.

     

    Lexus LC-500 - 100% completion. It's a concept car that is the production car. I can't believe Lexus had the guts to build it. It's an irrational car for an utterly rational brand. Besides, they are going against some exclusive competition too. This is an example for Cadillac. It's one of those cars I would actually buy if I had the money. And if it is utterly superior to anything else, especially that beautiful peanut butter interior, no nationalist buying criteria will bail out something from the home team. I'll go full sellout and get myself thrown out of the country.

     

    Lincoln Continental - B+

     

    I don't want to like this car, and I really kind of don't, but every time I see it... I think for once Lincoln has a deep understanding of what its customers want. Lincoln cannot possibly serve its customers as the "me too" sporty sedan. It can't. They've figured out that having ultra-luxury level features such as 30 way power seats, hi-fi Harman Audio, liberal use of cow-hide is their way forward. They put their money into a fine interior when they didn't have the money for an exclusive platform. That's probably a smart thing to do, customers look at the inside and exterior more than the dirty underneath bits. Building relationships with their customers - that is important too. Serve the customer. I'll call it the 'be the Butler strategy.'

     

    The Raptor- It's just a pass/fail option for this car. And it passes because its only competition are concepts from these days and days past.

     

    Everything else I agree with William's grades assignments.

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    All A's report card from a GM site.

    Shocking, I know.

     

     

    And for the record, the Raptor is all new, in it's second generation of having a crew cab, and GM has NOTHING to compete with it still.

     

    Really?! Really.. Sure I gave seven As on the report card, but only three were GMs. The rest were Chrysler, Infiniti, Lexus, and Volvo. How does this make me bias to GM?

     

    And your second point, the Raptor isn't all new. They showed it off last year. Sure the supercrew is all new, but the fact Ford didn't give any power numbers or show off some interesting new feature is why it got an incomplete.

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    Buick Avista: Circlejerkery for a car that will never, ever, ever, ever be built. 4/10

     

    Continental: Equally as milquetoast as the breakfast sharing its name. Should be called the 'Lincoln Flyover State' because ain't nobody stopping for that. 4/10

     

    Acadia: GM's cultural appropriation bent endures, by continuing the Acadia name without any reverence for the Acadian culture. GM should make the dash cluster half Francophone as a start. Still not as bad as the free blankets some Pontiac dealers distributed with Aztek tent packages. 4/10

     

    Raptor SuperCrew: SuperCompensation. 4/10

     

    Nissan Titan Warrior: Reliable SuperCompensation. 4/10

    Honda Ridgeline: Dudebro's appreciate the clean design inviting customization and the box speakers, ensuring your next outdoor event will be thoroughly ruined. 4/10

    Chrysler Pacifica: Stylish suburban spawn-schlepper with copious room for even more spawn. Gives parents the illusion of class while carting around their little bundles of bad decisions. Will become ground zero for missing french fries and feckless, entitled lower-middle income suburban white males. 4/10

    Tesla: Not sharing space with the trash above. 10/10

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    Acura Precision Concept: Fail

    I'm actually liking Acura's current design language for the ILX and TLX, as well as the NSX (which I'm skeptical will ever be released). This hideous abortion looks like Lexus was tasked with refreshing the ZDX. Just stahp.

     

    2016 BMW M2: A

    Good to see BMW taking a break from the endless variants, 4-door coupes, and crossover sedan coupe monstrosities to build something genuinely appealing to enthusiasts in the way the best M3 used to do.

     

    Buick Avista Concept: –

    It's not a fail because it looks good, it has a great chassis, and solid powertrain. I just don't get it. It makes no sense for Buick and it will never reach production. Build the f@#king Avenir and stop toying with my emotions.

     

    2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback: A-

    This exceeded my expectations as far as design. I'd love to see it in a non-embarrassing color. The only thing it lacks is a compelling drivetrain or sport model, the new 1.4T is adequate but lacks lust or excitement. GM needs a performance car below the Camaro, this has the potential.
     

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica: A

    Very impressive minivan. I have no interest in this segment, but it looks good and is quite innovative.

     

    2017 Ford Fusion: B

    Underwhelming refresh, glad it looks less Aston than before. The sport will be a great car for the money, but speaks volumes about Ford's true lack of devotion to set Lincoln apart in a meaningful way.

