As a lifelong Michigander who grew up in the Detroit suburbs, I’m certainly well aware that #DetroitLovesAutos. My grandfather and uncle both worked (and retired from) one of the ‘Big Three’ car companies. The state’s economy has always been tied to how well (or poorly) the auto industry is doing. But until this year, I’d never had the opportunity to attend the North American International Auto Show (aka the Detroit Auto Show). And wow, what an experience…
As a guest of SheBuysCars, I spent three days over the past week being wowed and impressed with all the shiny, new vehicles and concept cars on display for media preview week at the year’s biggest auto show. Car companies certainly spare no expense when it comes to showing off their latest and greatest. The excitement as a new vehicle or model is revealed under a swish of silk is palpable as journalists and photographers swarm the dais to explore and capture images of every inch.
The overwhelming themes at the Detroit Auto Show this year are mobility, autonomy and alternative energy. Hybrid and electric vehicles are everywhere, as are multiple different versions of the ‘self-driving’ automobile. No longer are conversations about pistons and carburetors – now you hear terms like GPS, lidar and connectivity everywhere you turn on the show floor.
Companies show off their enhanced safety features such as emergency breaking with pedestrian detection, blind spot detection, lane change assist and adaptive cruise control. And technology is everywhere, from apps that keep you connected to your vehicle from miles (or even states) away to advanced navigation and entertainment systems.
One of the brands that stood out to me the most on the show floor was Hyundai. Not because they have an amazing lineup of cars and SUVs with the latest technology and gadgets (although they do), or because they were showing off their latest and greatest in electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicles (which they were). Out of every vehicle brand at the Detroit Auto Show – Hyundai stood out to me because of their dedication to giving back and social responsibility.
Along with displaying their vehicles, awards and showing off their NFL sponsorship, one whole section of Hyundai’s Detroit Auto Show booth focuses on their Hyundai Hope On Wheels organization. The mission is simple and important, “committed to finding a cure for childhood cancer one handprint at a time.”
Honestly… This completely floored me. I truly never expected my worlds to collide the way that they did on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show. My own daughter is a childhood cancer survivor, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of every kid we’ve met who’s still fighting and the families we know who have lost their children to this horrible disease. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for kids in the US. One in five children doesn’t survive. And for those who do, two-third of them will suffer from long-term effects for the rest of their lives. These statistics are grim – and real (source: https://hyundaihopeonwheels.org/newsroom/the-facts-about-childhood-cancer/).
Although my daughter currently remains cancer-free, she’s endured five surgeries, fifteen rounds of chemotherapy over ten long months, weeks spent in the hospital rather than at school, over a dozen blood transfusions, multiple MRI and CT scans, the loss of her beautiful long hair, and years of worry and stress that never go away. Every time we take her in for another set of scans, we are well aware that our lives could change in an instant, as they did in December 2014 when we heard the word ‘recurrence’ for the first time.
Over the past eighteen years, Hyundai Hope on Wheels has donated over $115 million to help find a cure for pediatric cancer. Every time someone purchases an eligible Hyundai vehicle at a participating dealership, Hyundai and the dealer make a donation to Hope on Wheels. Only 4% of all National Cancer Institute funding goes toward childhood cancer research, so every dollar raised to help fill in that gap makes a huge difference in the lives of kids and families touched by pediatric cancers.
Along with being blown away by the personal connection to Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels program, I was also quite impressed with their vehicle lineup. With three kids, we’re a solid minivan family – but the 7-passenger Hyundai Santa Fe SE and Limited are definitely tempting. As our kids get older and head toward vehicular independence (otherwise known as the all-important obtaining of the drivers license), we’ll be starting to rethink our options when we start looking at our next vehicle purchases. I love the height, storage and seating capacity of a large SUV, but balanced with the gas mileage and style of something slightly smaller.
The Santa Fe provides nothing but options – for 5, 6 or 7 passenger seating in several different configurations. Not to mention the Santa Fe’s smaller brother – the Tucson. Both vehicles are perfect for families on the go. And their rugged designs are also just plain pretty too.
Along with their SUV options, Hyundai offers a full line up of coupes and sedans as well – the Elantra, Sonata, Azera, Veloster, and Accent. The Sonata now comes in a hybrid version and the Tucson FCEV is a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle. The new Hyundai Ioniq comes in both hybrid and electric versions and Hyundai revealed their autonomous version last year.
The future of the automobile is going to be an interesting one – but it’s safe to say that the eyes of the world will be on what happens every year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit!
I attended the NAIAS 2017 as a guest of SheBuysCars. Although this is a sponsored post on behalf of SheBuysCars and their sponsors, all opinions stated her are solely my own.