The big story in the auto industry is supposed to be the ongoing convergence of cars and technology. The heavy metal business of the past is behind us, so 20th century. The new age belongs to companies like Apple and Google and their futuristic notions of mobility. Car makers will struggle to keep up.
Maybe. But rather than transform the auto show into a mere support system for the Consumer Electronics Show, an increasingly important annual event for car companies, automakers have decided, all the sudden, to double down on what they do best.
Build. Fast. Cars.
The star of the Detroit Auto Show was the new Ford GT (see above), a glorious 600-horsepower supercar with its DNA deep in Ford’s racing heritage. The car evokes a dominant performance by Ford at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Man endurance race — and sets the stage for an epic return to that stage in 2016.
Rather pointedly, it doesn’t anticipate an impending era of driverless electric cars that are designed to integrate with life in the globe’s megacities. It does anticipate an open road and a lead foot.
The Geneva Motor Show kicked off this week, and thus far it’s been an absolute orgy of horsepower and exaggerated supercar hotness. How very … Swiss?!?!
Just consider the 800-horsepower Aston Martin Vulcan, or the 500-horsepower Porsche 911 GT3 RS, or the 400-horsepower Lotus Evora, or heck, the 886-horsepower McLaren P1 GTR. And that’s just a sampling. You could throw an iPhone 6 in almost any direction on Geneva and hit a very sexy car with a very powerful engine.
OK, you could also argue that this is some end-of-days exercise, with the world’s automakers cramming as much horsepower and hotness as possible into their impending dinosaurs, assuming the extinction of the emotionally thrilling automobile is nigh.
Actually, this is probably exactly what they’re doing.
But with the price of gas falling and the luxury auto market booming, who can blame them?
Enjoy it while it lasts. This could be last great insane period in the auto industry as we know (Knew?) it.