2018 Detroit NAIAS Show Focuses on Technology

Jan 20 2018
One Washington Blvd. Detroit, MI 48226 USA
2018 Detroit NAIAS Show Focuses on Technology

Detroit, home of the granddaddy of all auto shows, the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) put on another spectacular show in January 2018. Detroit is more than a collection of new models and concept cars, although that’s worth the price of admission by itself, it features the entire automotive ecosystem. Mobility is rapidly changing so it is only appropriate that one of the most prestigious international shows include a range of exhibitions and speaking engagements addressing the evolving transportation industry.

The 2018 event featured not only over 40 debuts and $10 million in luxury vehicles. It delved into autonomous technology, connectivity security, employment, national strategy, and the growth of alternative fuels and powertrains.

AUTOMOBILI-D Where Technologies Meet

Sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, AUTOMOBILI-D is one of the most effective forums for technology suppliers, thought leaders, and educators to meet and share perspectives. This year over 180 brands including car manufacturers, suppliers, tech startups, universities, and relevant government agencies participated in the event.

Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao delivered a keynote address to all the AUTOMOBILI-D attendees.  Secretary Chao focused on autonomous technologies and the way they will change the way we travel and meet each other. Secretary Chao discussed her vision for safe, integrated, travel and the working relationships required between government and public entities.

With over 150,000 square feet of exhibit and meeting space and the participation of some of the greatest minds in mobility, AUTOMOBILI-D represents a real force in the future of the auto industry. No other auto show has gathered this many mobility professionals from around the globe under one roof.

The Gallery – Luxury, Charity, and Rockin’ Out

Like your ride on the upscale side? Do names like Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Rolls Royce rock your boat? Then you should have attended the Gallery event at the 2018 NAIAS. The Gallery is the official kickoff for the show and is a highlight on the Detroit social calendar. A party set in luxury, the gallery generates funds for charity through ticket sales and a silent auction of really expensive stuff. Set in the beautiful Atrium of the Cobo Center overlooking the international waterway, the Gallery is a $10 million-dollar exhibit of some of the most luxurious automobiles on the planet.
Rolls Royce chose the Gallery event to debut its new 2018 half-million-dollar Phantom. Reading about the ultra-luxury vehicles is fun, but nothing compares with getting up close and personal. If you’re willing to drop $250 for a ticket, this was your place to be. Dream cars, a rock band, and adult beverages made this event a truly memorable evening.

Cars, Trucks, and Things that Go Varoom

Technology and industry networking is what draws the mobility professionals to NAIAS, but for the public, it’s the 750 shiny, new, cars, trucks, SUVs, exotics and concepts that are on exhibit. What’s a car show without cars? Everybody was there, including some Chinese manufacturers you probably never heard of. Square footage wise, it was a toss-up between Toyota, Ford, and FCA.

It would be impossible to review all the displays. Let’s just say it was impressive. But there were a couple of standouts that we have listed below:

2018 Aston Martin Vantage
2018 Aston Martin Vantage

With a front end that looks like somewhere between a vacuum cleaner and man-eating great white, the Vantage and its AMG sourced 504 hp V8 can go from standing still to 60 mph in a blistering 3.6 seconds. Top speed on this street-legal beauty is 195 mph. At $150,000 it’s a bit pricey but it's already sold out for the entire 2018 production year.

2019 Honda Insight
2019 Honda Insight

Following up on its commitment to making two-thirds of its offerings electrified vehicles, Honda reintroduced the Insight. Built with the new two-motor platform, the Insight provides all the advantages of a hybrid without the compromises. It looks, performs, and handles like a traditional ICE vehicle. Great styling and a competitive price are sure to make this one to watch.

2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS
2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS

Forget the old CLS. This model is an incredible blend of design and performance. Sleek is the wrong word to describe its exterior. Smooth might be better because the lines blend together in one flowing motion. The CLS has more in common with the E Class than S Class but it does include the nearly autonomous Intelligent Drive technology from the S Class sedan.

2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

The most popular roadster in America got an amazing hardtop. The Miata RF has a fully retractable hardtop that gives the car something it was lacking, peace and quiet. Road noise is fine when joy riding but if you’re doing daily commutes it’s a drag. The new top gives the Miata a quieter ride and a more substantial feel. The dance that the roof does to fold is a sight to behold, lifting the entire rear section of the roof and tucking the middle underneath itself. And it does this in 13 seconds.

The Detroit show did not let anyone down although it probably wore a bunch of people out with its acres of exhibits. Detroit may not be the automotive hub it once was but the NAIAS is still a premiere show.