2023 was a return to form for the largest trade show of the year. With over 115,000 attendees and 3000 companies on display at the show over four days, it seemed that the years of Covid throttling CES were over. Companies from all over the world showcased their latest products and future technology, from lawn-mowing robots to transparent TVs. The automotive industry had an impressive showing this year, with many OEMs exhibiting EV concept cars and revolutionary technology and dozens of Tier 1 suppliers showcasing the future of connected cars and automobility. With all of this new technology, there were a few clear standouts inside the automotive sector and across the whole show.
Perhaps one of the most well advertised exhibitors this year, VinFast, the Vietnamese car manufacturer, brought a huge presence to CES. In the LV Convention Center’s West Hall, VinFast had an enormous booth with the in-production VF8 model, the pre-production VF9, and two smaller concept crossovers. The vehicles boasted modern styling and impressive technology as well as a good quality interior. Outside West Hall, VinFast had a small track setup with the opportunity to test drive the VF8.
Dan Teeter, AMA’s Advisory Director, had a chance to drive the VF8, which he thought was “solid and ready for market with lots of technology, competitive acceleration and good maneuverability.” Already clearing customs in California ports, VinFast cars are poised to enter the competitive EV market imminently.
Beyond VinFast, Mercedes-Benz, Stellantis, and Sony all exhibited cutting edge EVs in various stages of development. Mercedes-Benz’s sleek EQXX sports car caught the attention of many attendees, while Ram’s concept truck and Peugeot’s concept sedan, each with suicide doors, seemed reminiscent of the Rivian RT1 and Doc’s DeLorean from Back to the Future respectively.
Sony’s EV, a first foray into the automotive industry from the Japanese conglomerate, allows for advertisers to place ads in both the headlight and taillight bars on the outside of the vehicle. A first for non-commercial cars, it is a groundbreaking and possibly risky step for the novice car manufacturer to take during a period of consumer pushback against advertising. Nonetheless, these new potential competitors in the race for EV market share should be closely followed, and their prominence at CES continues to cement the convention as an automotive show.
Interestingly, in a shift from previous years, CES 2023 moved away from mainly showing off future concepts and more towards a competition between companies over who could best execute the delivery of current cutting edge technology. In years past, those solutions would exist merely as an idea, rather than developed technology ready to sell and already being produced. This year, OEMs and other manufacturers looking for answers to their problems found existing solutions from a variety of Tier 1 and smaller startup companies. For example, if an OEM is seeking to integrate more advanced connected car services to their product lineup, they could turn to WirelessCar, a large European telematics firm, which already has developed a smart route planner for EVs, Plug & Charge for unconnected charging stations, and OEM apps for Google Automotive Services (GAS).
Another example is ATSC 3.0 broadcasting offered by ONE Media, a division of Sinclair Broadcasting, which is able to broadcast infotainment and over the air updates to cars using advanced TV signals. Technological advancements like this are here, and CES is the place to show it.
Along with this growing prominence of connected car solutions at CES, Software Defined Vehicles (SDV) have taken the center stage in OEM innovation strategies. Michael Barczak, VP and Head of Automotive Americas at software solution and engineering service provider DXC Luxoft observed the “wide variety of discussions and a strong emphasis on Software Defined Vehicles” from both OEMs and suppliers throughout CES. John Makin, Luxoft’s Global Strategy and Growth Director, similarly noticed this, asserting “that the SDV trend, in combination with the drive toward EV, is clearly accelerating innovation in automotive.” Any OEM or Tier 1 looking for solutions in SDV no longer has to wait 5-10 years for a concept to become a reality. Rather, Luxoft is ready to provide these services today.
Looking ahead to 2024, it is almost certain that, barring another global health crisis, CES will match or surpass the pre-pandemic high of 185,000 attendees in 2019. No longer about future technology straight out of a sci-fi movie, CES exhibitors and attendees are presenting answers to problems that are ready today, and in 2024, it’s likely that this trend will continue as more and more business is conducted at the show. After all, Aska brought a working flying car, and John Deere displayed an autonomous tractor. Overall, CES 2023 was a resounding success for companies from across the automotive industry and beyond, and the team at AMA is excited to work hard throughout 2023 to ensure an even more successful CES in 2024!
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