Here in Detroit we love our cars, so as summer turns into fall, and then winter, most of us go through a serious automotive withdrawal. That is, until January rolls around…the beginning of a new year and the start of the North American International Autoshow (NAIAS). During preview week, media and auto executives from around the world converge on downtown Detroit to see new concepts, new technologies, and to check out the competition. I had the pleasure of covering Press Preview days for Spekture this year. I thought I’d share my experience with you, the Spekture audience, and give you a behind-the-scenes look at press days.
Major luxury and exotic brands like Ferrari, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Porsche have opted to show their vehicles to a more affluent crowd during the Gallery event. The Gallery event serves as the official kick-off to NAIAS, with its $500 per ticket price tag. Attendees get to mingle amongst millions of dollars worth of luxury autos. The media had the opportunity to browse the collection of cars the morning after the event. Most of the vehicles were accessible to get in and out of with the exception of the $3.3 million Bugatti Chiron, the new Ford GT, and a few others. I walked around, sat in a few vehicles, and mingled with a few photographers I knew. One of the cool parts is hanging around until the end and watching the vehicles depart onto the freight elevator.
Monday morning was the first day of press previews, in which all OEM press conferences took place. I grabbed a snack and coffee before heading to Joe Louis Arena a bit early to secure a seat for the Ford presser. With rumors swirling about a possible return of a new Bronco, I was ready to snap a pic or two just in case an exciting Bronco concept came rolling out! I learned two years ago that Ford is good at keeping things under wraps. While at the 2015 NAIAS, Ford introduced a trio of performance vehicles in the Focus St, Mustang GT350 and Raptor. Just as I thought President Mark Fields was about to give closing remarks, a door raised and out came a car we had never seen before………enter the Ford GT. So, you can understand why most of us media folks were on edge this year, could we see a Bronco or Ranger concept? No! Ford did confirm the return of these two models, but sorry no visible concept yet.
After the Ford press conference, most journalists head back to Cobo Center to the main show floor. Once inside the show you are greeted with massive displays built and designed to reflect a particular carmaker’s brand. There were more press conferences going on at various displays throughout the day. One of the good parts of not having to provide real time web content is that I could escape the crowds during the press conferences and double back later and get images. Walking through the show, you see vloggers, photographers, world, and local media. It’s not uncommon to find industry execs being interviewed about their products. While walking through the Fiat Chrysler (FCA) display I stumbled upon the Head of Design Ralph Gilles during his interview of the recently debuted Portal concept.
NAIAS is a big show and you can wear yourself out if you don’t pace yourself! Check out the pictures from the first few days of media previews.