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Show-goers Find Plenty Cool Tech at 2014 Auto Show

Motorists find ways to stay connected, improve safety, boost mileage.

by on Jan.24, 2014

The latest Honda Link not only accesses smartphone music apps, but even displays a new navi app on the LCD screen of the new 2015 Honda Fit.

This year’s North American International Auto Show is flirting with record attendance levels despite the intense cold that has settled over the Motor City – and that may be because show-goers have plenty of cool stuff to check out into Detroit’s sprawling Cobo Center convention hall.

There are 100s of new cars, trucks, crossovers and concept vehicles on display – including more than 50 vehicles making their debut at the 2014 NAIAS.  But for many of the visitors who’ve slogged through snow and temperatures dipping at times below zero, the big draw are the new performance, safety and infotainment features rapidly transforming the automobile into a technological showcase.

Keep on Truckin'!

This year’s Detroit auto show follows the big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and there are some notable similarities – no surprise, suggests Art St. Cyr, the head of American Honda’s automotive operations, since for many buyers, “the single most-important technology is their cellphone. They don’t want to be disconnected.”

That’s an observation more and more automakers are taking to heart.  Among the coolest new automotive technologies, many allow motorists to pair the car with their smartphones, tablets, laptop computers and other digital devices.

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Bill Ford Wants to Turn Michigan into the “Silicon Valley of Mobility”

Emphasizes benefits of “green, smart technologies.”

by on May.31, 2012

Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. believes Detroit and Michigan can shed their rust belt personna.

Can the Motor City shed its rust belt image and take on a persona more in line with high-tech communities like San Francisco, Palo Alto, California or Seattle? Yes, says Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford, who contends Michigan, as a whole, can be repositioned as the “Silicon Valley of Mobility.”

In a sense, it’s a matter of been-there-done-that.  In its heyday, in the early years of the 20th Century, Detroit was the quintessential American boom town, much like Silicon Valley is today.  It was dubbed by many the “Paris of the Midwest” because of its art, architecture and sophisticated lifestyle.  But things began to rapidly decline in the post-War years and today some old industrial sites are being converted back to farmland.

News You Can Use!

But in a speech during the annual Mackinac Policy Conference, Chairman Ford insisted continuing decline is not inevitable – especially if Detroit and Michigan embrace new “green, smart technologies.”

“To address this issue, we will once again need new technologies, as well as new ways of looking at the world.  We will need to view the automobile as one element of a transportation ecosystem,” the great-grandson of Ford founder Henry Ford declared.

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Slipping Behind, Toyota Racing to Line Up Partners

Maker shifts strategy as it seeks outside help.

by on Feb.10, 2012

Toyota is working with Tesla to bring the RAV4 EV to market later this year.

With what one jealous competitor once described as “more money than god” in its treasury, Toyota has traditionally been a company that liked to keep things in-house.  Even when it worked with outside suppliers it focused on those within its extended family, or keiretsu.

“Toyota was one of the companies that liked to do things its own way,” noted Yoshi Inaba, President and COO of Toyota Motor North America.

But that strategy is shifting fast, the senior executive acknowledged during an appearance at the Chicago Auto Show.  In a subsequent conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com, Inaba hinted there could be a “lot more” joint ventures to come in the near future.

Insight!

The maker has already lined up a number of high-profile partners – ranging from Microsoft to Intel, as well as traditional competitors, such as Ford and BMW.  In many cases, this reflects the changing nature of the auto industry, which is facing a need to ramp up its focus on high technology.  But it also suggests that Toyota might be paying the price for past hubris, thinking it could do everything on its own.

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