NEW TECHNOLOGY READY FOR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA’S BIGGEST AUTO SHOW

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – November 12, 2013 — Automobile manufacturers have wheeled out an impressive array of advanced technology in the 2014 vehicles, much of which will be featured at the largest exhibition of new vehicles in northern California.

The San Francisco Chronicle|SFGate.com International Auto Show is set to open Nov. 28th and run through Dec. 2 at the Moscone Convention Center.

“We are pleased to be able to introduce these vehicles to the Bay Area motoring public,” said Show Director Kevin Diamond. “Manufacturer representatives will be available at the show to explain how advances in technology will benefit drivers, improve fuel efficiency and help protect the environment.”

“It is amazing how far automotive technology has come in such a short time,” said Robert Louisell, spokesman for Ford Motor Co. “And there is more to come.”

By 2015, 95 percent of all Ford vehicles will be equipped with the technology introduced this  year in the Fiesta 1.0-liter EcoBoost engines that use turbo chargers to produce as much or more power as bigger engines.

“It is not only fuel efficient, but it reduces greenhouse gases,” said Louisell.

The environment, as well as fuel efficient and driving safety is a priority with Ford, Lousiell said.

“Ford factories are significantly greener,” said Louisell. “The C-Max and Focus factory is the largest solar-powered installation in the Mid-West. Excess methane gas from the paint booth powers the plant. Rain water is collected from the roof and reused as grey water. Plants on the roof filter the water and increase oxygen.”

Wheat straw, which breaks down more quickly in landfills, has replaced petroleum in plastics used in the manufacture of components in the Ford vehicles.

Carpeting is made of recycled water bottles, foam seats from soy.  Recycled jeans are used as insulation and the company is experimenting with dandelion roots as a substitute for rubber.

“But the foremost aim at Ford is to use technology to make drivers and everyone on the roads safer,” said Louisell.

He cited Sync, which seamlessly interacts with climate control, navigation and entertainment systems, and BLIS allows drivers to know what is in their blind spot.

”Parents of teen age children absolutely love ‘My Key,’ which limits  speed and the volume on the radio and no radio at all if seat belts are not  in operation” said Louisell.

However, advanced technology comes at a cost, said John Hanson, spokesman for Toyota Motor Corp.

He said the big question is whether consumers are willing to pay the price for advances that include autonomous cars.

“It is fairly clear that it is entirely possible to build an autonomous car that is capable of driving itself,” said Hanson.  “Actually, we have done it. So have others.”

Mercedes Benz announced in September a successful 62-mile drive by an autonomous S-Class sedan on German city streets and the autobahn. Audi, Nissan, Volvo, General Motors as well as Toyota are also reportedly working on the technology, that some are predicting will be on the roads by 2020.

“The problem is to make the car smart enough to process information and make correct decisions,” said Hanson.

“But the most important challenges are whether the consumers will be interested in purchasing it, how to deal with liability if one car in an accident is autonomous and the other is not-and how cities, states, the federal government will deal with the cars.

“Given that, we are still progressing on technology at a very fast pace,” Hanson said.

And the manufacturers are anticipating demand.

“We always try to stay ahead of the curve,” said Shad Balch, spokesman for General Motors. “The Chevrolet Volt was revolutionary when it came out three years ago. This year the Spark is on the cutting edge of technology.

GM offers a glimpse of what can be expected in autonomous cars with its adaptive cruise control technology which maintains the distance between moving vehicles.

“Right now, we are focused on connecting the consumer with the car,” said Balch. “Preventing distracted driving—keeping the driver focused— is a key issue.”

Technology available on 2014 General Motors’ Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet model includes lane departure warnings, collision avoidance systems, air bags installed in every corner and pedestrian alerts. Radar sensors pretty much surround the cars, especially in blind spots, Balch said.

With cars getting smarter, smart car shoppers need to inform themselves of all the viable options that protect drivers and the environment. The place to do that is International Auto Show at Moscone Center.

About the San Francisco Chronicle|SFGate.com 56th Annual International Auto Show:
The San Francisco Chronicle|SFGate.com 56th Annual International Auto Show is presented by AutoTrader.com and supported by the California New Car Dealers Association. The International Auto Show will offer Bay Area auto buyers their first opportunity to see the new 2014 model cars, SUV’s, trucks and vans representing the work of 38 of the world’s major manufacturers.

Show hours are:
Thursday, November 28 – Sunday, December 1: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Monday, December 2: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Admission is $10 for adults with children 12-years and under free when accompanied by an adult.  Tickets can be purchased at the door.  For more information visit www.sfautoshow.com