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Virtually every manufacturer at the 2017 North American International Auto Show was using some sort of VR. I'm not quite sure what they were using it for, as I wasn't willing to spend 45 minutes in line to wander around for 5 minutes wearing a set of goggles, but it was clear that many people were. Maybe those were the people dragged to the show by someone else. Autonomous driving demonstrations in many forms were also a large part of the show. Either by simulation, or by R/C cars outfitted with autonomous driving systems. Also apps. It seemed that every manufacturer was showing off app integration in one way or another.
Unfortunately it has been a trend over the last few years that technical content of the show (those wonderful drivetrain cutaways) has been replaced by this consumer electronics content. For someone like me who will never integrate my phone with my vehicle (to what purpose would this serve?) and who realizes that buying a car labeled "Apple Car Play" or "Android Auto" just means half the dash is obsolete a few years later when the app is longer supported, it all seems pointless. This however is probably how they intend to tap that "millennial" market who just aren't interested in cars. A bit like how manufacturers of other products make a product pink to target women. And as out of touch as well, if I predict their lack of success correctly.
I was very much hoping that Mazda would show the RX-Vision but alas I was disappointed. It was however the first time I had seen the MX-5 RF and I must say I quite like it. Mazda continues on the promise that the MX-5 is going back to its Miata roots. Maybe Mazda swill bring the RX-Vision to the Canadian show, and I did note that the steering rack in the MX-5 seems to be positioned with the location of Renesis front cover accessories in mind. Probably just a coincidence of course but it is nice to think the rotary is still on Mazda's mind.
The Elio was positioned in the main concourse before the entrance of the show though due to the crowd I didn't notice until shortly before I was ready leave. Certainly it is an interesting premise; a low cost, highly efficient compact vehicle built from industry standard parts. Except I remember hearing of the Elio 10 years ago and with Elio Motors was established in 2009. So now at the 2017 NAIAS, they still aren't selling vehicles. What was shown was still essentially a hand built prototype, with a "production" steel body beside. The Elio website still shows no delivery date, and when you select "Find Us" the resulting pages show projected retail locations, proposed retail centers, and anticipated service centers. Perhaps it is because I have been in the weird car game since the mid 90s that I remain deeply skeptical of seeing the Elio on the streets in any significant number.
Less on the efficiency side and more on the noisy side, Mopar was showing their 392 crate Hemi as a plug and play setup for hot rods and swaps. Neat, but for the $12,000 I could pay less for a GM E-rod LS3 and end up with 80HP more, a better after market and higher fuel economy.
The purple Porsche displayed by Michelin drew quite a crowd. That crowd was surprised as I when a 5 year old crossed the barrier and climbed onto the car. Only to have the parents gently encourage the little urchin come back instead of dragging him off by the first available limb.
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