Mobility Showcase – The Detroit Auto Show 2016
American auto industry, after concluding 2015 with a record-breaking sales of 17.4 million vehicles, is ready to celebrate the success, and to anticipate another great year in 2016. This exuberance was evident at the annual Automotive News’ World Congress (AutoNews.com) and the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS.com) held in Detroit, Michigan during January 11 – 24, 2016.
The recently renovated and expanded (760,000 sq. ft.) Detroit venue featured over 750 vehicles and countless interactive displays, costing exhibitors some $250 million. The NAIAS is North America’s largest and most prestigious automotive showcase, where attendees see up-close the vehicles and technologies that will shape the future automotive landscape. From muscle and electric cars, to high-performance supercars and full-size trucks, NAIAS has something for everyone to enjoy.
President Obama took time to visit the show, no doubt to remind the American public that it was his administration that bailed Chrysler and GM out of bankruptcy just a few years ago!
Forget about engine displacement and horsepower stats! The main theme at this year’s show is mobility with connectivity, as confirmed by Mark Fields, Ford CEO, who said “we are a mobility company.”
According to him, the conventional automotive market is estimated to be $2.3 trillion annual revenue, while the entire mobility market is estimated at $5.4 trillion and Ford plans to get a share of this entire mobility market.
With rapidly advancing technology, and changing consumer wants and needs, the auto industry leaders use this venue to give us a glimpse of how they are guiding their companies. Fortunately, virtually all automakers are ahead of the curve in their research and development of advanced safety technologies. For example, Toyota recently introduced new packages of advanced safety components called Toyota Safety Sense and Lexus Safety System Plus designed to:
Prevent or mitigate rear-end collisions (automatic emergency braking)
; Help keep vehicle in its lane and enhance road safety at night.
Changing Customer Wants
Auto companies recognise that American demographics is changing and that makes planning for the future complicated. At present, there are over 40 million seniors, age 65+, and their number is growing at a much faster pace than the overall increase in population. Over 80 per cent of these seniors live in car-dependent urban and rural areas with no public transportation. An increasing number of disabled persons are getting into workforce and need suitable transportation.
A new ownership trend – ride-share and partial ownership – is emerging. Automakers are also becoming aware that a new relationship is developing between people and cars – how consumers around the world want cars to fit their lives. Donna Satterfield, IBM Americas Vice President for Automotive, Aerospace & Defense segment said, at the World Congress, “Gone are the days when people take care of their cars – Now they want cars to take care of them.” She reported the findings of a survey of 16,469 consumers in the top 16 automotive markets detailing their changing views on mobility. The question asked was “What self-enabling vehicle capabilities would interest you in the future”? More than half indicated desire for capabilities like self-diagnosing, self-healing, self-driving (autonomous, self-driving), and more significantly, seamless communication with other vehicles and personal devices.
All these features are going to need an open-platform software architecture and hardware for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and other emerging technologies. Although the software on a connected vehicle could be updated easily, two concerns remain – hacking and the hardware itself becoming obsolete toward the end of the car’s life-cycle. Connected cars will offer advance traffic conditions, emergency calling, roadside assistance, remote diagnostics, driver monitoring, and stolen vehicle tracking, to mention a just few.
If you feel that the auto industry is changing rapidly, you are not alone. Fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride!
The NAIAS show saw two weeks of industry-shaping reveals on its world stag, with over 800,000 car fans walking in through Cobo Center’s doors.
There were 61 vehicle introductions with nearly 90 per cent of them being worldwide reveals.
The show has an estimated economic impact of $430 million to the regional economy, up $30 million from the previous year.
“The auto show is something everyone in this region should be extremely proud of,” said Paul Sabatini, 2016 NAIAS Chairman. “The$430 million in economic impact is nearly equivalent to having two Super Bowls in Detroit every year, a truly astounding figure when you stop and think about it.”
Now in its 28th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place. Administered by Executive Director Rod Alberts, the NAIAS is one of the largest media events in North America, and the only auto show in the United States to earn an annual distinguished sanction of the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles, the Paris-based alliance of automotive trade associations and manufacturers from around the world.