Have to say I love being here at the show, especially since I've just found out from my wife that our water heater is about to blow and her car will be at the repair shop for several weeks--because of an accident she got into (not her fault--she'll want me to write that) right before I left for Detroit. Michigan never looked so good. Here are a few things I've picked up this morning.
Riding on the bus from the hotel to the convention center I overheard several GM dealers (there are millions of them at the show) excited over the fact the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards (given by a small group of U.S. journalists and announced at the auto show, but oddly doesn't seem to get much attention beyond the Detroit). The two vehicles were the Chevy Silverado and Saturn Aura. The Chevy pickup makes sense to me (especially since it competed with the Mazda CX7 and Ford Edge), but the Aura is puzzling. We drove the Saturn against the Camry head-to-head in our Car of the Year test and the Aura didn't even make our top ten cut.
Discovered the Ford F-150 was able to acheive its new maximum towing capacity of 11,000 pounds with a lightly modified rear bumper and a set of Super Duty tires: Nothing had to be done to the frame or hitch setup to get the class leading number. We're told what took the longest time was just setting up and exicuting the testing procedures Ford follows for engineering varification.
Ugh. Am absolutely positive my hearing is about ready to go. If you get to a press event early enough to get a seat, you have to endure the blaring warmup music, then just before the press conferences start, they think they have to turn the volume past "11" in order to get everyone's attention. Some of the music is pretty good, but mostly it seems aimed at my 14 year old daughter. Cadillac had a completely cool set of urban youths (black kids in baggy pants) playing rock/pop violins, as well as doing some stopping and rapping. Cadillac wanted to "mix things up" and they made sure to tell us that.
Won't go into any details about dinners last night ("dinners" at the Detroit Auto Show are code for party-for-the-jounalists). Two "dinners" and did get to sleep in my hotel room by 12:00 midnight. Actually, as it turned out, the hotel didn't have a room for me when I checked in late Saturday night so they set me up in a hospitality suite with a foldout couch. It is a place to sleep.
The Infiniti QX56 made a debut of sorts here last night (at one of my dinners). What they've finally done is completely gut and upgrade the interior (and offer 20-inch wheels), and we hope they made it much quieter in the process. Our complaints with the QX56 typically centered on the fact it wasn't enough of an Infiniti to fit with the standard set by the G35. The more they can separate the QX56 from the almost-identical Nissan Armada, the more likely they'll be to make inroads to this segment--basically owned by the Cadillac Escalade.