     

    2017 Ford Raptor SuperCrew: Incomplete

    I agree with the incomplete assessment. Drop the specs already! Looks awesome.

     

    2017 Genesis G90: B

    Glad Hyundai spun off a luxury brand to build a reputation. Exterior is decent, interior is impressive. I still doubt their ability to build a luxury competitive chassis and powertrain.

     

    2017 GMC Acadia: B+

    I think the downsize is a brilliant move with the Acadia, HOWEVER, I'm not feeling the headlight design (doesn't say GMC at all). No 8 speed, no exciting engine options, why do I get the feeling the 6-speed is a hold over for the new Ford/GM trans?

     

    2017 Honda Ridgeline: C

    Looks better and more like a truck than its predecessor. Falls woefully short of the Canyon/Colorado in any meaningful metric, and base models are now FWD.

     

    2017 Infiniti Q60: B

    Design is too over the top for me, the hitch in the c-pillar just kills it. Asian automakers are all in this over-design phase and they keep cranking out weird sh*t.

     

    Kia Telluride Concept: Fail

    What the hell were they thinking?

     

    2017 Lincoln Continental: C

    This is supposed to be Lincoln's flagship, and the return of a storied nameplate and a kickstart to Lincoln brand equity. Every little detail that didn't make it from the concept to production cheapened the car considerably IMO. I will say the seats look great. I'll reserve final judgement until the car is tested and reviewed to see if it ascends beyond its FWD roots, or if it's another MKS.

     

    2017 Lexus LC 500: B

    I'm not going to pat Lexus on the back for continuing to cram their design language down our throats. This is one of the better looking iterations, but is that really a compliment given the context? Powertrain seems to carry over from the RC-F, yawn.

     

    Nissan Titan Warrior Concept: A

    Really wish more of these details had made it to the mundane looking XD. This concept totally transforms the truck visually.

    Edited by cp-the-nerd
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    Buick Avista: You don't get a grade. You get advanced placement, you're off to battle school, and your grades are so good you make the Xenocide, Ender Wiggin, irrelevant. This is a car that would, quite frankly, upset the power balance in the GM portfolio, and a car like this would really shake Cadillac ATS to the bone.

     

     

     

    Not at all. The ATS, for one, is in its last two years.. this Buick wouldn't be intro'ed til around 2018. As gorgeous as it is.. the CT3(?) is gonna be taking on the Elmiraj design language, as the current one is more in line with the Ciel. The other thing is that this is SPORTY... exclusively so. Its like comparing a 911 to a Panamera. Different purposes, even in coupe form.

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    All A's report card from a GM site.

    Shocking, I know.

     

     

    And for the record, the Raptor is all new, in it's second generation of having a crew cab, and GM has NOTHING to compete with it still.

     

    Really?! Really.. Sure I gave seven As on the report card, but only three were GMs. The rest were Chrysler, Infiniti, Lexus, and Volvo. How does this make me bias to GM?

     

    And your second point, the Raptor isn't all new. They showed it off last year. Sure the supercrew is all new, but the fact Ford didn't give any power numbers or show off some interesting new feature is why it got an incomplete.

     

     

    Why?

     

    Because the Raptor is all new and never seen before, except as a concept, same as the Continental, which you gave a B-.  And your reasoning for giving Raptor an incomplete, was that you said there are no power numbers, yet there are, 'albeit not finalized at '450/450.'  So hardly a reason for an incomplete, IMO.  And you simply complained about the price of Fusion, completely ignoring the new Sport which is rare in this segment of mundane family movers.  BTW, final power numbers are not revealed their as well, only estimates, so perhaps you should change that to incomplete as well.  Hey, I recognize it is no Cruze hatchback, good for an A, but I digress. 

     

    And don't be ashamed of having a bit of a bias, we all have it.

    Edited by Wings4Life
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    Wings why are you on uber defense mode?

     

    Drew already said that the CT6 and Conti are about evenly matched given what you get with both, and what we know or expect the pricing structure to be for both.

     

    And Casa, it's okay, I'd buy the Camaro over the ATS or CT3 too. And not because I'd save a helluva lot of money AND get the better looking coupe, get a better infotainment system, but because you can get the same V8 as GM's performance flagship, and I could also be satisfied that more competent drivers than I could run circles around a V Series ATS or CT3.

