Press and industry previews were held this week at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The show, commonly referred to as the Detroit Auto Show, is one of the biggest and most important for the auto industry on an international level. The event opens to the public on January 19th, but we connected with some prominent members of the automotive media who gave us their views on what automakers had to offer this year.
Neil Winton, an automotive journalist who writes the European Perspective column for the Autos Insider section of the Detroit News, and Nathan Adlen, Senior Editor of TFLCar.com and the co-host of The Fast Lane Car, shared their expert viewpoints with iSeeCars in this Q&A.
iSeeCars: What has been the highlight of NAIAS for you so far?
Nathan Adlen (NA): The pre-show introduction of theand the Ford F150 Atlas Concept were real highlights.
Neil Winton (NW): I was impressed with how beautiful thewas, although it wasn’t quite as striking as the Converj concept.
iSeeCars: Your favorite make/model to debut so far?
NA: The Ford F150 Atlas Concept was a big surprise and we liked the Jeep intros as well.
NW: Cadillac ELR, although the Maserati Quattreporte was pretty impressive too.
iSeeCars: Your least favorite make/model to debut so far?
NA: Hyundai felt like it was a lot of hype for a vehicle that left us wanting.
NW: Infiniti Q50. More over-the-top, look-at-me design when you would think buyers in this expensive category want understated elegance.
iSeeCars: What is your favorite piece of new technology to debut at NAIAS?
NA: We were impressed with the drive/steer-by-wire steering system (and its backups) via Infiniti’s Q50.
NW: Not that this counts as new, but GM’s decision to produce the’s extended range electric technology in the Cadillac ELR is brave, and shows it has a great technology.
iSeeCars: Which technology trends of 2013 NAIAS do you see carrying through new models?
NA: Cloud storage and intuitive hands-free media interaction.
NW: Lots of manufacturers were talking about diesel, as long of course as it is “clean” diesel. … It’s hard to see how U.S. manufacturers can meet the 2025 rules on fuel economy without a big help from diesel.
iSeeCars: What has been the biggest surprise of NAIAS?
NA: There were less introductions of production models. We expected more.
NW: How drab the Ford stand looked compared with the very attractive GM area.
iSeeCars: Is there anything you are waiting to see that you have not yet?
NA: We wanted to see a larger contingent of vehicles that may or may-not be coming to the United States. Chinese and Indian vehicles that were rumored to come here would have been nice. Unfortunately, there are only a few automakers (like GAC) that made it this year.
NW: Mercedes showed its new little CLA at a press conference outside the show, then didn’t put it in Cobo.
iSeeCars: Which automaker has made the biggest (positive) turnaround and why (based on NAIAS 2013)?
NA: Nissan is putting more emphasis in their styling, which is most welcome.
NW: Kia and Hyundai showed that with their new-found style they will threaten even the Germans in the premium sector.
iSeeCars: Which automaker needs to reevaluate their strategy (based on NAIAS 2013)?
NA: General Motors. The Cadillac ELR debut was one of the most difficult for journalists to see. It was one of the worst pavilions and it forced about 50-percent of the journalists to see the backs of a few VIP journalists (and nothing else) during the press conference. Some journalists walked off with no story rather upset.
NW: Looking at the Lincoln stand, you have to wonder just where this brand is going, particularly as it is charged with being successful globally to have a long-term future. Is there some new Lincoln on the cards which will succeed in Europe, where fuel economy comes first, even in the luxury category?
iSeeCars: Anything you would like to add?
NA: This year has been the best for the overall media experience.
NW: As 2013 progresses, I’ll shall be visiting the Tesla owners web site to see how owners of the Model S are doing. Tesla’s claims for battery range are very impressive, but it turns out all the data was established at an average 55 mph. Just how far will a Tesla go if you cruise at say 80 mph, in other words, at a normal speed. And how far if you use the amazing performance every now and then?
Thank you to Neil Winton and Nathan Adlen for sharing their opinions and experiences from 2013 NAIAS with us. More of Neil’s work can be seen in Autos Insider in the Detroit News and Nathan’s work can be found on TFLCar.com.