The New York Auto Show opens to public this week and will bring a wide range of vehicles to the NY area — a surprisingly important market for carmakers, even though no one in Manhattan likes to drive and many residents of the Big Apple don’t own cars.
Everyday folks tend to really enjoy this show, but for the auto industry, New York represents the end of a long car-show circuit that kicked off in Los Angeles last year, wound through Detroit and CES in Las Vegas, headed over to Europe, made stops in Chicago and Washington, DC, and wraps up in Gotham.
The truth is that the NY show finds the industry ready for a break. That said, there will be cars and trucks, and the ones that appear on the show floor this year summarize the major trends in the US market.
SUVs will rule
Everybody is showing crossovers and SUVs, which makes sense as these vehicles are selling like crazy and enabling carmakers to print money. A few sports cars and redesigned sedans are slated to appear, but the Northeast is SUV country, so it makes sense that these vehicles are what manufacturers are rolling out.
The Northeast is also a big luxury market — in fact, a big luxury SUV market — so we’ll be seeing luxe trucks from the likes of Mercedes, Range Rover, Volvo, and Alfa Romeo. But we’ll also get a Jaguar F-Type with a more fuel-efficient 4-cylinder motor and not one, but two wagons from Buick and Porsche.
Tech is still less important than functionality
The high-tech car story has usually been told by the time the New York event arrives, in LA and at CES. As a result, New York tends to be more about the present than the future. And although consumers are enthusiastic about new vehicles technologies, when it comes to SUVs and crossovers, other factors hold sway: comfort, fuel economy, cargo capacity, and safety.
In many respects, the New York Auto Show is ironically the most consumer-focused of them all. LA has been about green vehicles in the past and has more recently become a tech show. CES is of course all about high-tech. Detroit is where we get to see the Big Three undertake some major reveals, and European shows such as Geneva present dazzling and sexy supercars.
New York is also positioned right ahead of the summer buying season on the schedule. A good thing, as there are signs that the US sales market is weakening a bit. So if New York stokes some consumers enthusiasm, automakers will be glad they came.
The show opens on April 14 and runs through April 23.
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