Snow in Washington doesnt slow Auto Show Preview[I]Media mingle with operatives from industry, Congress, agencies[/I]
Despite snowy streets and sidewalks, closed schools and delayed office openings early last week, Washington’s 2014 Auto Show Media and Industry Preview commenced as scheduled on Jan. 22. And even though planned activities for the day before had to be rescheduled, there was no setback for the Preview with the Walter E. Washington Convention Center filled with reporters and automaker operatives.WAS Chairman Kevin Reilly opened the Newsmaker Breakfast with the announcement that Washington has become an OICA certified auto show by the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs dAutomobiles, thereby ranking the Auto Show here among the top five in the U.S. and the foremost in the world. On hand from OICA headquarters in Paris was its president, Patrick Blain, who commended Show Chairman Reilly and WAS organizers on joining the ranks of OICA shows across the world that include the likes of Detroit, New York, Paris and Geneva. Blain then waxed optimistically about the global auto industry going from its current level of 88 million auto sales to 100 million by 2018. He pointed out that the U.S. market at that rate would exceed 18 million for years hence.
David Kiley, president of the International Motor Press Association (IMPA), sponsoring the breakfast with the
Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA), focused the mission of Washington as the Public Policy Show. Walking around the hall today, Im reminded that the best innovation we have comes from respectful collaboration between government and industry, Kiley said.
With the public policy predicate in mind, auto companies were eager to display their alternative-fuel vehicle credentials. The IMPA/WAPA keynoter, Ford COO Mark Fields, delivered his remarks to the Newsmaker Breakfast via Skype satellite since his flight from Detroit to D.C. was cancelled due to the earlier winter storm. Fields spoke of Fords Blueprint for Sustainability, discussing fuel-saving technologies, such as battery-electric vehicles, plug-in electrics, hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles.Fuel efficiency is now a reason to buy a Ford, said Fields. Seven vehicles in its lineup get 40 miles per gallon or better, he noted, and Fords share of plug-in hybrid electrics jumped from 0 to 32 percent last year. The F-series Ecoboost, with turbo charge and direct injection, now achieves 20 percent better fuel economy. The new F-150 pickup, on display at the WAS, is 700 pounds lighter than its predecessor. Ford officials on-site showcased the C-Max Solar Energi Concept at Fields request.
This vehicle harnesses the suns power by using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass to direct rays to solar panels on the roof. (For a complete report on Fields remarks at the IMPA/WAPA Newsmaker Breakfast, see article below.)Download Bulletin PDF