The 2016 Detroit show was a major source of news, with Sergio Marchionne’s annual press conference and a quick remark by Jeep chief Mike Manley confirming the Jeep Grand Cherokee Hellcat.
Sergio Marchionne’s talk filled up many column-inches in the newspapers:
Then there was the actual launch of the Chrysler Pacifica itself, including a hybrid minivan.
Oh, yes, and Bob Lutz was hawking a new car, developed under Henrik Fisker, Brian Keating, and Mr. Lutz himself, dubbed the VLF Force 1, sharing the Viper’s suspension, tuning the engine to 745 hp, and boasting a much ligher body.
The Dodge display emphasized mucle, as Patrick Rall described below, with twin Hellcats in their new stripe pattern, a couple of 392 cars, and a Plum Crazy Charger and Challenger set (note the resemblance to the new purple paint on the Alfa Romeo Giulia). The latter may have been V6 cars, with the new eight-speed.
Cobo Hall was redone, and it shows. There is more space for displays, large concourses, and overall a more dressed-up appearance for a venue that was harshly criticized by locals in the past (locals who have presumably never been to New York’s Javits Center). In the photo below, yes, that is a Chrysler 300G.
Ram had their usual consumer pickups as well as each of their two commercial vans and a nicely outfitted chassis cab. The imported ProMaster City had a bright green on white scheme; the others were plain white.
And then there was the Fiata, better known as the Fiat 124. It shares a basic chassis with the Mazda Miata but has a more powerful Fiat engine, unique tuning and appearance, and other changes.
Mopar had a fairly nice display, including Mopar-ized cars and a large number of accessories.
The show is at Cobo Hall through Saturday, January 23, 2016, from 9 am to 10 pm (no admittance after 9 pm); and on Sunday, January 24, until 7 pm (last admittance at 6 pm). Tickets are $13 for adults, $7 for adults aged 65 or older, $7 for kids from 7-12, and free for kids under seven, with a guardian.
Detroit police have a snazzy way to dress up their generation-old Charger squad cars.
The usual models were out...
... and ZF had this rather snazzy see-through display showcasing their technologies in their own stand. They were boasting of their automated driving products, including a steering wheel equipped with touch sensors (hands on/off detection), a touch display with haptic feedback, driver monitoring, and the use of mechatronics to communicate through the seat belts. They recently bolstered their portfolio by buying TRW.
On the third day, Marc returned for these photos, and NAIAS announced that it was the first auto show to launch an interactive show floor wayfinding app. Chrysler announced that on the first day they would have a host of special activities for kids and their parents.
The ever-changing “gears,” column wraps, and wallboards for the Fiat Chrysler displays used over 40 miles of cable and 11 servers, according to Automotive News, all driving 10,000 square feet of video surface — that’s 30 million LED pixels — using six programmers from a “multimillion-dollar control room.”
Was this money well spent? Automotive News quoted a market research executive as saying that the key factor in persuading a person to actually buy a car was whether they sat down in it. Many cars are kept locked, as show-goers (not particularly Detroit show-goers) tend to strip cars of knobs, badges, and other “souvenirs,” and don’t necessarily clean up before touching surfaces.
Hellcat buyers can now get matching car seats.
Also see personal impressions and reporting, Chrysler Pacifica, and 75th Anniversary Jeeps
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