Ford, VW be offering check drives of latest EVs at Chicago Auto Show to power gross sales of Mach-E and ID.4


Attendees of the Chicago Auto Show on July 15, 2021 get right into a Ford Mustang Mach-E for a check trip within the electrical crossover outdoor of the McCormick Place Convention Center.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

CHICAGO Jim Nierman yells with pleasure as he will get out of an electrical Mustang Mach-E crossover after a check power on the Chicago Auto Show.

“Oh my God! … I’ve driven a lot of electric cars and that’s nice,” mentioned the highschool auto store instructor. “It was like a rocket ship.”

Nierman, 54, is one in all tens of 1000’s of other people anticipated to wait the five-day match, which is the primary primary auto display within the nation because the coronavirus pandemic started in spring 2020.

It’s no longer a regular Chicago Auto Show. It’s about part the dimensions and time of a conventional display, however automakers equivalent to Ford Motor, Volkswagen and others are looking to benefit from it. That comprises showcasing new electrical cars.

Aside from exhibiting cars throughout the McCormick Place Convention Center, automakers are providing check drives and rides in new electrical cars. Auto executives consider such experiential advertising and marketing efforts are probably the most key first steps to expanding EV adoption.

“A lot of consumers haven’t had that opportunity because of Covid,” Ford Chief Marketing Officer Suzy Deering mentioned about experiencing the Mach-E. “With Mach-E, people are blown away.”

Ford was once a number of the automakers maximum impacted relating to automobile launches, together with the Mach-E, all the way through the pandemic. An ongoing semiconductor chip scarcity additionally has emptied many broker rather a lot, making it tough for customers to revel in new cars.

Deering mentioned getting customers into the Mach-E and permitting them to see new EVs such because the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup, which is anticipated to head on sale subsequent yr, is significant for other people to take into account that EVs are actual and no longer science initiatives.

“There’s misperceptions about EVs and there’s also, candidly, just no perceptions, right? That people just don’t understand,” Deering mentioned. “It’s a really important piece for us.”

‘Butts in seats’

Auto displays are essential for automakers to flaunt their latest cars, and extra importantly, get “butts in seats” an previous adage for one of the simplest ways to promote vehicles.

“Auto shows are important to consumers because they can shop one vehicle against another all under the same roof without any sales pressure,” mentioned Michelle Krebs, govt analyst at Cox Automotive. “It’s also important to get those butts in seats because, by and large, today’s vehicles are all pretty good, so it comes down to their perception of the brand but also how the vehicle fits them.”

Volkswagen’s check power sales space on July 15, 2021 on the Chicago Auto Show outdoor of the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

Volkswagen of America CMO Kimberly Gardiner mentioned it is “super important” to permit customers to get into new EVs and “imagine themselves driving one.”

VW is providing drives in 4 of its latest cars, together with the electrical ID.4, which went on sale this yr. VW held about 250 power occasions around the nation for the brand new EV from March via June.

“We’re at this great moment in time where more consumers are wanting to understand and learn about what it’s like to drive an EV,” Deering mentioned.

Nearly 16,000 other people of every age participated within the national systems, in keeping with VW.

The ID.4 and Mach-E are amongst a handful of plug-in cars, together with all-electric and hybrid, to provide rides or drives on the Chicago Auto Shows. Others come with the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, Kia Niro EV and Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV.

Bronco vs. Wrangler

Aside from EVs, Ford goes face to face with Jeep relating to off-road classes on the Chicago Auto Show.

At the Chicago Auto Show, Ford is debuting a 30,000-square-foot off-road impediment observe its calling the “Built Wild Bronco” mountain revel in,

Michael Wayland / CNBC

Ford debuted a brand new “Built Wild” outside impediment direction for its Bronco SUV on the match, which it expects to make use of at long term displays. Jeep has presented rides at its “Camp Jeep” at such occasions for the previous 17 years.

“It’s one of the coolest things here,” 15-year-old Henry Lata mentioned after driving in a Jeep Gladiator Mojave throughout the direction. “I love cars.”

Both classes function important steel hills and hindrances showcasing the functions of the cars.

“We get to show off what our vehicles can do,” mentioned Jim Morrison, head of Jeep’s North American operations. “We’ve seen competitors come and go but, one of the things we love is when they open the door, people race to Camp Jeep.”

Henry Lata, 15, (left) and Sarah Lata, 45, (heart) trip in a Jeep Gladiator Mojave pickup with a qualified driving force via an indoor impediment direction known as “Camp Jeep” on the Chicago Auto Show.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

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