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    Was it really like a big-time debut thing where they dimmed the lights, and paraded the thing out?

     

    Or was it just:

     

    "here's the new thingamabobber!!! Oh yeah, everything else in this segment is a n00b!!!"

     

    "They are the weakest links. Goodbye!"

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    My apologies to the OP for my remarks on your assessment of the show, as I honestly felt that Ford/Lincoln had a better showing than was represented here with your report card.

     

    This is a subjective thread after all, and not my place to challenge.

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    Wings why are you on uber defense mode?

     

    Drew already said that the CT6 and Conti are about evenly matched given what you get with both, and what we know or expect the pricing structure to be for both.

     

    And Casa, it's okay, I'd buy the Camaro over the ATS or CT3 too. And not because I'd save a helluva lot of money AND get the better looking coupe, get a better infotainment system, but because you can get the same V8 as GM's performance flagship, and I could also be satisfied that more competent drivers than I could run circles around a V Series ATS or CT3.

    U're entitled to buy whatcha like... Me? I would take the current ATS V hands down over the mighty Camaro and the LT1. The LF4 is simply too good and the Cadillac only lacks in terms of gauges versus the Chevy due to DOB. CT3 will rectify quite a few things.

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    My apologies to the OP for my remarks on your assessment of the show, as I honestly felt that Ford/Lincoln had a better showing than was represented here with your report card.

     

    This is a subjective thread after all, and not my place to challenge.

    Yet U did. Ford had the Continental debut.. IMO.. Boring. As a luxury lover, there is nothing that inspires me to want to buy that car. U are making such HoopLa over... I assume U have one on order?

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    My apologies to the OP for my remarks on your assessment of the show, as I honestly felt that Ford/Lincoln had a better showing than was represented here with your report card.

     

    This is a subjective thread after all, and not my place to challenge.

    Yet U did. Ford had the Continental debut.. IMO.. Boring. As a luxury lover, there is nothing that inspires me to want to buy that car. U are making such HoopLa over... I assume U have one on order?

     

     

    Let it go casa.

    Let it go.

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    My apologies to the OP for my remarks on your assessment of the show, as I honestly felt that Ford/Lincoln had a better showing than was represented here with your report card.

     

    This is a subjective thread after all, and not my place to challenge.

    Yet U did. Ford had the Continental debut.. IMO.. Boring. As a luxury lover, there is nothing that inspires me to want to buy that car. U are making such HoopLa over... I assume U have one on order?

     

    Let it go casa.

    Let it go.

    Right. If it makes U feel better... I at least like the effort

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      Event Chairman Doug North noted that the M1 Concourse was envisioned as part of the 2021 Motor Bella activities, so it was "a natural progression" to build upon it in light of the growing demand for experiential mobility shows and an increased appetite for outdoor events as a result of the pandemic. Motor Bella was originally conceived as a celebration of Italian and British supercars and classic vehicles and was to have debuted at the June 2020 NAIAS.
