Until recently, the North American International Auto Show in Detroit was the place to be in early January for the latest automotive technology. It was the touch point for the pulse of the auto industry.
Now, however, the place to find out what’s coming for cars — especially in terms of connectivity and autonomy — is CES, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show. It’s held in Las Vegas the week before the Detroit show. Nine automakers will take part in CES 2016.
The spectacular Ford GT supercar, which will be built by Multimatic in Markham, Ont. , has been named the Official Vehicle of CES 2016.
“Ford was the first automaker to have a significant presence at CES nine years ago, and we are proud to continue that legacy of innovation in 2016,” said Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Co.
Fields said that as the company moves ahead with its Ford Smart Mobility plan, “CES is the perfect venue for sharing news on our efforts to change the way the world moves and provide new solutions in the areas of connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and data and analytics.”
The Ingolstadt-based automaker has been a fixture at CES since 2011, making a grand entrance last year with its A7 Piloted Driving concept. The vehicle had just completed an autonomous 880 km drive from San Francisco to Vegas.
This year, the brand with the four rings will display another concept car and address the latest trends, technologies and products in the areas of infotainment, as well as electrification and lighting technology. There will also be a public Audi Tech Talk where the company’s technology experts will offer an in-depth look at electronics development and answer questions about future technologies.
The company wowed attendees in 2015 when Benz head Dieter Zetsche introduced the futuristic F 015 “Luxury in Motion” autonomous concept car as part of his keynote address. Beyond its self-driving capabilities, it represented a whole new paradigm in vehicle design.
The company has kept mum on its plans for this year’s show, apart from highlighting some of the latest advances in the connected car of the future and on the road to autonomous driving. Given past performances, it’s fair to expect something dramatic from the brand with the three-pointed star. Rumours suggest a focus on in-car connectivity.
Herbert Diess, chairman of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, will be a keynote speaker at CES 2016 and the company has promised to unveil a brand new concept. The model will preview the major changes the automobile will go through in the next few years.
While that concept was rumoured to be a reprise of the earlier Bulli Microbus, the latest intelligence suggests something different. What seems to be a certainty is that it will be electric and that it will incorporate the next generation of Volkswagen’s connectivity technology. It’s said to mark the beginning of a new era of affordable long-distance electromobility.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra will also be a keynote speaker at CES 2016 and she’s expected to reveal the production version of the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, which made its debut in concept form at the 2015 North American International Auto Show.
The Bolt, which promises a driving range of about 320 km, will compete head-to-head with Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3. Both are billed to be affordable electric cars with prices close to those of the Nissan Leaf, which is currently the world’s bestselling EV.