The state of the 2017 NAIAS in Detroit with Rod Alberts
Welcome back to Road Show by CNET's live stage, at the 2017 North American International Auto Show here in Detroit.
My name is Tim Stevens, I'm Editor in Chief of Road Show.
And joining me now is Rod Albert Executive director of the ADA.
Rod, welcome to our show floor, to our stage.
And welcome to your show floor.
This is your show in a bit of a way, right?
Yeah, I've been doing this show for 27 years.
It's hard to believe.
I don't look that old, I know, right?
27 years, I think not.
But yeah, we're proud of where we've grown the show over the last several years in particular.
Even after coming out of 2009 So challenging for everybody.
But we're in a good place right now.
And it's an exciting time in the car market, and with mobility and everything else, as you've seen this week, it's just taking off.
Yeah, I want to talk about some of the unveils.
I want to talk about the new automobility section.
But first I want to talk about an interesting and unexpected partnership, and that's with the Pixar movie Cars.
There was a A product launch here of a car that [LAUGH] actually exists in the real world.>> Well I guess that just shows that we're pretty diverse.
We try to do it all here right.
But John Lasseter and his team came in back in 2002.
I believe was the year.
He came back and he came here to get ideas for that first car movie.
And he loves cars.
He's really got a passion for it.
He spent a couple of hours on the show floor getting in all the details.
But the nice thing is, they called about eight months ago and they said, we wanna keep it under the radar but we're gonna love to come in and do our product there.
And we had to think it over.
we thought, how's it gonna work out with the auto manufacturers?
But the beauty was, everybody loved it.
And having them come in and bring in the McQueen and all the other debuts of the cars.
It's gonna be a great movie coming out this summer.
Yeah it's something that, I mean we're all adults and this is a movie for kids obviously but even seeing the life size Speed McQueen roll up on stage yesterday, or on Sunday, excuse me.
That was pretty awesome.
Yeah, the audience seems so real when you're next to it, like I'm actually meeting a movie star, you know?
You won't believe how many people took to that and the camera's going.
They're trying to embargo that too.
There's so many people there, with the press watching that.
But impossible, everybody's got their cameras going.
But the beauty is it's just part of what the auto industry and the love for it's all about.
And it goes well beyond just The animation side's even a part of that too.
And John Lasseter, who's a creative guy with Disney and Pixar, and a big star himself.
It's a big deal to have them here and it was a great kickoff.
Definitely a great way to kick off.
And also started to kick off things with the Automobility Program, which kicked off on Sunday.
So that's a new extension to the Detroit show for the first time coming out this year.
Tell me a little bit about Automobility and basically what was the idea launching that.
Everybody knows mobility is just a big deal right now in regard to the technology and the companies coming in.
And even myself as I'm getting older sometimes I have to realize it The autonomy and all this kind of things going on with cars, we have to embrace.
I went out this past year and a half with my team.
We travelled all over the world.
We actually talked to companies that were in deep knowledge about how to put on events like that.
We took all the best ideas, just like we did 28 years ago with the North American International Auto Show, Took the best practices of those and put them in place here.
But the one thing we did differently, which I really love and we can grow on is that we took the areas of technology and mobility, and we didn't just build a trade show.
We didn't want to get to that mundane side.
We created a village, and actually have it kind of like you're in the future, what it would be like with the Jetson's running around the show So between what we did in the new Atrium with the renovation of [UNKNOWN] which is great [UNKNOWN].
And then with the [UNKNOWN] mobility with the diligence of whether it be cybersecurity or the autonomous cars, or a connected car, it's all a part of that in a way you walk in and you feel like you just stepped into the future.
But the future's now, and we gotta be a part of it.
And North American Auto Show is doing everything we can to be.
I'll tell you right now, we have people come in and say, we wanna grow and become a part of this, the future.
And I think in the next three or four years you're gonna see this just take off.
And there'll be a world stage for that coming right out of here.
And you said the future's now.
And it is.
We were surprised by Volvo announcing that their drive me program started actually right here.
They flew in a family from Sweden here to take delivery of their XE90, fully autonomous, the first full autonomous car on the road available to consumers.
