The Truth About Cars » 2014 naias http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 04 Dec 2014 17:24:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 2014 naias http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com 2014 NAIAS: Profits And Shrimp Might Be Back But Swag Still Sparse http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/2014-naias-profits-and-shrimp-might-be-back-but-swag-still-sparse/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/2014-naias-profits-and-shrimp-might-be-back-but-swag-still-sparse/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=699993 When we asked our readers what you wanted us to cover at the 2014 NAIAS media preview, one of the requests was about swag and perks. There was a time, maybe 10 or 12 years ago, when automotive press kits and related items distributed to members of the media at major auto shows were special enough […]

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When we asked our readers what you wanted us to cover at the 2014 NAIAS media preview, one of the requests was about swag and perks. There was a time, maybe 10 or 12 years ago, when automotive press kits and related items distributed to members of the media at major auto shows were special enough and collectible enough that a decent number of literature and toy dealers would bring entire crews to those shows to get inventory to sell on eBay. The former communications director of the Chicago Auto Show would publicly bemoan the presence of what he called “press kit thieves” who’d manage to get past the credentials committee to get in the show and then out past security with boxes of press kits and cases of die cast models. There were so many things that would be collectible to car enthusiasts one could make a business out of it.

All I will personally say on the matter is that Budget had a great deal on the Ford Ranger pickup truck and that my grandfather, who was a junkman that dealt in paper and rags, taught me not to throw away things that others will pay you for them. That was then. Today, though, thumb drives have replaced CDs which themselves replaced hard copy press kits, and after years of financial difficulties in the auto industry, the extravagant giveaways of yesteryear are pretty much over, with at least one notable exception. At this year’s NAIAS, some companies didn’t even bother with thumb drives, they simply handed out cards with a web address for media information. Why bother with the expense of even a giveaway thumb drive when the same digital information can be distributed online at a fraction of the cost?

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Chrysler is pretty much the only car company left that makes an effort to create special press kits, and while there are those who criticize the “Imported from Detroit” tagline approved by a French guy working for an Italian car company, some of the press kits for the Chrysler 200 (the ones marked “special edition”) contained a Pewabic Pottery ceramic tile embossed with that tagline and the Chrysler logo. Pewabic Pottery is a Detroit institution and it was founded over a century ago, part of the Arts & Crafts movement. I don’t know how much the tile would be worth on eBay but most Detroiters will think it’s pretty cool.

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Another of Chrysler’s press kits appeals to me and not just because I’m a Detroiter. They gave out a press kit commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Chrysler minivan. When I opened it I was pleasantly surprised to see it included a pair of red-blue 3D glasses and that some of the images in the kit were 3D anaglyphs. Regular readers may know that I play around with 3D. When I work big car shows I give out red-blue 3D glasses as business cards for Cars In Depth, so it was neat coming across some 3D materials in the swag.

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Speaking of 3D, it wasn’t swag but Nissan and Honda both were using 3D technology in their displays. Nissan had some virtual reality goggles using motion tracking for an immersive experience with the iDX concept and while there were many driving simulators on the show floor, Honda’s used a head mounted 3D display. Mercedes-Benz’s use of 3D technology might be a bit more practical, since they use a pair of video cameras as part of their driver assist and safety systems in their cars.

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Chrysler’s last bit of swag was a key chain in the shape of a piston and connecting rod. Attached to the ring was a USB thumb drive (holding a digital Mopar press kit) in the shape of a key. It looks like key shaped thumb drives were a hit at the advertising specialties companies that service the automakers because Denso, Volkwagen and Cadillac also gave them out, the Cadillac thumb drive coming on a leather key fob with Cadillac’s new crest.

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Other thumb drives were more conventionally shaped, though the Kia GT4 Stinger concept press kit came on a thumb drive shaped like the car.

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The smart car press kit likewise came in something that looked like a smart car but according to the pretty lady handing them out many people thought they were novelty rubber erasers. The GMC Canyon press kit’s thumb drive swiveled out of a diamond plate holder.

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The Corvette Z06 press kit was on a conventional thumb drive but befitting a limited edition Corvette, it had a special presentation.

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It was packaged in a cardboard box, as for watches or jewelry and it came with three lapel pins, a Z06 pin, a crossed flags Corvette pin, and one of Jake, the Corvette skull mascot.

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Chevy also gave out buttons and trading cards.

