Honda was one of just a few global car makers with a big unveiling in Las Vegas
Honda, Kia and VW made up for absence of Tesla, Ford, GM and Stellantis – but it was the suppliers that shone
Missing in action at CES: the Tesla Cybertruck. You’d have thought the newest model from the firm that has done the most to accelerate the automotive industry’s tech transformation would be a shoe-in for the world’s leading tech show, but no.
An early rumour that the divisive electric pick-up truck was part of the fleet on Tesla’s underground Vegas Loop, which links halls at the city’s vast convention centre, were quickly scotched. Would it have even fit into the tight tunnels anyway?
That Tesla itself wasn’t at CES wasn’t so surprising, given its patchy attendance at motor shows (Goodwood Festival of Speed notwithstanding), but you’d have thought some enterprising automotive tech company would have got hold of a Cybertruck to make it a feature on their stand, given that deliveries have now started.
Love or hate it, you wouldn’t pass it by. Perhaps the scrutiny from the world’s tech press was too much to withstand for Tesla as the company irons out early teething problems.
Also missing from the fray this year were the US big three of General Motors, Ford and Stellantis (which owns Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram).
Stellantis said it had pulled out to save costs incurred by the gruelling UAW union stand-off last year, and it’s likely the other two felt the same.
Ford had been a regular attendee since it showed off an electric Focus in 2011, and Chevrolet two years ago took the covers of its electric Silverado pick-up.
Honda and Kia both stepped in with unveilings of thought-provoking concepts, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz teased the new Golf and electric G-Class respectively, while Turkish EV maker Togg showed a new saloon.
BMW is a CES regular but dialled back its participation this year, demonstrating smaller-scale tech advances, such as augmented-reality glasses.
CES is undoubtedly now one of the world’s biggest auto shows in an era when traditional displays of metal are dwindling. But it needs more of the tangible representation of the future envisaged by the tech-focused suppliers that turn up in great numbers every year, this year being no exception.
Bosch, Hyundai Mobis, Magna, Marelli, Mobileye, Qualcomm and many others didn’t disappoint, with early insight into what’s coming in cars five years’ time. But they need the manufacturers to ramp up the excitement in tandem.