Automakers Continue to Prioritize Technology Trade Shows and China

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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automakers continue to prioritize technology trade shows and china

Automakers continue to snub mainstream automotive trade shows for CES, which is swiftly becoming one. Compared to Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show, Asia’s nascent tech expo is exceptionally small but that hasn’t prevented automakers from taking an interest. Only in its third year, CES Asia hosted General Motors, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai, and Volvo.

In fact, several of the event’s large rooms housed nothing but products stemming from automotive manufacturers — underlining how automakers need to be perceived in 2017. China’s massive population is churning out heaps of new drivers everyday, making it the primary growth market for many global brands. Combine that with the country’s aggressive push into green cars — with a public that is perpetually hungry for tech-laden vehicles — and CES Asia attendance was compulsory for many.

“Chinese growth is rapidly expanding,” Honda’s executive vice president, Seiji Kuraishi, told Automotive News. “Here at CES, there are many Chinese innovations. We want to use that as window for open innovation.”

Honda unveiled a self-driving EV concept commuter called the NeuV, as well as its Uni-Cub personal mobility device.

Mercedes-Benz showcased its S-class Maybach concept with a focus on physical health and mental wellness. The Benz is supposed to create a spa-like experience, providing relaxing fragrances, “hot stone” massage, and a built-in tea ceremony in the rear armrest.

The Buick Velite 5 reappeared sporting a range-extender and upgraded connectivity functions for its OnStar service. General Motors, knowing that China likes Buick and EVs far more than the rest of the world, introduced the Velite 5 as a premium styled Chevrolet Volt back in April.

BMW showed a concept that exemplifies its long-term autonomous driving strategy. It featured a holographic center console, controllable by swiping at floating icons à la Minority Report. Ultrasonic waves provide tactile feedback depending on where your hand moves, making this fledgling technology superior to touch screens in every single way but still inferior to physical buttons.

NEVS, the electric car startup born from Sweden’s failed attempts to resurrect Saab, showed two concepts at CES Asia — a sedan and crossover. Both vehicles will be based on the, now-ancient, Saab 9-3 platform and built in China. NEVS plans to

introduce them both in the Eastern market next year before attempting to conquer the rest of the globe.

“It’s the new way of doing it,” explained the brand’s director of business development Niklas Sondell, “establish ourselves in China and then branch out.”

[Image: CES Asia]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

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  • TW5 TW5 on Jun 11, 2017

    You'd think that after watching Japan in the 80s, the US in the 90s, and China during the 21st century, the OECD would have figured out that economic optimism is the key to consumer demand for developmental technologies, particularly alternative energy. Nope. They continue to spend public funds on non-working classes, while also roping developed nations into wealth redistribution schemes under the pretense of climate change. Can't fix stupid.

  • Marty S Corey, thanks for your comment. Mercedes has many different models, and will survive. Jaguar is planning on only offering electric models and will be in trouble. They should continue their ICE models as long as possible, but have discontinued the F-Type already and will probably be discontinuing everything else. We purchased the current XF this year, which is a nice car, but would have been splendid if they had just continued the supercharged V-6 in it.By the way, I have really enjoyed your Continental and Eldorado series. Was just showing it to my barber, who owned several 1954-56 Eldorado convertibles.
  • Marques My father had one of these. A black 1984 Pulsar NX with a 5-speed stick and a grey interior. Dad always kept it in pristine shape-that black paint was shiny even in the middle of the night. I swear I could still smell the Rain Dance carnauba wax! The only issue that car ever had was that it was never driven enough-it would sit for 10 days at a time! The Hitachi carburetor on it(and other Nissans of the time) were known to be troublesome. It went to the boneyard at 72K miles when a hole got punched in the block. By that time the Pulsar had long ceased production.
  • VoGhost This is the only new vehicle I have the slightest interest in.
  • VoGhost I love it. Can't wait to get one. Finally, trucks are becoming actually capable, and it's great for America.
  • Peter Just waiting for Dr. Who to show up with his Tardis, and send these things back to the hellish dark dimension from which they came.