The annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit is North America’s premiere car show for OEM manufacturers. The largest show of its kind in North American, this event is a major date that is circled on the calendars of car enthusiasts, industry professionals, and journalists from around the world. At this year’s show, over 50 new cars were unveiled to the world. Our day began bright and early at Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings and the site of Ford’s highly anticipated press conference.
2016 Ford GT
When Ford resurrected the Ford GT in 2005, it was an instant hit, as it was a throwback to the cult favourite GT40 that owned the podium at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race. In fact, the two vehicles looked so similar from the outside, to the untrained eye, one might not be able to tell the difference. However in today’s world of supercars, with Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and MacLarens turning heads on city streets, let’s just say that Ford GT wasn’t exactly a neck breaker. This changes in 2016, as Ford radically redesigned the GT from bumper to bumper, both inside and out. As one of the biggest stories to emerge from the 2015 NAIAS, the 2016 Ford GT mid-engined, rear wheel drive supercar features a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 that will deliver 600 horsepower.
— Dennis Pang (@DennisPang) January 12, 2015
Boasting a lightweight carbon-fiber body and aluminum subframes, this supercar will deliver extraordinary performance and efficiency. Slated for production in 2016, this flagship vehicle will available and sold in limited quantities worldwide. I absolutely love the sleek body lines and aggressive styling, and I mean this in the most flattering way when I say it looks like an American Lamborghini. Although prices haven’t been announced yet, you can expect the price tag to be somewhere around $200,000 USD.
2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang
Ford also took the wraps off of their 2016 Shelby GT350R Mustang. This muscle car is a stripped down version of the GT350 that was recently unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show. This car sports carbon-fiber wheels and was built for the racetrack, and you won’t find any rear seats, stereo system, air conditioning, or even floor mats in this car.
It’s not American muscle if it doesn’t sport a V8, and this one does, equipped with a 5.2-litre flat-plane crank, delivering over 500 horsepower to the rear wheels and 400 pounds-feet of torque. You can be sure that this will be a popular car amongst muscle car and Mustang enthusiasts.
2017 F-150 Raptor
After announcing that their F-150 pickup had just won the prestigious North American Truck of the Year award at the Detroit Auto Show, Ford unveiled a new version of their F-150 Raptor high-performance, off-road pickup. With a steel frame underneath the same aluminum body shared by the F-150, the Raptor weighs 500 pounds less than the F-150. Featuring a 3.5-litre twin turbo EcoBoost V-6 engine that produces over 411 horsepower, your trips to Home Depot and IKEA will never be the same again.
2016 Lincoln MKX
Lincoln is of course Ford’s luxury vehicle division, and they shared some of the spotlight as well, by unveiling their new 2016 Lincoln MKX, which is mid-size premium crossover SUV built on the Ford Flex platform. The new MKX comes equipped with a lot of Ford’s latest technologies and innovations, including an adjustable lift gate system, massaging front seats, a 22-way power thigh extender, anti-collision self braking technology, and self-parking capabilities. Having driven the MKC and the MKZ before, I am already quite familiar with the level of sophistication and refinement that Lincoln vehicles offer, and it looks like the same holds true with the MKX.
Ford Digital Summit
In addition to previewing the show ahead of the public, we were also there for Ford’s 2nd annual Digital Summit. It was held inside Ford’s VIP section at the auto show called Behind the Blue Oval. It featured bars, presentation and interview areas, mobile charging stations, and interactive displays. There were several amazing keynote speeches and panels featuring some of the brightest leaders in the digital, online, tech, and gaming space.
I sat in on the ‘Make Way for Gen Z’ presentation, as Emily White, Chief Operating Officer of Snapchat, shared insights on how Generation Z consumes social media, and how they’re helping to define the digital trends of today and tomorrow.
Left: We even had an informal meet and greet with Ford CEO Mark Fields, who welcomed us and discussed the company’s philosophy and mission of using performance to drive innovation. This is clearly evident in the 4 Ford vehicles which debuted at NAIAS. Right: A lot of Ford brass was in attendance including William Clay Ford Jr., the great-grandson of Henry Ford and the executive chairman of Ford, who was interviewed at the Sirius XM lounge.
Ford really knocked it out of the park at the 2015 NAIAS, and they clearly stood several notches above their other two ‘Big 3’ American competitors. And thanks to Ford Canada for hosting me. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for next year.