And they did that right here which is a very interesting thing.
Yeah, I love [UNKNOWN] and what they've done.
Of course they have the truck of the year last year and all that too.
You know, and having that family part of it and the consumer involved.
I really respect what the auto companies are doing with that.
I even know that Chrysler's got the same thing with the kids going around and having that connection and selling, and helping market the car.
It's really about the families.
When it comes down to it, auto shows were created to connect with the consumer and the people, and the choices that they have.
And making it safe.
So having what they did with that, that was a smart move and a great move by Volvo, cuz they are about family and security.
And looking a little bit further down the road, [UNKNOWN] CEO John Crachick was here talking about the advancement that his company's making in the sensor package.
Basically Driving costs down and there's fully autonomous specific test bed.
And that was part of the [UNKNOWN] program we talked about earlier?
Yeah, the Audi, John [UNKNOWN].
He was here last year.
And he's a great guy and a very brilliant guy when it comes to the auto industry.
He was with Hyundai and all that.
But when he came in last year.
He came back to us and he said, can I come in and do something we've never done before with At that time, Google, but the spin-off is Waymo.
And by the time they brought that in, of course, having the car here and what they're doing.
And they're so very detailed about how they go about things, and a different way of marketing.
But having them here was huge for the show.
But I know that John's really excited about how this came out and the coverage they got.
And I think it's again taking it to the people.
Understanding that Google is another car company or reaching out to be a technology within the car.
They're gonna be out there in the future with what they're building in.
We're gonna be in those cars.
Now we saw a lot of begin unveils this year.
The Chevy Traverse probably one of the big ones.
An SUV, that's a huge trend right now that we're seeing to continue on.
Looking from a dealer perspective, how do you see the SUV adoption
Is it gonna continue to be a really strong part of the market now or is it just a trend that's based on low fuel cost?
That's a great question.
I'm not sure there's a perfect answer for it.
But we had an event the other night called The Gallery Event which is all the high end cars we have at the MGM Grand Casino.
We had about 30 cars and there were several cars in there including one by Bentley that was an SUV.
And again, that's an odd thing for me to see.
You know how this goes.
I'm more ont he sports car side of that.
But if you have families and it's getting that luxury segment, it doesn't matter where that is now.
It's not limited.
It's across the board now.
I think SUV's are gonna stay.
Look at what [UNKNOWN] with the North American Car and Truck of the Year.
The added one more area of the award with the SUV and
That's a big one.
So all the way around, I believe, that's gonna be here to stay.
And you're gonna see more of that throughout every lineup of the market segments.
And of course electrification helps there too to make them a little bit more environmentally friendly.
Much more so than they were 10 or 15 years ago when we were having a lot of issues with gas prices going up again.
We had an area where we had to ride and drive.
We built the landscape city down, we had the mulch, I am not sure he liked the mulch [LAUGH] part [INAUDIBLE] but I did.
But the whole thing is that was a new component.
And silent cars is one time everybody That was a new one.
It's almost becoming more acceptable now, people understand that but now we're getting into a new section of mobility and all the areas of connected car and that's what the millennials want.
So, you're right.
Whether it's electic car or the other areas that's going to connect cars.
The electic side is kind of still there and it's going to be a part of it but it's just one segment of energizing the car and becoming the power of it.
But there is a bazillion other things out there.
The thing I want to add to that too is we have this test cars that came in and they've been at thousands of companies that all have ideas for technology and cars.
We have 50 of those on site right now, the top of those that have legitimate opportunity but don't hae the money.
So, all these companies are coming in or they're meeting with and also.
Angel investors that can be a part of that.
But there's a, the future is very bright in the area of technology mobility, it's going to be a great time with it.
All right, Rob, we're going to wrap [INAUDIBLE] One more last question, quickly, what are you driving these days?
That's a good one, you know
I had the model last year.
I change ever year.
I gotta have diversity and I have a good mind for.
The quality of cars are great across the board but I"m driving a Jeep Wrangler right now.
You get a little snow in detroit and I thought I would try that out.
I"m going the other direction but Jeep does make a great product and they do have a great history.
That is my current.
Alright great, thank you very much for joining us.
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