photo credit: NCinDC

Being a teacher, it’s not something I can shed. I tend to think like a teacher, where ever I go.  As I walked the North American International Auto Show I made some keen observations in regards to education and the different automakers. Lamborghini, Bentley, they oozed sex and too much money. No education, the cars were models. Most companies took this approach showcasing the cars with beautiful models. Press kits were available to “educate” the press but some companies, like Ford, went over the top to really educate. Maybe it’s  Fords deep roots for education or maybe it’s the idea that particular companies realize that new technology is something consumers need to learn about.

Ford EcoBoost LearningI’m a believer in the theory of multiple intelligences. It is my belief to learn you have to touch, feel, smell and experience. Everyone has a different learning style and in my opinion, Ford tried to capture the essence of learning and teach at this auto show. Toyota and Michelin Tires, they also did a good job with hands displays. Michelin’s green and energy efficient tires were there to touch and feel the different treads. They had movies, quizzes, displays and staff on hand to answer questions. It was very interactive. Toyota mostly just had displays to explain the technology and differences between Hybrid Engines.

I come off biased about Ford, I understand this. I don’t drive a Ford but I have and will. I have Ford roots and Ford did host my trip down to the auto show. I’ve tried to remove this objectivity and just look at the auto show as a whole and really soak it all in. Try to understand what each company was marketing, their focus and perhaps troubles verses holding them against Ford in comparison.  This is when I noticed the education and learning so clearly emphasized by some companies, such as Ford.

Here is why I was so impressed with Ford and had I just come to the show without any Ford Motor Company ties, I would still be drawn to what they had to offer at the show.

NAIAS Detroit Auto Show
photo credit: Wendy Piersall

1.   Yes, education. Live demonstrations and interactive displays. It was like being at a hands on museum. Movies, open vehicles, WII games, interactive car racing of the Ford Fusion Hybrid, scientist, inventors and creators available and on the floor to talk to and answer questions of. I saw more white lab coats and people answering questions than I did fancy models in uncomfortable shoes. There were live demonstrations on the roof of park assistant technology (wow) and in the basement you could drive a hybrid or electric car.
2.   Thinking out of the Box. Social media was apparent with Ford. Bloggers had blue Ford Blogging badges on all over the event. I think this is cool. When you think of Ford you should think Social Media.
3.    History. The press conferences all played to history and the longevity of the company. To know where you are going you have to know where you have come from.

I had reservations about attending the auto show as a Ford guest, thinking it would make be biased or come off as “paid”. The truth of matter is this, I was a Ford fan prior to the trip, and this just reinforced my feelings. I looked at other cars and technology and I can say, there are some impressive vehicles from other companies. Jeep had some hot green vehicles for the loyal Jeep fan. The Chrysler 2010 electric Mini Van was pretty sweet looking. Many of my friends love this vehicle and with the electric option it is more earth friendly but they also have some fun new features that will be rolled out to make it an even more family friendly vehicle. I’m still not too happy with the HealthyCar.org toxicity rating of these mini vans though!  GMC played it simple this auto show and the word Hybrid was certainly seen on a variety of their vehicles and the electric Chevy Volt was raved about. I’m not sure I agree with the title:  GM shocks NAIAS but hey the Volt is a nice concept car and even though I did not attend the GM opening show at NAIAS I did hear that it was glitzy and show verses new technology and sustainability.

The theme this year for most if not all companies seemed to be new technology and sustainability. Green and Eco resonated throughout the arena. The basement lent itself to a indoor driving track of hybrids and electric vehicles. Silent and calm. Entering the basement of the arena with multiple vehicles driving, one would expect noise but it was quiet and the only odor, the mulch. No emissions. For the first time ever, I understood how a hybrid works. Driving the eloquent and comfortable 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid I was able to experience first hand the technology. Self charging, quiet and very visual for the driver to understand when they are using the hybrid battery and when they are using the engine. I’ve had many reservations about hybrids but I have learned that Ford recycles their Hybrid batteries, EMT’s are trained for the voltage and unless a good Samaritan cuts the battery wires, there are not risks to them. Common myths, I personally have had. The video interview I had with Sue Cischke helped to clear up my misconceptions and this will post soon.

Watch me as a I drive the Ford Fusion Hybrid and visit my other videos on Park Assist Technology, My Key Technology and a discussion on fuel economy with Wendy Piersall and Scott Monty and where Ford is going on the path to sustainability.

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