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The Z06 was not the only American performance car getting its first auto show introduction. The 2014 NAIAS is the first time the all new 2015 Mustang will be seen at an auto show. Since only a limited number of people were present at the various live reveals last month the Detroit show will be the first time large numbers of people will see the new Mustang in person and Ford has an extensive display devoted to the car and its history. An upstairs section contains 50 years of Mustang memorabilia. It looks like some show goers during the public days will get the chance to assemble a snap-fit 1/24th scale model of the new Mustang coupe. They were so rare at the media preview that I haven’t seen any show up on eBay at all.

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Part of Toyota’s reveal presentation of the Ft-1 is-it-the-next-Supra? concept was produced by Polyphony Digital (i.e. Sony) using the graphics engine of their latest release Gran Turismo 6. Not surprisingly, the virtual FT-1 is now available for download for GT6 players. Perhaps more surprisingly, Toyota gave out full functional copies of the driving simulator. The racing sim is probably the most valuable thing we got in terms of retail price but it’s pretty much worthless to me as I don’t have a PS3 console, or any gaming console for the matter.

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It’s interesting that as mass manufacturers stop printing hard copy sales brochures, assuming that the hoi polloi have access to smartphones with bar code readers (and disappointing people who collect and archive automotive sales literature), some luxury marques still prefer the printed page. Instead of a barcode or even a cardstock brochure, Porsche gave out hardcover books on the new 911 Targa. Usually when a brand like Jaguar or Corvette gives out a book, there’s some history included, but the 911 Targa book is just an elaborate sales brochure.

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Scion also hasn’t yet abandoned paper entirely. Working with artist Shin Tanaka, the Toyota brand gave out die cut paper toys that you can construct, assembling each of the cars in Scions line up.

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If you have an Instagram account, you could also use a vending machine Scion set up that dispenses Scion tzotchkes in exchange for promoting the company via social media. I don’t have an Instagram account by the nice pretty lady worked the machine for me and I got a free hat, sort of a tradition at Scion. Scion has given out knit skull caps and baseball caps at the big auto shows since the brand was launched.

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Some automotive vendors also use the NAIAS to have press conferences and Denso gave out PED rechargers at their event.

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So that’s it when it comes to giveaways at the 2014 NAIAS. Before the domestic auto industry melted down, the New York Times popularized a cliche that went as follows, “you can tell how the domestic auto industry is doing by how big the shrimp are at the Detroit auto show’s media preview,” presuming that there would always be shrimp served up to the press by automakers, the only question was how big they’d be. For a number of years that cliche simply didn’t apply, but most car companies doing business in North America are now making money here and I noticed that crustaceans were being served by at least couple of car companies in their buffets. The car companies may be profitable these days, and the shrimp may be back at the Detroit auto show, but a confluence of factors means that the glory days of auto show swag are behind us.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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2014 NAIAS: How Hard Is GM Trying to Sell the Chevy SS? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/2014-naias-how-hard-is-gm-trying-to-sell-the-chevy-ss/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/2014-naias-how-hard-is-gm-trying-to-sell-the-chevy-ss/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 19:05:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=700961 Unless you’ve lived through it, you have no idea what it’s like to slog through the colossal Detroit auto show media preview. There were something like 50 new vehicle reveals spread out over two days, a press conference every 45 minutes or so. In the blur it’s easy to miss something. Fortunately, I live in […]

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Can you spot the Chevrolet SS in Chevy's display at the 2014 NAIAS?

Can you spot the Chevrolet SS in Chevy’s display at the 2014 NAIAS?

Unless you’ve lived through it, you have no idea what it’s like to slog through the colossal Detroit auto show media preview. There were something like 50 new vehicle reveals spread out over two days, a press conference every 45 minutes or so. In the blur it’s easy to miss something. Fortunately, I live in the Detroit area so if I manage to not get photos or video of an important reveal or new-to-the-NAIAS vehicle, I can always go back during the Industry Preview that follows the press days. While reading Derek Kreindler’s NAIAS recap I realized that one of the cars that I missed was the Chevrolet SS performance sedan. A couple of months ago our colleague Bark M speculated that General Motors was not trying very hard to sell the new $44,000 SS. After photographing the SS at the NAIAS, I think that Bark M might have been on to something.

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I was wondering how I missed the SS until I went back to Cobo Hall during the industry days. While it’s not as crowded as the public show, just about anyone in Detroit can probably figure out a way to get a ticket so there are still more people than during the media event and from the crowds (or lack of them) around the vehicles you can get an idea of which ones are likely to be popular when the show goes public. As I worked my way through the half dozen or so photographic fill-ins that I needed I headed towards the Volvo booth along the far northern wall of the convention center. On my way to Volvo I passed right by the Chevrolet booth. Scanning the display, at first I couldn’t find the SS, it wasn’t on the show floor. Figuring I could check again after shooting the V60 sportwagon, I turned towards the Volvo booth and as my head spun I caught a flash of red from the smaller upper deck of Chevy’s two story display. Ah, so that’s where it is.

