By Karla Thornhill Coleman, Auto Show Global
The 2016 Houston Auto Show kicked off today, and what a perfect time of the year — on the heels of the Detroit Auto Show, while 2016-17 new products are still big news.
Houston is a big and important enough market for some of the automakers to make special plans to showcase some of their brand-spanking new products and innovations still fresh in the minds of Texas auto show goers who watched the reveals out of Detroit earlier this month.
Produced annually by the Houston Automobile Dealers Association (HADA), the show runs through Sunday, January 31, 2016, and has ample floor space — 700,000 square feet of space at NRG Center — more than 700 of the newest model year import and domestic vehicles.
A few will be shown for the first time at the show, including the new GMC Sierra All Terrain X, and several shown for the first time in Houston: 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia, 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, 2016 Buick Envision, 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, 2017 Ford Raptor, 2017
Ford Escape, 2017 GMC Sierra All Terrain X, 2017 GMC Acadia Denali, 2017 Infiniti QX30, 2016 Jeep 75th Anniversary models: Cherokee, Renegade, Wrangler, 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Night, 2016 Jeep Cherokee Overland, 2017 Lexus GSF Sport, 2017 Lotus Evora 400, 2016 Nissan Sentra, 2016 Nissan Altima, 2016 Shelby F-150, and the 2016 VW Passat.
Auto shows, like this one in Houston, are my favorite. You get the special treat of test driving the new model year cars and trucks on your home turf. More than 70 vehicles will be waiting for you, the consumer, to give the thumbs up or, the other way.
Better than looking at pictures on the Internet, right?! For more information, visit www.houstonautoshow.com
The Detroit Auto Show, the most influential of the year, concluded with record attendance again – at least the numbers are going in the right direction. There are a number of reasons why the show was a success for some and a failure in the minds of others, but one thing was for certain – it had it own charm, and a lot was due to real estate.
Until this year, the auto show exhibitors embraced keeping all of the brands together in one display area. Companies like Ford, General Motors, and Toyota, kept both luxury and traditional nameplates within a short walk through a seamless transition. This year, with brands such as Mini, Bentley and Jaguar having noticeable absences from this year’s show, new floor space was made available. This coincided with the fact that luxury brands appeared to want to stand on their own identity similar to a teenager wanting to move out of the parental house.
While Lexus stayed home with Toyota, Cadillac and Lincoln became next door neighbors as did Chevy and Ford during this year’s show. Ironically Lincoln and Cadillac were parked right across the street from Mercedes, Audi, and BMW respectively in the high rent district of the auto show. It was interesting looking at the crowd from both sides of the fence both from the Chevy and Ford fence and the Cadillac and Lincoln fence.
The Ford Experience was just that, an experience. Most of the exhibits were interactive and highlighting the technology that Ford uses in its products. The displays were bright and open. There were displays featuring the durability of Gorilla Glass, the innovation of vehicle lifestyle connectivity, jellybean cocktails of the Ford Fusion color palate, Legos exhibits, and my favorite: compressed air, simulating wind blowing in your face, causing major distortions, that allowed the visitor to post video to social media. The exhibits were engaging to the visitors and would keep them wandering around the display looking for things to interact with. At some point I remembered to look at the products too. On the Chevy side, the whole product line was nicely organized and warmly lit, and allowed the visitor to pass through and get a closer look at the product offerings. It felt more museum-like than the science center feel I got from Ford.
The Chrysler, I mean FCA (sorry!), display moved to the former GM neighborhood, and it was a needed upgrade. No longer the dark and drab parking lot of the past, the display was lit up like a Christmas tree, with LED screens everywhere. Bright and open, with its luxury brand Alfa Romeo next door, the display does a much better job showcasing all the new Fiat and former Chrysler products.
