Ford Wins the Detroit Auto Show
This year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit was different than a lot of the auto shows before it. There was tons of positive energy, a lot of great announcements, and a focus on performance over green technologies.
Yes, there was a green element with the new Chevy Volt, but this show was all about the horsepower. When it came to the horsepower announcements, the Ford press conference won the day and took the wind out of the sales of everyone else.
I thought Ford was going to punk us. Each press conference is approximately 25 minutes long, and we were nearly 15 minutes into the Ford event at Joe Louis Arena and Mark Fields was still talking about connected mobility.
We suspected three performance vehicle announcements, thanks to leaks of the floor plans. But as time was ticking away, I could sense the journalists around me getting anxious.
But all is well. Mark Fields introduced the 2017 Ford Raptor to applause. Raj Nair rode in a powersliding Shelby GT350R onto the stage, and then finished it off with an awesome intro video and the Ford GT driving out onto stage. Those three announcements collectively took the wind out of the sails of every other Detroit announcement, including the NSX.
I knew a Ford GT was coming, but it looked so much better than I anticipated that I’m pretty sure I said wow out loud. It looked so much better than what I think people were expecting.
Even though the Ford GT is a concept, both Mark Fields and Bill Ford said that they’re putting it into production next year.
The new Shelby GT350R will be a serious track performer, taking lightweight to the extreme. Heck, the car even has carbon fiber wheels! There’s no air conditioning, no rear-view camera, no radio.
There’s nothing on the car that isn’t there to make the car faster around the racetrack. I can’t wait for the head-to-head comparison against the Z/28. Dodge needs to put the Challenger T/A into production.
Then there’s the Raptor. You’ll be hearing more and more about that truck in the days and weeks ahead, but I’m sure it’s a truck that we are all waiting for.
Walking around Cobo Center I overheard a lot of difference conversations going on. Almost all of them at least made reference to the Ford press announcements. Since it was so early on Monday morning, Ford was able to control the news all day, even in spite of the Acura NSX announcement.
It’s like going to an amusement park and riding the biggest, fastest, most exciting roller coaster first. You’ll have fun the rest of the day riding the other rides, but it won’t be as fulfilling as the first ride of the day.
That’s not to say the other rides aren’t any good; the Raptor is my favorite ride at Cedar Point even if the Millennium Force is taller and faster. That’s how it felt after the Ford press conference at NAIAS. That’s the reason why Ford won the show.
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