The following article includes my experience at the 2012 North American International Auto Show. Owning an inspirational website, I seldomly focus on myself and work my butt off to bring you incredible content. Truth is, you probably don’t care what I ate for breakfast this morning. What you do care about is the educational content that is presented. Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, I only focus on sharing the best articles, pictures, inspiration, quotes, video and more.
I completely understand that cars are not present in the niche we occupy. Design, which we cover, plays as huge role in automobiles. Some think design is the way a car looks, but it’s much more than that. Hundreds if not thousands of elements go into vehicle production such as studying human interaction with vehicles, technological features, re-using recyclable materials, providing comfort, enforcing safety, experience improvement, etc.
Designing a vehicle takes sweat and tears. Acknowledging hard work of the people behind it, takes wisdom. After the experience I’ve had, I’m able to have a broader view on this automotive industry. Their innovative struggle never ends and for that I’m very thankful. Throughout the trip, I became much more appreciative of how hard other humans work to bring us the best driving experience possible.
So if you love cars and would love to see what a big press event feels like, then this article will be a great read along with your favorite beverage. I believe my experience will be inspirational to everyone. Ford Motor Company paid for my travel and accommodations during the press event. I was not compensated in any other manner for my time. Opinions posted are completely based on my opinion.
If you haven’t noticed from my recent status updates on Twitter, I recently had the pleasure to attend the North American International Auto Show and Ford Fantasy Camp in Detroit. As exciting as that might sound, the icing on the cake was the other bloggers, business owners, designers, and creative people who joined me. Ford invited me along with 149 digital influencers from over 16 different countries like India, Vietnam, France, South Africa, and Brazil.
I still feel glorified and blessed to have been a part of the experience. Never in my life have I had the honorable experience to meet so many intelligent individuals. Almost every single conversation included ideas of the future. Which in return, left us both pouring out our developed knowledge. Ford selected influencers in a very smart manner; they had managed to create a crowd that specialized in multiple amount of niches. Which in the end, has helped them to reach a wider global audience.
Arriving at the Motor City for the very first time, my impressions were overwhelming. Upon arriving at the ever busy Detroit Metro Airport, I was greeted by Ford representatives wo shortly after transported me to the The Henry Hotel. To be quite honest I have never been treated this nice in my entire life. Setting the new standards, every participant had a separate hotel room. Oh and how can I forget the high speed Internet….that could not overcome the 150+ people using it simultaneously. Jokes aside, it worked well under the circumstances.
Ford really thinks outside the box and realizes that traditional media is losing its ground thanks to blogging. Media cartels are getting pretty upset about this; however I’m so glad that the Internet alone has helped the average Joe to actually have their voice/opinion heard. Ford sees itself as a technology company, not just an auto company. Their different thinking has payed off in a big way, making them the king of NAIAS.
That last sentence is not my opinion, or exaggeration. According to Scott Monty, head of Ford’s Social Media, at the end of Day One about 70% of the information shared on social media about NAIAS came from us. Now get this mind-blowing statistic, we collectively managed to reach over 5 million people on that very first day. Words cannot describe how powerful Social Media really is, and not to mention more powerful than traditional auto media.
The very first day on Sunday evening, we had the honor to dine-in at the Henry Ford Museum. A nice little fact; the museum will be opened to the public on January 28th. Not going to lie, I felt pretty special to experience it prior to the official opening. The museum, entrenched in history, had the exact car John F. Kennedy was assassinated in, the chair in which Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, the first vehicles of Henry Ford, the bus that Rosa Parks rode in, and much, much more. The emotional walk throughout American history really makes you thankful for innovators and leaders that worked hard to change the world.
The morning after, we were driven to downtown Detroit for the Auto Show. While waking up at 5am might not sound pleasant to some, a few hours later I suddenly realized that it was all worth it! Getting ready for Ford’s press event, was quite an enthusiastic feeling. Since the embargo ended at midnight, I knew that cheating and searching what will be released, would contradict the whole experience for me. Ford did it bigger than everybody else, by having a completely separate arena for their press event.
Their new 2013 Ford Fusion really stole the spotlight of the entire show. The sexy car did not have an official price, but as always will be priced competitively to take down Japanese rivals like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The sedan will offer five power-plans, including a traditional Hybrid, a plug-in Hybrid and three different gasoline engines. The car looks fairly similar to an Aston Martin. If we were to switch the logos’, you would not be able to even guess that Ford made it.
Throughout the day car manufacturers would give out goodies like USB’s, bags, clothing, and other handy items all in sake of promotion. Mercedes took the simple yet smart approach by giving out large bags in which you would carry other freebies in. Basically steeling the hype from everybody else and promoting their brand throughout the show. Trying to bounce around to every single press event, I too had much interest in listening to what every CEO had to say.
We all understand the ongoing challenges that automakers face. They worry about problems like appealing to a younger audience, fuel economy, green technology, in-car technology, brand awareness, their position in the car market, global expansion, and much much more. CEOs’ focused on saying the right things, while creating promises which would entice their share price to rise. Though I don’t own any stock whatsoever, it really interested me to see what they thought was important to the consumer.
Later on that evening we had the pleasure of dining at Ford’s World Headquarters. There, people presented Ignite presentations. Ignite is a geek event in over 100 cities worldwide. At the events Ignite presenters share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes. Seeing the presenter trying to keep up with their slides was amusing.
Around 10 different individuals had a chance to present, and to be honest, I enjoyed every bit of it. On top of that, delicious food was served to us as well. Don’t know if I had mentioned this earlier, but every single day we ate like kings. It basically felt like there was a five star restaurant following us everywhere we went, providing enjoyable meals during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Ford Research Facilities
The next morning we visited Ford’s research facility. Owning so many buildings and land, Ford just should create their own city. While driving past numerous amount of parking lots, I noticed something interesting. Almost 80% of the employees have a Ford vehicle; no I did not do any sort of a scientific experiment, just a rough estimate that may be wrong. Reading this you might think it might be frowned upon to drive a competitor’s vehicle. Seeing their CEO’s interview by Joshua Topolsky at CES, Alan Mulally said himself that he drives competing vehicles all the time.
That just shows how dedicated they are to bring you the best driving experience. Being our last day there, we visited different building to see what Ford employees are hard at work on. Without boring you to death, although some might find this interesting, we visited;
- Clay Modeling Lab
- Computer Generated Design Lab
- Human Machine Interface Lab
- Green Technology Lab
- Research and Innovation Center
All Ford representatives explained their job specification/goals. We experienced things in the works, that won’t be out for years. Overall I learned a ton of info and would love to return again next year. I’ve took hundreds of photos, and picked out a few high quality ones for your viewing pleasure. The automotive industry thrives on design, and perfecting it is their everyday motive.
Ford Fusion 2013
2012 Acura NSX Concept
Audi R8 GT Spyder
2012 Bentley Continental GTC Convertible
Scion FR-S Coupe Concept
Maybach 57 S
2012 Lexus LFA
Smart Pure Coupe
2011 BMW I8 Concept
Chevrolet Tru 140S Concept
Mercedes Benz SL Class 2012
2013 E-Class Hybrid
I truly hope you enjoyed this article, and maybe learned something new. I strongly encourage everybody to go to as many events, meet-ups, and conferences as possible. Truth is, you only live once. Meeting awesome people and experiencing the world is what life is all about. For more inspirational articles don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS-feed and follow Inspirationfeed on Twitter+ Facebook! If you enjoyed the following article we humbly ask you to comment, and help us spread the word!