      "With our new program for 2021, we will take the Motor Bella concept to the next level with multiple brands and mobilities represented, from hometown to international nameplates, autonomous vehicles to high-performance supercars and everything in between," North said. "It will be a mobility-filled event. One that will provide our show partners with a cost-efficient backdrop to share all of their brands, products and technologies in a fun and festival-like atmosphere that's completely outdoors." 
      Jordan Zlotoff, CEO of M1 Concourse, said, "We are proud and honored to be hosting this world-class automotive event. Motor Bella will allow journalists, industry executives and the public to interact with vehicles in a fully dynamic and experiential format, well beyond the limitations of static displays. As the largest Private Garage community in the world, we at M1 Concourse share the enthusiasm for creating a unique automotive environment built specifically for car enthusiasts."
      North added, "We see this outdoor experience at M1 as a bridge to the future. One that will continue to evolve as we explore new ways of presenting mobility and as we navigate through these unprecedented times. We are very cognizant of the importance and impact our show and our events have on the state and the entire metro Detroit area. This will always be part of our considerations for the future."
      Dates for the 2021 Motor Bella are: 
      Press Preview, Tuesday, Sept. 21 AutoMobili-D, Tuesday, Sept. 21 through a half-day Thursday, Sept. 23 Industry Preview, Wednesday, Sept. 22 and a half-day Thursday, Sept. 23 Public Show, Thursday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 26
      View full article
    • By William Maley
      It has not been an easy go for the organizers of the Detroit Auto Show. Last year, they had to cancel the revamped show due to concerns about the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The hope was to launch the indoor-outdoor event that would sprawl various parts of Detroit for 2021. But with COVID-19 still a major issue, organizers this afternoon announced the 2021 version would be canceled.
      Automotive News reports that a new, outdoor program called Motor Bella will take its place from September 21st to 26th at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac - about 40 minutes north of Detroit. The new program "will bring next-generation mobility and exciting vehicle debuts to media, show-goers and the automotive enthusiasts," according to a statement released by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) - the organizers of the show. Plans are to have "1.6 million square feet of dynamic vehicle and technology display space," along with the 1.5-mile road course for technology and vehicle demonstrations.
      “The pandemic has caused changes in our society and world in ways not previously imagined, and we all should be looking for new and highly creative ways of doing business. This new event captures that creative spirit. It will provide new mobility experiences and increasingly innovative approaches to tapping into the industry and its products," said Rod Alberts, executive director of DADA.
      Motor Bella was originally planned to be a festival for European supercars that would take place with the updated Detroit Auto Show. 
      "With our new program for 2021, we will take the Motor Bella concept to the next level with multiple brands and mobilities represented, from hometown to international nameplates, autonomous vehicles to high-performance supercars, and everything in between, It will be a mobility-filled event. One that will provide our show partners with a cost-efficient backdrop to share all of their brands, products and technologies in a fun and festival-like atmosphere that's completely outdoors," said event chairman Doug North.
      There are some big questions that face organizers. Will they be able to get the revamped Detroit Auto Show launched for 2022, or will Motor Bella take the place? Plus, will COVID-19 be a point where all of us can go this event safely?
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), DADA

