With more than 400 vehicles at the Atlanta International Auto Show gracing the floor of the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta March 25-29, thousands of car enthusiasts likely found plenty to rev their automotive interests.
New cars, new features, updated designs, increased power and reduced gas consumption are among what manufacturers were touting.
Buick debuted to Atlanta audiences its newest car—the Cascada, a two-door convertible that hasn’t hit the market yet.
Molly Peck, Buick’s marketing director, said the automaker is entering the convertible market at a time when many other manufacturers are on their way out. She said it’s an ideal time.
“We were looking for underserved areas of the market,” said Peck.
The Cascada will be equipped with a 1.6 turbo engine and will go from top up to top down in 17 seconds, she said, adding that the top even can be operated while driving up to 31 miles per hour.
Peck described the Cascada in glowing terms.
“It’s beautiful outside and inside, has high quality, high safety, great value and it’s quiet and comfortable. You can’t say that about every car,” she said.
Pricing for the vehicle has not been released, and the car is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2016.
A highlight of the Sedona on the floor of the show was the second-row seats that had footrests and recline. The seats also can be moved side to side for better accessibility to third-row seating.
Ram had its all new Ram Rebel 1500 truck with exterior matt black design features, 17-inch wheels with black pockets and 15 inches of ground clearance. “It will be ready to go off the road and functional as well,” said a Ram spokesman. The Rebel is expected in dealerships in June.
Ford displayed plenty of eye candy from the venerable Mustang to the 2016 Explorer, which is expected on the market this summer.
However Ford revealed that it has 28 “smart mobility” experiments underway across the nation. Two of those projects are being researched in metro Atlanta at Georgia Tech with apps developed by Tech students.
One is called Park Spotting, which leverages driver-assist radar and sonar sensors that most Ford vehicles already have, for other uses. The sensors search for open parking spaces while the driver looks for spots around the city, and the information is shared with a cloud database other drivers can access, according to Ford officials. The system makes it easier for a driver to locate an open spot, reserve it and navigate to the space. It also reduces fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, they said.
The other Ford smart mobility project is Remote Repositioning, which Ford representatives describe as a more affordable and effective way to share or park vehicles using a remote “valet.” The concept has been proven at Georgia Tech using golf carts equipped with cameras and sensors that are remote operated by a person in a remote location can access real-time video streamed over a wireless network to drive the carts. The outcome could be a more affordable and effective way to share or park vehicles using a remote valet.
“Ford is trying to rethink the way we do business in the future,” said Renuka Gokhale, Ford’s manager of EV Infrastructure and Smart Grid Technology.
Ford officials said testing and evaluation of both Atlanta-based projects will continue in 2015 but are mum on when any of the experimental technology might hit the consumer market.
One of the priciest cars at the show was the 2016 Audi RV V10 plus with seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, Nappa leather and a price tag of $199,650.