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That Time I Hung Out With Ford at The Detroit Auto Show

Unveiling the new Ford F-150 #FordNAIAS

The Detroit Auto show is a big deal. Technically, it’s the North American International Auto Show or NAIAS because lots of words and acronyms you can’t really pronounce are a sure sign of an event’s big deal-ness. I have always wanted to go to the Detroit Auto Show and had the amazing opportunity to attend this year as a part of Ford’s Blogger Experience.

I spent two days immersed in all things Ford and getting to wander around the show floor with so many shiny new cars I really could have used a better pair of sunglasses. Along for this incredible ride were 120 bloggers from around the world. They represented all different kinds of blogs, too, from automotive to technology, hunting to parenting. We were an eclectic bunch.

That’d be Zane, with Batman, at the #FordNAIAS welcome dinner.

Our first day at the show we got to see the debut of the new 2015 Ford F-150. It was a huge deal. No, really, people, it was all caps HUGE. The trucks burst onto the stage through a (paper) wall to the cheers of the assembled crowd. Check out this video from The Fast Lane Car to see the F-150’s debut and you’ll get a good feel for just how crazy, over-the-top it is at a major auto show.

Ford had a room all to itself called Behind the Blue Oval where there were tasty nibbles on a candy conveyor belt, as well as experts sharing their experiences and knowledge about the company. There was also a lot to see on the show floor, so I wandered back and forth throughout the day. 
The second day of our adventure we didn’t actually head to the show, but instead got to go behind-the-scenes with Ford. We took a tour of the Dearborn truck facility, spent time playing with an Oculus Rift device used to study 3D versions of vehicles during development, and heard from the people behind the creation of the new 2015 Ford Mustang. Drive it like you stole it? So very tempting.

From the Mustang behind-the-scenes discussion. #FordNAIAS

During my three days in Detroit, I spoke with people from throughout the Ford organization. I chatted with frazzled reps out on the show floor, tour guides at the factory, engineers, designers, communications people and, completely randomly, a couple of janitors. Every single one of these people was happy and positive about what they do and where they work.

Yes, yes, yes, I know. They’re not exactly going to trot out Bob from accounting who hates his job, but there’s a Bob at every company so he isn’t really relevant. What isn’t at every company and what is very relevant is passion.

The designers behind the 2015 Ford Mustang. #FordNAIAS

There was a tour guide at the factory, and I have to apologize for not having her name, but she was wonderful. We asked her a million and one questions and she answered them all. At the end of the tour as we were wrapping things up and taking pictures of the vintage cars, I talked with her for a few minutes and that conversation captured all that I’d experienced with the people at Ford.

We talked about how excited everyone was when they reopened the factory for tours after discontinuing them for many years. She shared how much she liked working for Ford, and how so many of her family and friends had spent time working for the company. And then she commented that they didn’t see themselves as working for “Ford” but rather for “the Fords.”

Blogger Kirstin Barclay and me with Ford CEO Alan Mulally #FordNAIAS 

It’ a subtle difference, but it’s an important one. Ford is a big company. Just like the Detroit Auto Show, they are HUGE. You don’t think of it as people but as a thing. An entity. A big corporation. But what makes it all run is people. From the janitors at the factory to CEO Alan Mulally who took the time to talk to each of us and even posed for pictures, this company is made of people.

They take a lot of pride in their jobs and they are enthusiastic and thrilled to share their knowledge about what they do every day. From giving tours that show just how a truck goes from metal bits to a working vehicle to designing an interior that looks and feels just right, the people working for “the Fords” are an amazing bunch who take pride in the cars they help put on the road.


One Response to “That Time I Hung Out With Ford at The Detroit Auto Show”

  1. Zanymomintx says:

    I LOVE this post. You did a great job of recapping a memorable event! And I am so glad you made us pose for photos with Mr. Mulally.

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