Let’s be honest: Downtown Detroit in the middle of January doesn’t rank high on too many lists of top getaway destinations. Unless, of course, you’re an auto junkie.
In that case, the North American International Auto Show is worth braving the bitter cold and often unpredictable weather for a glimpse at the industry’s crowning achievements in vehicle design.
But while most people spend a couple of hours ogling the shiny cars and high-tech displays, we invited two Ford Social Citizen Journalists to experience so much more. Michael McManus and Philip Kelly flew in from the East Coast for a three-day, all-access look at what Ford Motor Company has in store for 2013 and beyond. As they would soon learn, there are payoffs to joining Ford Social.
The trip began with a guided tour of the Ford Rouge Factory, which is a site of both incredible historical significance and a modern production facility.
“One of my favorite parts was the Rouge factory tour,” admitted Phillip, an avid Ford Trucks fan. “It’s an important place for me, since that’s where they build the F-150.”
Watching Ford employees in action was something Michael would not soon forget. “It was a little overwhelming for me to actually see what goes into making a vehicle and the quality that every employee puts into it.”
After watching America’s best-selling pickup roll off the assembly line, Ford treated our Citizen Journalists to an in-depth look at what the company is doing in the realms of green technology and sustainability. Michael and Philip got the chance to chat directly with Sheryl Connelly, Manager of Global Trends and Futuring for Ford, and Mike Tinskey, Ford Director of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and to learn more about The Power of Choice.
Our Citizen Journalists also got to tour TechShop Detroit and experience an evening of gadgetry and hands-on maker culture. Philip sandblasted the Ford logo into a cool glass beverage mug, while Michael guided a remote control ball using a tablet computer on a giant table-sized obstacle course.
Following a well-deserved rest, our two lucky Ford Social members were treated to a VIP trip to NAIAS, beginning with a quick stop at the Joe Louis Arena. It was there that they had a front row seat to the reveal of the 2013 Ford Atlas Pickup Truck Concept. Michael and Philip were among the first to see and touch what could be the future of Ford trucks, while chatting about it with Ford executives and the media.
You’d think walking around the Ford display at the auto show for a media preview would be small potatoes compared to watching a concept truck getting lowered from the roof of a hockey stadium, but you’d be wrong. Michael and Philip ended the trip like two kids in a candy store, hopping in and out of every Ford and Lincoln car, truck and SUV on the show floor.
Does an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at one of the largest auto shows on the planet sound like something you’d be interested in?