      New All-Outdoor Motor Bella at M1 Creates Bridge to the Future While North American International Auto Show Pauses for 2021
      TROY, Mich. – (January 11, 2021) – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) today announced it will not hold its 2021 auto show as planned. Instead, show officials revealed a "bridge to the future" with an auto-centric event called Motor Bella.
      The new event will bring next-generation mobility and exciting vehicle debuts to media, show-goers and the automotive enthusiasts' world in a never before experienced way while also addressing continued COVID-19 concerns about indoor events.
      Motor Bella will be held from Sept. 21-26, 2021, at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Mich. Centrally located in the metro Detroit area, M1 Concourse, often referred to as an "87-acre playground for auto enthusiasts," enables exhibitors to showcase key vehicles and technologies in an outdoor setting.
      Plans call for 1.6 million square feet of dynamic vehicle and technology display space including terrain ideal for showcasing off-roading capabilities. M1 Concourse also offers a 1.5-mile hot track on the grounds for technology and vehicle demonstrations.
      "The pandemic has caused changes in our society and world in ways not previously imagined, and we all should be looking for new and highly creative ways of doing business," said Executive Director Rod Alberts. "This new event captures that creative spirit. It will provide new mobility experiences and increasingly innovative approaches to tapping into the industry and its products."
      Alberts said attendees can expect a multi-sensory experience at the new event. "This all-outdoor venue, with adrenaline-pumping track activities and a full complement of OEM and technology exhibits, is going to offer the sights, sounds and even the smell of all that the new world of mobility has to offer." 
      As auto shows around the world are being reimagined and will continue to do so in the wake of the pandemic, NAIAS had been reimagining its position for some time.
      "While auto shows remain an important platform to promote new mobility innovations and to help people make major vehicle purchase decisions, the traditional auto show model is changing," Alberts said. "We cannot ignore the major disruptions caused by the pandemic and the impact it has had on budgets. As such, we will be providing an amazing experience to the media, the auto industry and the public in a cost-effective way."
      Event Chairman Doug North noted that the M1 Concourse was envisioned as part of the 2021 Motor Bella activities, so it was "a natural progression" to build upon it in light of the growing demand for experiential mobility shows and an increased appetite for outdoor events as a result of the pandemic. Motor Bella was originally conceived as a celebration of Italian and British supercars and classic vehicles and was to have debuted at the June 2020 NAIAS.
      "With our new program for 2021, we will take the Motor Bella concept to the next level with multiple brands and mobilities represented, from hometown to international nameplates, autonomous vehicles to high-performance supercars and everything in between," North said. "It will be a mobility-filled event. One that will provide our show partners with a cost-efficient backdrop to share all of their brands, products and technologies in a fun and festival-like atmosphere that's completely outdoors." 
      Jordan Zlotoff, CEO of M1 Concourse, said, "We are proud and honored to be hosting this world-class automotive event. Motor Bella will allow journalists, industry executives and the public to interact with vehicles in a fully dynamic and experiential format, well beyond the limitations of static displays. As the largest Private Garage community in the world, we at M1 Concourse share the enthusiasm for creating a unique automotive environment built specifically for car enthusiasts."
      North added, "We see this outdoor experience at M1 as a bridge to the future. One that will continue to evolve as we explore new ways of presenting mobility and as we navigate through these unprecedented times. We are very cognizant of the importance and impact our show and our events have on the state and the entire metro Detroit area. This will always be part of our considerations for the future."
      Dates for the 2021 Motor Bella are: 
      Press Preview, Tuesday, Sept. 21 AutoMobili-D, Tuesday, Sept. 21 through a half-day Thursday, Sept. 23 Industry Preview, Wednesday, Sept. 22 and a half-day Thursday, Sept. 23 Public Show, Thursday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 26
    • By William Maley
      The coronavirus has caused a number of auto shows to either be pushed back (New York) or cancelled (Geneva). Add another show to the list as the Detroit Free Press is reporting tonight at the Detroit Auto Show has been cancelled.
      In a memo that was sent to sponsors today, organizers of the show said that the TCF Center (formally known as Cobo Hall) has been designated as field hospital by Federal Emergency Management Administration [FEMA] for the next six months.
      "The health and welfare of the citizens of Detroit and Michigan is paramount. TCF Center is the ideal location for this important function at this critical and unprecedented time,” NAIAS executive director Rod Albert wrote in the memo obtained by the Free Press.
      The news was confirmed by ABC affiliate WXYZ after speaking with the chair of the 2020 show, Doug North.
      "The North American International Auto Show is officially canceled. TCF is working with FEMA to use the center to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak," said North.
      Ford and General Motors also confirmed the cancellation to The Detroit News.
      Michigan is becoming one of the hardest hit states with COVID-19. State officials announced today that there are 4,650 confirmed cases and 111 deaths linked to COVID-19. Wayne County, where the show takes place has the highest numbers of the state - 2,316 confirmed cases and 46 deaths.
      This was going to be a big year for the Detroit Auto Show with the move to the summer. Plans included rides and drives; an off-road course, and demonstration of autonomous vehicles.
      Source: Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, WXYZ

