2023 North American International Auto Show Pictures

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I did something weird. I visited the 2023 North American International Auto Show during the week and let me tell you, I don't think I will ever go back to weekends again. The place was empty! No need to elbow through crowds, wait forever to take a picture, stand in long lines to sit in a vehicle. From now on, I'm a weekday visitor.

Walking in I was eager to see if ASX would have such a prominent presence as they did during the 2022 show. In no way a surprise, they weren't there at all. Has their website changed since 2022? No. Have there been any announcements of progress since 2022? Nope. Have there been any deals or partnerships made since 2022? Nada. Are they an investment scam? You betcha!

What I did walk right into was the large Dodge Ram towing capability demonstration. A Ram was tethered to a large weight suspended in a tower and via a rope through a set of pulleys, would lift the weight. Except, if you look at the compound arrangement of pulleys, it is pretty claer that they have created quite a mechanical advantage. Especially evident considering the truck moves 50 or so feet down a track yet the load is only lifted about 10 feet. Clever, Dodge. But perhaps give your target audience of construction professionals a little more credit in basic load handling?

Sadly, with so few people at the show I didn't have any opportunity to hear comments on the Ram REV 1500.

I'm not normally a Mustang fan however the Mustang GTD definitely caught my eye. With the carbon fibre body, inboard suspension and 800HP on tap it is damn impressive. What was odd though is that the Ford rep started her conversation by asking "How much do you think it costs?". I think I guessed $120K and was then told "$300,000". OK, neat. But what was the reason for that? To gauge customer reaction to a $300,000 Mustang?

The "Weird" award goes to Lincoln who showed the 2024 Nautilus with a built in perfume sprayer they call "Digital Scents". I am unsure exactly what is digital about a scent, but basically it sprays pretentiously named smells, such as "Ozonic Azure" into the cabin to...I'm not sure? Mask the smell of passenger farts? Enhance the full volume playing of Enya? I do hope that 3rd parties are able to create scent cartridges so owners can buy new ones such as "Chili Cookoff" and "Vulva Original".

I'd say that about 50% of the show floor was taken up by an EV test track. Unlike visiting on a weekend, there was only a short wait to take a test ride after signing a liability waiver. I didn't, because I've driven and been passenger in plenty of EVs. But I can see how it was clearly many people's first experience and they had the "EV grin" after being blasted down the short straight at full throttle.

And now we come to the Alef "Flying Car". What an absolute crock of shit. This thing was all over the media at show start with insane publicity about the "first certified flying car" being shown at NAIAS 2023. It soars! Airborne cars take flight at Detroit auto show! Flying car unveiled! Except it is a poorly constructed plywood mockup. Take a look at my pictures. It isn't even a good mockup. Not only is the "gimbal" cockpit just a painted foam pod but the entire body is just a plywood box. The motors powering the rotors are screwed to the plywood with absolutely no way for air to provide downward thrust. As far as I could tell, the wheels were bolted to stationary flanges (it may not even roll). In fact, looking underneath revealed and unpainted plywood belly. The only impressive thing about the model was the curvey laser cut steel grid forming the top of the body. Looks like they spent their entire budget on it. Except that it must weigh at least a few hundred pounds.

The worst part about this hokum is that the standard computer rendered fakery was playing on a monitor largely insinuating that this is flying prototype. And the company rep was flat out lying to the public with claims flying prototypes, disrupting the transportation industry, and all the crap you'd expect of an investment scam. Of course why take the rep's word for it when you can just check out their website. And behold a site that any web design student could have created in an afternoon. Containing no actual information, just a few 3D rendered images of the vehicle, an "investment page" asking for contact details with an investment amount, and a "careers" page asking almost entirely for interns, it should be obvious that Alef is going nowhere while producing just enough to keep investors on the hook.

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