Watch top auto executives discuss driving’s future at the Detroit Concours’ Motor City Party

Xander Cesari

At the Motor City Party during the inaugural Detroit Concours d’Elegance, an all-star cast of panelists from the automotive world gathered to discuss the future. Following a tribute to the concours’ 2022 honoree Ed Welburn, a lively discussion ensued with Ralph Gilles (Stellantis’ chief design officer), Hau Thai-Tang (chief industrial platform officer for Ford Motor Company), and Doug L. Parks (GM’s executive vice president of global product purchasing and supply change) about the future of the automobile industry and what each is doing to keep driving alive.

Click the video below to hear what these executives think about the automobile industry’s transition to a different future and what it means for those of us that love to drive, moderated by Hagerty’s Larry Webster.

You will learn why Doug L. Parks of General Motors believes this is the absolute best time to be in the auto industry. This is a man that is clearly excited about the future, who shares why he thinks electric cars are better than their internal-combustion engine-counterparts. He also discusses whether cars will always have manual controls and whether people will ever buy fully autonomous vehicles.

Ralph Gilles shares how Stellantis has 11 new vehicles coming out on the same platform. He also details the often-overlooked challenges that going electric puts on a car designer. We are often told that having the whole powertrain place in the bottom of a car should open up everything for designers, but Mr. Gilles doesn’t agree. He also has some fun by sharing which part of the Ferrari 488 Pista they copied influenced the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT. Lastly, he explains why he thinks designers are only one degree away from being drug dealers …

When told that most assume the average age of a Lincoln customer is 82, Ford’s Hau Thai-Tang discusses how he is changing the perception of the brand’s vehicles away from a “big, floaty, land-yacht sensory-deprivation chamber[s].” It all has to do with driving feel. Mr. Thai-Tang also explains about what it was like working with Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell on an IndyCar team, and whether Ford wants its EVs to feel similar to a traditional car or become something totally new and different. He even includes his prediction of which year that the nation’s charging network will no longer be an issue.

Larry Webster sums up the evening best: “We are so happy you three are leading the charge into the future.”

The sold-out crowd was able to hear from the panelists as well as enjoy skyline views from the original office of Harley Earl. Xander Cesari
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    Question to the Panel: If the government of any country that your EV products are sold asks you to shut off all the vehicles for the safety of the citizens in let’s say a “Pandemic ” what would you do?

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