Detroit auto show: New Ford and tech on display

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DETROIT (WOOD) — The 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit is providing a glimpse into the future of the automobile — a future much closer than you might think.

With typical auto show fanfare, Ford Motor Co. on Monday unveiled a new approach to building cars. The result of a seed planted six years ago, it’s changing its brand from an automotive company to an automotive and mobility company.

“I believed strongly that the auto industry was on the cusp of a revolution — the most significant one since the advent of the assembly line,” Ford Chairman Bill Ford said during the announcement at Joe Louis Arena.

Ford, which developed the assembly line and the $5 day, is now developing a new series of vehicles that will drive themselves and use electricity.

Mobility is a word popping up at a lot at the NAIAS. Autonomous vehicles are the talk at many of the displays at the Cobo Center when the show opened to the press Monday. And despite relatively low fuel costs, the industry is also pushing electric. The show’s Car of the Year is the fully electric Chevrolet Bolt, which can go more than 200 miles on a single battery charge.

Many declared the auto industry dead just a few years ago. Not so anymore.

“Boy, we’ve climbed a large mountain We’ve had several years of year over year sales increases,” IHS Auto Industry analyst Mike Wall said. “Auto suppliers and automakers alike have really regained that profitability to invest in their business, and that’s really manifested here when we see the stands and some of these new vehicles and that technology we talked about.”

While technology may sell, it seems automakers haven’t lost sight of what drives most of us to the auto show and hopefully the showroom floor –like the new skin for the 2018 Chevy Traverse, a mid-sized SUV.

“A lot of this autonomous and even electric vehicles is still a little further down the pipe. And let’s face it: We need to sell cars now and automakers are really having to balance this,” Wall explained.—–Online: North American International Auto Show

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