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The coronavirus has caused a number of auto shows to either be pushed back (New York) or cancelled (Geneva). Add another show to the list as the Detroit Free Press is reporting tonight at the Detroit Auto Show has been cancelled.
      In a memo that was sent to sponsors today, organizers of the show said that the TCF Center (formally known as Cobo Hall) has been designated as field hospital by Federal Emergency Management Administration [FEMA] for the next six months.
      "The health and welfare of the citizens of Detroit and Michigan is paramount. TCF Center is the ideal location for this important function at this critical and unprecedented time,” NAIAS executive director Rod Albert wrote in the memo obtained by the Free Press.
      The news was confirmed by ABC affiliate WXYZ after speaking with the chair of the 2020 show, Doug North.
      "The North American International Auto Show is officially canceled. TCF is working with FEMA to use the center to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak," said North.
      Ford and General Motors also confirmed the cancellation to The Detroit News.
      Michigan is becoming one of the hardest hit states with COVID-19. State officials announced today that there are 4,650 confirmed cases and 111 deaths linked to COVID-19. Wayne County, where the show takes place has the highest numbers of the state - 2,316 confirmed cases and 46 deaths.
      This was going to be a big year for the Detroit Auto Show with the move to the summer. Plans included rides and drives; an off-road course, and demonstration of autonomous vehicles.
      Source: Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, WXYZ
    • By William Maley
      This year was to be the final Detroit Auto Show to take place in January before the big move to an indoor/outdoor festival of sorts next June. Despite a number of manufacturers announcing they would not be at the show, there was some hope for there be to a surprise. Something that would allow the current incarnation of the show to go out with a bang.
      That did not happen.
      It was thought that Chevrolet would roll out the long-awaited and rumored mid-engined Corvette. But those hopes would be dashed as rumors came out that the project would be delayed up to six months due to a problem with the electrical system. It also gave Toyota a sigh of relief as the Supra wouldn’t be overshadowed by the Corvette - see the Ford GT eating up the attention from the Acura NSX a few years back.
      Even with the anticipation of the Supra coming to Detroit, there was nothing that could be described as being memorable. Most of the vehicles that were revealed seemed to be somewhat phoned in.
      We knew a lot about the Supra including how it would look and what would power it before it arrived on stage. CEO Akio Toyoda actually mentioned in the press conference that it was “one of the industry’s worst kept secrets.” The refreshed Volkswagen Passat was eclipsed by news that a second plant and 1,000 jobs would be added at Chattanooga, along with becoming a sponsor for U.S. Women’s, Men’s, and Youth National teams. Infiniti’s QX Inspiration concept didn’t actually appear at the presentation. It was stuck in the lobby of Cobo Hall due to some sort of malfunction.
        The announcement talking about Ford and Volkswagen’s new alliance? The stage appearance was canceled late on Monday. Instead, we got a conference call and press release providing the details. The big talking point at the show wasn’t about the show. Over the weekend, a water main broke which put most of Downtown Detroit under a boil water advisory. This caused a lot of headaches for visiting media and automotive executives as would have to use bottled water to brush their teeth or wash their hair (this was something I heard a few people mentioned on the show floor). Luckily, I saw this new before heading down to the show and brought a couple liters of water with me to use for tea and brushing my teeth.
      But the water main break serves as a good metaphor for this year’s Detroit Auto Show. It felt a bit discombobulated with a number of manufacturers being MIA and organizers trying to figure out what to do. There was also a noticeable lack of energy surrounding the show. Going into the media center at Cobo, I was expecting to be filled with various journalists and other media. To my surprise, it looked and felt the second day of the show where there was a surprising amount of open space to sit down and begin working. Being on the show floor was the same story. I was amazed at how easily I was able to get photos of cars that had been unveiled only 20 to 30 minutes without having to fight a number of people to get a decent shot.
      There is a lot riding on the move to June next year with organizers planning something like the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K. There promises to be the ability to ride and drive various new vehicles, self-driving vehicles being demonstrated on public roads, “dynamic vehicle debuts,” and much more. A number of automakers and executives have praised this move.
      "I always thought it made sense for Detroit to showcase itself when the weather's nice. All the international press comes here in perhaps our worst weather month of the year. I don't know how many rodeos we can have coming down the street in January,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford earlier this week.
      I wished that shared the same enthusiasm as a number of people with the show moving to June. Call me skeptical or cynical, but I get the feeling that the move will not solve the issue that face a number of automakers; making the case to spend the money to attend another show. A recent piece in Wards Auto says it costs more than million dollars to hold a 25-minute press conference according to sources.
      “…due to exorbitant rates for sound and video production, lighting, drayage, special effects, food, drink and union labor to set up chairs, lay carpet and build ramps for drive-on vehicle unveilings.”
      The past few years have seen more and more automakers hold their own events off-site as they are not only cheaper but allows them to control the message.
      “We can go and create an atmosphere on Sunday night at the Garden Theater for less money and for what we think is an equal or better return on our investment,” said Terry Rhadigan, executive director of communications at General Motors to Wards Auto.
      I think back to a conversation I had last year on the show floor with a friend. I was mentioning how I was feeling somewhat bored and he asked how many Detroit Auto Shows I had attended.
      “I think this is my fourth or fifth,” I said.
      He paused for a moment before saying that was usually around the time someone begins to feel burnt out and wanting something exciting to happen. This popped into my head while walking around the show on Monday as nothing really grabbed my attention in terms of new debuts. There were some bright spots such as Kia Stinger GT police vehicle from Australia and the Toyota Yaris WRC on the show floor. But aside from these and few other vehicles, I felt a bit down. Maybe I had grown weary of the show itself and the noticeable departures of various automakers only compounded it. Or maybe this was the manifestation of a trend that the auto show I had come to know was coming to an end and was only beginning to realize it.
      2020 will be an interesting year to say in the least as organizers begin a new chapter in the auto show’s legacy. Whether it works out or not remains to be seen.
      Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears

      View full article
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