Last January, I had the privilege of attending NAIAS 2016 (North American International Auto Show) in Detroit, Michigan for the first time. This past month, I was again invited by Ford to visit Motor City and was able to hear about the big news announcements in person. The company never ceases to surprise me.
Discovering Car Trends at Ford Field
Of course, Ford is always a hospitable host. Before the show officially began, our group was treated to a private event at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. First, Sheryl Connelly shared some automotive trends to look out for in 2016. Ford realizes that the “one size fits all” model actually fits no one, especially among echo boomers / millennials. The company is also focusing on the experience long-time customers are looking for and catering to that.
After dinner, we then had a tour of the locker rooms (which were empty since the season is over), learned about the elite VIP club, and spent some time on the field.
I even got to try my hand (or my foot, rather) at kicking a field goal. I didn’t make it and was waaaayyyyy off but at least I got some good air.
Plus, it was kind of cool to be featured on the Jumbo-tron 😛
Ford Announcements at NAIAS 2016
Okay, back to business. The next day, we headed to Cobo Hall for the big news. Ryan Seacrest hosted the mini panel with Mark Fields and Bill Ford. Ford is now an automotive AND mobility company. The company realizes how things are changing as people are more reliant on being connected and the ratio of car ownership to ride sharing continues to fluctuate.
Two new lease plans are in place, one of which will allow you to use leftover credit toward the next vehicle. A new Raptor is on the way, the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew, and it was referred to as the “best yet.”
Four new Ford Fusion models are also coming soon. The 2017 lineup of Ford Fusion cars includes the Fusion V6 Sport, Fusion Platinum, Fusion Energi, and Fusion Hybrid.
Technology & More
Data and analytics are a priority at Ford. As mentioned during the Trends discussion earlier, the company is working to revolutionize the way it approaches the consumer market. Also, there has been major progress with the Ford’s research on autonomous vehicles. Testing on public roads has been approved in California, Arizona, and the simulated city at MI City. Ford is the first automaker to test in the snow though.
New FordPass is coming! For the many loyal Ford fans out there, you’re sure to like this new program. You’ll have access to rewards and be able to head into a physical store to learn about your car’s features. FordPass is divided into four categories: Ford Marketplace (buy accessories), FordGuides (help/support), Ford Appreciation (member rewards), and Ford Hubs (mobility experience centers).
As NAIAS 2016 continues, another announcement was made. Lego and Ford are working together to bring out LEGO Speed Champions. These sets will include Lego versions of for the Ford F-150, Ford GT, and Ford Model-T. These come complete with a pit crew other racing needs. I was only sad to see there were no female figures on display.