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Chevy had devoted the upper level to motorsports, more specifically Indycar and NASCAR, with a couple of the Dallara built cars used in the open wheel series, a Gen 6 NASCAR racer in Chevy SS trim, a Chevy SS pace car used in that series, and, on the public side of the barriers, that red Chevrolet SS. Now the funny thing is that I’d been upstairs in the Chevy display before. I shot video of the Z06 and C7R Corvette reveals from the stairs and I’d set my camera back up near the Indycars. Perhaps my powers of observation are declining in my advancing old age and decripitude, and I was rather focused on getting a decent sight line to the stage, but I hadn’t noticed either the pace car or the street SS when I was up there. I did notice the Indycars, and the Borg Warner Trophy in a display case, but the NASCAR display was at the far end of the upper level.

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Actually, if you didn’t take the time to go upstairs, you wouldn’t know that it’s devoted to the Chevy SS and Chevy motorsports. There’s a sign at the very top of the stairway, but no signboards or anything downstairs that might drive foot traffic to the upper part of the display. To give you some historical perspective of how Chevy regards that upper level’s ability to help sell retail product, if I’m not mistaken, last year they used the second floor to display some of Chevy’s international products, vehicles not for sale in North America.

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After I finished shooting photos of the SS and pace car, as I walked towards the staircase, two men passed me. I only caught a glimpse of one of them as I hurried, but the name Ryan Newman on his credentials made the synapses connect and I wheeled around to follow them as they walked towards the SS. The other man was Jim Campbell, who is in charge of performance cars and motorsports at General Motors. No matter what the upper level folks in GM’s PR department think about TTAC, as a writer I’ve always been treated graciously by people working for GM, including Campbell.

Seizing the opportunity, I asked Newman if he thought it’d be possible to build an actual stock car racer, from a production vehicle, with an advanced roll cage, and have the result be as safe as the scratch built tube frame Gen 6 cars, and he said not at the speeds they currently race at, mentioning the 218 mph he did at Michigan International Speedway. Then I asked Campbell why, if they were serious about selling the Chevy SS, did they hide it upstairs? He said that the motorsports display was a great place to promote the SS. He has a good point, but it was obvious that there was less foot traffic up there than down on the show floor. At the time, I believe that we were the only ones upstairs.

During the industry preview, foot traffic on the floor was much heavier than on the upper level of Chevy's booth.

During the industry preview, foot traffic on the floor was much heavier than on the upper level of Chevy’s booth.

Nothing reaches production and goes on sale at a car company these days without some kind of business case being made for it. I’ve written about the factory NHRA drag racers like the COPO Camaro, Drag Pak Challenger and Cobra Jet Mustang and the people at GM, Chrysler and Ford unanimously told me that their programs had to be justified on a dollars and cents basis. I assume the same is true of the Chevrolet SS but it sure doesn’t look like they’re trying that hard to sell that many examples of a car that you and I would probably enjoy driving.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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2014 NAIAS: Mercedes-Benz Concept S-Class Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/2014-naias-mercedes-benz-concept-s-class-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/2014-naias-mercedes-benz-concept-s-class-coupe/#comments Sun, 12 Jan 2014 16:16:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=696553 While I was at Cobo Hall straightening out press credentials to the upcoming Detroit auto show for a colleague, Mercedes-Benz was rehearsing their media presentation, including the North American reveal of the Concept S-Class Coupe, a two door version of Daimler’s flagship sedan. The Concept S-Class Coupe isn’t really a secret, having already been shown […]

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While I was at Cobo Hall straightening out press credentials to the upcoming Detroit auto show for a colleague, Mercedes-Benz was rehearsing their media presentation, including the North American reveal of the Concept S-Class Coupe, a two door version of Daimler’s flagship sedan. The Concept S-Class Coupe isn’t really a secret, having already been shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

