January 19, 2015

Detroit Auto Show Tour with Alum Tom Libby


By Louise Giles

Tom Libby knows cars. 

And the 25 people who took Columbia Alumni’s tour of the North American International Auto Show now probably know a lot more about cars--thanks to Libby’s guidance and insightful commentary. 



Just a few examples: 

  • Which brand is a “tweener”—a unique brand between mainstream and luxury vehicles?  That would be Buick.
  • Which vehicle will be the first to be sold in the U.S. that is made in China?  Volvo’s S60 Inscription sedan. 
  • Why is Jaguar’s XE compact luxury car so important?  It’s the first of the recent new Jaguar models not to be built on a Ford platform.
  • What’s one of the secrets of BMW’s success?  It’s very ambitious, offering vehicles in every niche of the luxury market. 
  • What important new market segment is Honda entering?  Subcompact crossover, with the new Honda HR-V coming out this year.
  • How can Ram’s new full-size pickup truck get better mileage than Ford’s all-new aluminum body F150?  Ram’s 1500 ecoDiesel model is powered by a diesel engine from Cummins. 
  • Why does CEO Mary Barra call GM’s new Bolt electric vehicle a “game changer?”  It’s an all-electric vehicle from GM, has a range of 200 miles between charges, and will sell in the low $30,000s. 

As Manager of Loyalty Solutions and Industry Analysis for IHS Automotive, tour guide Tom Libby knows whereof he speaks. 

Said Columbia grad Rebecca Savage after the tour, “Tom’s vast knowledge of the auto industry was really awesome.  I was kept interested the entire time because of Tom’s engaging presentation style and fascinating insider facts.”

Tom’s regular job at IHS Automotive is providing data and analysis for several automotive clients.  He also gives data and commentary to the media and is often quoted in the press and interviewed on radio and television.  With a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Amherst College and an MBA in marketing from Columbia, Tom taught at Pepperdine University and worked at Ford Motor Company and J.D. Power and Associates before coming to IHS.    

During Columbia Alumni’s private, fast-paced tour at Cobo Center on January 14, Libby offered just a fraction of his knowledge of the U.S. auto industry, gleaned from his 25 years in the business.  And there’s a promise of more to come—if next year’s show might draw another private tour with Tom.  

(All photos courtesy of Bob Giles)











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