Smug journalists across the internet are poking fun at the possibility that President Barack Obama might have referred to the 2013 Shelby GT500 Mustang as “sick” during his visit to the Washington D.C. Auto Show.
True or false, his remarks about the muscle car don’t really matter. What’s slightly more significant is the speech he made to herald General Motors’ return to the throne as the world’s highest volume automaker.
While it isn’t surprising that the President would want to talk about something like that, it is a good chance to point out that GM is doing more than taking the Costco approach to selling cars.
In fact, GM is leading more than just the number of vehicles sold. They’re also the industry’s top innovator, according to The Patent Board. This is actually the fourth consecutive quarter that the Detroit giant can claim that title. An impressive 1,123 U.S. patents were granted to the company in 2011 for global product engineering, global powertrain engineering, global research and development and OnStar organizations.
It’s interesting because we don’t always think of GM when imagining who will come out with the latest breaking tech or engineering feats, yet they emerged victorious over 183 other firms. It seems like most of the automotive wizardry starts overseas in Europe and makes its way to domestic vehicles a little while later.
Blind spot detection is a great example of that. Volvo was the first to introduce it, but companies like GM and Ford are on board with the bandwagon.
Among GM’s recent patents, there is technology for quieter brakes, better OnStar voice recognition and something called eAssist Thermal Management which controls engine shutoff to ensure occupant comfort in extremely hot or cold weather.
That begs the question: what’s next from some of the greatest minds in Michigan?