The Big Apple is in full spring mode. Construction crews abound, traffic is a mess, road crews are fixing pot holes, the Yankees will win the World Series (just ask, go ahead and ask anyone) and the tulips and daffodils are in imminent bloom.
As a matter of fact, there has been much consternation about the Yankees’ chances this year. With the Blue Jays so active in the off season, Alex Rodriguez injured and this season being the swan song of Mariano Rivera, the Yankees are by no means the favourite to win the American League East. That’d be the Blue Jays.
The New York Auto Show opened to a phalanx of tire kickers and enthusiasts on March 29; by 11am it was difficult to get near the vehicles. The frenzy of activity so early in the show must give manufacturers, their suppliers and employees some confidence, given the turmoil in the industry resulting from the recession.
Time to see how my predictions turned out.
The production version of the Acura MDX was at the show, along with the JUKE Nismo, the Subaru Crosstrek XV, an all new Camaro Z28 (to us nostalgic types, the only Camaro to own), the Corvette Stingray convertible, the BMW 328d xDrive Diesel, the Infiniti QX60 Hybrid and the Mercedes-Benz CLA AMG.
There were a few other surprises. BMW exhibited a new small cross over concept, looking like a billet of cast aluminum. Toyota unveiled the new Highlander cross-over, hard on the heels of the introduction of the new RAV4. Looking more minivan-like than previous iterations, one wonders how much longer the Sienna will be built.
Kia exhibited the new Forte sedan and 5-door and a new Soul. With such a striking vehicle, Kia finds itself in a similar position as Volkswagen with its Beetle and BMW with the Mini. A unique statement is difficult to reinvent, but this evolution of the Soul looks like it will be as successful as the last version.
In addition to the QX60 Hybrid, the new Q50 Hybrid was featured on the Infiniti booth. Specifications aren’t yet available, but if the performance is anything close to the Q70 (M35) hybrid, it will be a rocket while sipping fuel at a Scrooge-like rate.
Cadillac unveiled a new CTS. Having just introduced the ATS to compete with the likes of said Q50, BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C class and Audi A4, the new CTS is larger and will move up to compete against the Q70, BMW 5, Audi A6 and Mercedes E class vehicles. The CTS echos the styling of the ATS with its ‘reverse fin’ front headlight treatment and highly sculpted upper and lower grille treatment.
In addition to the Crosstrek XV Hybrid, Subaru had a treat in store for high performance fans. The WRX Concept looks far more than a styling exercise; and with very few changes, it would be ready for prime time. Along with the Corvette Convertible, this was quite the crowd pleaser.
GM had a number of new products beyond the Camaro and Corvette, including the new Sierra pickup, a 2014 Buick LaCrosse and the newest little Buick CUV, the Encore.
Judging from the enthusiastic crowds, the smiles on the faces of the booth representatives and the slowly improving US economy, the North American automotive industry is quietly optimistic about the future.
For more photos directly from the show, check my Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/vehiclev