I walked over to the Cadillac display, the new XT5 was center stage flanked by the rest of the Cadillac lineup. The whole display was brightly lit and had a very elegant but sterile feel. Lincoln on the other hand had very few products to show but the display felt very warm, intimate and engaging. I chatted with one of Ford’s Design Directors about why Lincoln separated itself from the Ford brand. The answer was really simple, Lincoln wanted to be next to the other luxury brands – especially since the space was available and Lincoln was debuting the all-new Continental.
To me, it just felt weird because I really could walk from one spot to the next and get a totally different vibe from all the luxury brands, especially between Lincoln and Cadillac. It really felt as though the two brands were finally coming from underneath the veil of the respective parent companies.
I have worked for both Ford and General Motors, and ironically worked in Lincoln and Cadillac studios. There will always be a battle for top domestic luxury brand, Lincoln and Cadillac have been at it for years. It was great to see an old rivalry start up again. It’s about time that Ford and General Motors start having an honest conversation in-house as who they want to be as a brand, especially in such a competitive domestic market. Let’s wait and see if the domestic luxury brands will actually up the ante for future shows, carve out even more “in-your-face” space, and make this rivalry fun again.
The 2016 North American International Auto Show opens to the public on Saturday, so we wanted to share our Top Five, Must See cars, trucks and concepts for those of you making your way down to Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan.
The New England International Auto Show is back in Boston and Jeep was there to make one of the first announcements of the show.
Jeep introduced its new premium Cherokee model, the Cherokee Overland, for the opening day of the show. The new trim level for the mid-size SUV offers more luxury features than in the past. But, of course, when it comes to capability, it’s all Jeep. The new premium Cherokee Overland will be available in Jeep showrooms this spring.
By Karla Thornhill Coleman, Auto Show Global
There’s always something for the kids to do in the Chrysler, now FCA, display area. Dominated by Jeep for years, the Chrysler brand is now taking on the challenge of keeping the youngsters entertained.
The Chrysler brand will debut its “Pacifica Play Zone” at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit from Saturday, January 16 through Sunday, January 24, to celebrate the reveal of the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan.
The Pacifica Play Zone invites parents and their children to interact with the features of the minivan through immersive experiences, including the Uconnect Game Center, which creates a larger-than-life interactive experience across multiple 65-inch touch screens, as well as compete for prizes and learn about hybrid technology from representatives of the Michigan Science Center.
Below are some more activities, but the most important is the Recharge Lounge where parents can stop, sit and recharge their devices, and themselves, while their children explore.
About Pacifica Playzone: Continue reading
The Auto Show Global 2016 NAIAS team on site during the press days. And yes, after a 12-hour day our feet, backs and arms hurt. Parking was horrible, but there was plenty of sensory overload, great new products and technology and friends to reconnect with. We also found a lot of new display stands that we really liked and a whole new layout for the Detroit Show that we plan to talk about later. Thanks for checking out our coverage; there’s more to come. From left, Prentiss Malone, Karla Thornhill Coleman and Stephan Franklin.
If you’re a baby boomer, or close to it, you remember the Lincoln Continental and its status in the luxury car world. For years it was Lincoln’s flagship and a true head turner. My dad owned a 1986 model, Black two-tone, with the tire in the rear decklid. Of all the luxury family cars he owned over the years, he claimed the Continental was his favorite.
Now its back in the Lincoln lineup as the brand revealed the all-new 2017 Lincoln Continental on the second press day of the 2016 North American International Auto Show.
And the only thing “throwback” about this luxury sedan is its name.
Beginning this fall, the Continental will be available for customers in the US and China – a full-size sedan where the best seat is the rear seat. Yes, chauffeur me, please. It has a very contemporary design with quality craftsmanship and lots of safety and convenience technology.
“The Continental name has long been associated with the ultimate in Lincoln beauty and luxury,” said Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln. “With the all-new model, we are focusing on creating more human, personally tailored experiences for our clients – providing what we call quiet luxury.”
Here are some of the new features that would have shocked your daddy: Continue reading