VIP tours of show draw an array of car enthusiasts

VIP tours of show draw an array of car enthusiasts

Brown also conducted a separate Ask the Expert booth, where show-goers could ask anything they liked. Most questions dealt with cars and auto technology, but one woman came by to ask, What is the meaning of life? Brown gave her the answer, quipping I am, after all, the expert.

Brown said he enjoyed the tours, culminating with an impromptu visit hed had when Vice President Biden came to the show with his family on the second Saturday afternoon. What I discovered is that the industry doesnt do a good job of explaining to people what its doing and why theyre doing it. When people understand what is being done with the technology, they are more accepting of it, which is even true of the vice president.

One of the more popular events of this years show was the VIP tours of the OEMs latest-and-greatest, with a particular emphasis on safety technology. It was the second year that the tours were led by syndicated columnist Warren Brown and USA Today reporter and columnist Jayne ODonnell.

I was happy we had a lot of people who were really interested in the advanced electronic safety technology being used in cars, expensive and less expensive, said Brown. People were interested in the huge advances in computerized technologies, using engines to save fuel and reduce emissions.

Brown told those on his tour that the eventual movement to our so-called driverless technology is not to take control away from the driver, not to have the government take control, rather autonomous driving technology is designed to take over some of the routine tasks of driving, such as commuting or shopping.

The advance in electronic safety is to reduce your chance of being injured, said Brown. People appreciate being told why these things are happening.

On ODonnells tour, alternative-fuel and powertrain vehicles sparked the greatest interest. People on her tour appreciated seeing and hearing about Toyotas fuel cell vehicle and talking about Fords new, more efficient F-150.

But Mercedes simulator, which let them experience all of the advanced safety features, was a huge hit with tour-goers, both young and old, ODonnell said.

I was working on a story about Gen Ys waning interest in vehicle ownership while I was there, and the young men from Gallaudet University for the deaf, along with the scores of other teenagers and 20-somethings at the show, provided an enthusiastic counterpoint.”

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