Behind the Blue Oval at NAIAS 2015

The Ford GT is the centerpiece of the Blue Oval
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For the second year in a row, I was offered the chance to visit Detroit and attend the North American International Autoshow (NAIAS) as a guest of Ford at their Digital Summit event. I had a such a great time last year I jumped at the chance to go back.

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

Things started off with dinner inside the Piquette Plant – the original home of the Model T and the birthplace of Ford Motor Company.

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

You could just feel the history while wandering the various rooms in the plant.

Along with a large collection of vehicles that were built there, there was also a secret room where Henry Ford originally built the first concept versions of his engines and vehicles.

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

It was surreal having dinner in such a historic place.

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

While we had dinner, we learned from the archivist and futurist at Ford who explained how we got to today from Henry’s original vision.

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

This is also where I got to meet the other attendees that Ford had invited from around the world. Many selfies were taken.

After a good night’s sleep, it was off to Joe Louis Arena in the morning to attend the Ford press conference.

NAIAS 2015

Arguably, the biggest news was the long rumoured reveal of the the GT supercar. This was a theme we’d see from a few other manufacturers at NAIAS this year as the battle of the supercars got rekindled.

Ford NAIAS 2015

We then walked over to Cobo Hall for the main event. Like last year, Ford had a massive area set aside for the digital summit on press day, known as the Blue Oval.

Ford NAIAS 2015

They really do a great job of giving us access to everything we could want within the Blue Oval whether it’s to peak inside the latest vehicles that were just unveiled,

Ford NAIAS 2015

NAIAS 2015

Ford NAIAS 2015

NAIAS 2015

Q&A sessions with everyone from product managers, executives and even the CEO,
NAIAS 2015

NAIAS 2015

and even our own social media wall:

NAIAS 2015

I’ve written previously about how I enjoyed the SYNC incar entertainment system more than others I’ve used.

Ford NAIAS 2015

This year, Ford has added some new features and I had the chance to talk to it’s product manager, Ken Williams about those changes on the show floor:

I particularly like the fact that when you pull into your driveway, for up to 30 minutes after turning the car off, the system can connect to your home wifi and check for software (firmware) updates to the SYNC system. This is so much better than having to visit a dealership for a simple software fix or upgrade.

In an upcoming post I’ll show an insider look at the F-150 Truck plant as we had a tour of the factory floor on our final day of the trip.

See a lot more photos from the show floor in my Flickr photoset.

Disclosure: The Ford Motor Company paid for my travel and accommodations at the three-day NAIAS 2015 Digital Summit in Detroit. I was not compensated in any other manner for my time. The opinions posted here are my own.

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