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The Mercedes-Benz display at the NAIAS this year is right across from Cadillac’s display, which has been split off from the other GM brands congregated in the corporate GM booth. One of the vehicles that Cadillac will be showing will be the Elmiraj coupe concept that was a big hit at Pebble Beach last summer. Cadillac’s product planners will likely be able to see the Concept S-Class Coupe from the Elmiraj’s turntable. Maybe that’s a good thing, as I’m in the group that thinks that the large RWD flagship sedan that outgoing GM CEO Dan Akerson says the company will build almost necessarily needs a coupe version at its side in Cadillac showrooms.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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2015 Mustang Will Indeed Be At NAIAS, So Will Cadillac’s Elmiraj http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/2015-mustang-will-indeed-be-at-naias-so-will-cadillacs-elmiraj/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/2015-mustang-will-indeed-be-at-naias-so-will-cadillacs-elmiraj/#comments Fri, 10 Jan 2014 22:59:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=696473 There’s been some speculation that after Ford’s big multi-continent reveal of the all-new 2015 Mustang that the new pony car will not be seen in public again till the New York Auto Show in the spring. As you can see from the photos taken today at Cobo Hall while the big Detroit show is being […]

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There’s been some speculation that after Ford’s big multi-continent reveal of the all-new 2015 Mustang that the new pony car will not be seen in public again till the New York Auto Show in the spring. As you can see from the photos taken today at Cobo Hall while the big Detroit show is being set up, the new Mustang be on display. Not just on display, Ford is making a big deal out of the new car and the nameplate’s 50th anniversary. A 1965 Mustang will be on display along with at least one concept car that was part of the original Mustang’s gestation and Ford has set up a Mustang memorabilia shop where attendees to the public part of the NAIAS will be able to buy personalized Mustang mementos. The most obvious sign that the ’15 Mustang will be on display was a 2015 Mustang convertible already on a turntable, under a sheet of protective plastic. An empty turntable nearby will probably hold the coupe.

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It wasn’t on the show floor yet, but the fact that there was a sign on the wall of the Cadillac display that read, under its protective coating, “Elmiraj”, means that Cadillac’s highly praised show car, thought to be the basis of Cadillac’s anticipated large flagship sedan (or coupe, according to some reports) will join the new Mustang at the ’14 NAIAS.

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Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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VW Will Debut U.S. Spec 2015 Golf R at Detroit Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/vw-will-debut-u-s-spec-2015-golf-r-at-detroit-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/vw-will-debut-u-s-spec-2015-golf-r-at-detroit-show/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 12:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=695521 Volkswagen of America confirmed that the U.S. spec 2015 Golf R will debut at the Detroit auto show next week. While at 290 horsepower, it’s down 6 HP from the Euro spec Golf R shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September but that still will be enough power driving through all four wheels to […]

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The U.S. version of the 2015 Golf R will be a five door, unlike the three door Euro spec model.

The U.S. version of the 2015 Golf R will be a five door, unlike the three door Euro spec model.

Volkswagen of America confirmed that the U.S. spec 2015 Golf R will debut at the Detroit auto show next week. While at 290 horsepower, it’s down 6 HP from the Euro spec Golf R shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September but that still will be enough power driving through all four wheels to tick off 5.3 seconds in a zero to sixty run with a six speed fully manual transmission and an even quicker 4.9 seconds in the DSG dual clutch equipped R. That’s correct, U.S. consumers will finally have a choice of gearboxes in the R. Starting with the 2004 R32, VW has only offered either the six speed manual or the DSG transmission on American versions of the Golf R.

The U.S. Golf R will only be available as a five door hatchback and will go on sale in the first quarter of 2015. No official EPA rating is yet available but VW says that the car will show an improvement of 4 MPG (highway) over the 2013 Golf R’s 27. All 280 lb-ft of torque is available from 1,800 to 5,500 RPM.

In addition to more boost than in the GTI, the 2015 Golf R has significantly quicker steering, 2.1 turns lock to lock versus 2.75 on the lower powered Golfs, along with progressive variable ratio steering. The Golf R sits on an upgraded suspension that’s 0.2 inches lower than the GTI and 0.8 inches lower than the standard Golf. The U.S. Golf R also comes with 18-inch wheels, a more aggressive body kit, and bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights. Out back there is a four-tip exhaust. Stability control can be deactivated for track use. The brakes are also upgraded with 13.4-inch rotors and 2.4-inch brake pistons in the front along with 12.2-inch rotors in the rear with 1.7-inch pistons.

There are four driver selectable modes: comfort, normal, individual and race that adjust shock absorber damping, shift points and engine throttle mapping.

The interior gets upgrades as well, with nappa leather trimmed sport seats, “carbon touch” dashboard inlays, a three-spoke steering wheel and a gauge cluster unique to the Golf R..

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