Tuesday, March 26, 2013
(Paul Eisenstein, The Detroit Bureau) The New York International Auto Show is the last of the big U.S. car shows before the industry takes a summer break and it takes on more significance than it has in years with at least two dozen new cars, trucks and crossovers scheduled to make their debut at the Jacob Javits convention center in the coming days.
Automakers are hoping that the timing of this year’s New York Auto Show coincides with the continuing revival of the U.S. automotive market. Sales surged at a double-digit pace last year and are echoing that growth so far in 2013. By some of the more optimistic forecasts, the market could jump from 14.5 million to as much as 15.5 million this year – though that is still below the record numbers of early in the new millennium, when Americans bought as many as 17 million new vehicles in a single year.
Industry analysts suggest that major car shows can deliver a surge of new momentum to the market, especially in the surrounding community – and metro New York is already one of the biggest automotive markets in the country.
The flood of new models rolling into Jacob Javits reflects, to some degree, the delays forced by the industry’s worst downturn since the Great Recession of the 1930s. Many makers had to postpone or slow the pace of development due to budget cuts. Others simply slowed things down to wait out a market revival rather than launch critical offerings at a time when consumers might not be interested.
The Chevrolet Corvette unleashed at the Detroit Auto Show in January was a good example, the launch of the seventh-generation 2014 “C7” Stingray delayed by two years due to the maker’s bankruptcy.
According to the automotive data tracking service R.L. Polk, there will be 141 product launches this year, a 57 percent increase from 2012. (For more details on specific models, see full post here.)
Luxury brands dominate this year’s show, in fact, accounting for at least half of the debuts planned, depending on which brands you include. That’s no surprise considering the wealth of the NY region – it is, for example, the single-largest metro market for the new Range Rover model. Cadillac clearly is hoping to gain traction in the traditionally import-oriented Big Apple, a key reason for launching the new model in the city.
For those on a budget, there are some more affordable new products on display, including the Kia Koup and the update for the Scion tC sports coupe. There are also some significant new family models, including the next-generation Toyota Highlander and Honda Odyssey minivan.
Reflecting recent trends, the NYIAS has slightly more new passenger cars than utility vehicles to tantalize potential buyers with. Sedans, coupes and even sports cars have been regaining some of their own momentum as fuel prices head upward.
That’s not to say the American fascination with utes is dead. They remain a major factor in U.S. sales – or at least more car-like crossovers do. The number of traditional, truck-based offerings is steadily dwindling. Both the new Nissan Pathfinder and that Range Rover Sport, for example, have migrated to car-based “architectures” in their latest incarnations, as has the new Jeep Cherokee.
That old nameplate is making its return after a long absence from the market, the 2014 Cherokee replacing the aged and slow-selling Jeep Liberty. Its distinctive design could make it one of the more controversial models at the New York Auto Show this year, even Jeep officials acknowledge.
While the SUV arm of Chrysler contends that the new Cherokee will retain its off-road capabilities, they also promote the fact that it will deliver significantly improved mileage. And while the 2013 NYIAS isn’t the greenest of auto shows, the environment is nonetheless an important topic for carmakers and car buyers alike.
There will be a handful of new battery-based models making their debut, starting with hybrid versions of two Nissan models, the recently redesigned Pathfinder and the QX60 from the maker’s Infiniti brand. Subaru, meanwhile, will unwrap its first-ever gas-electric model, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid. And Mercedes-Benz will roll out the first pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, targeted at the U.S. market. The Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive, in fact, will be the only version of that small people-mover sold in the States.
Automakers are already teasing their NY introductions, even releasing images and details on a few models, like the 2014 Buick LaCrosse. There’ll be an assortment of sneak previews for the media on Tuesday evening and then the doors open on Wednesday morning at the Javits.
The public will have to wait a few days but close to a million potential buyers could stream into a city better known for mass transit in the weeks ahead to check out the auto industry’s latest offerings.
A longer version of this post originally appeared on The Detroit Bureau.
Monday, January 14, 2013
(Mitchell Hartman, Marketplace) The North American International Auto Show has kicked off in Detroit this week. Last year clearly showed the big-three U.S. automakers were back -- after GM and Chrysler got bailouts, and Chrysler also got new investment and leadership from Fiat. Auto sales were the highest since the recession began.
Facing ambitious new federal mileage standards (fleets have to average 54.5 mpg by 2025), and higher gas prices, automakers are touting ‘fuel efficiency’ at the auto show.
And no longer is it just for mid-market compacts. Even pickups, and sports cars like the new Chevy Corvette, brag on their gas mileage.
The new Corvette -- with styling like the Stingray of the 1970s, after which it is named -- came out from under the fancy tarps yesterday at the show. GM says it’ll get much better mileage than the previous version, which did 16 mpg in the city.
Many of the premier GM, Chrysler and Ford brands are now considered as reliable and well-engineered as European and Japanese performance cars -- and they tend to be cheaper.
Hybrid gas-electric car sales were up nearly 70 percent in the U.S. last year.
But automakers are also pushing higher fuel efficiency in conventional gasoline engines. They’re using lighter metals like aluminum, magnesium, and ultra-strong plastics. Also, there are ever-smarter computers in car engines that get more ‘oomph’ on a four-cylinder engine. Diesel vehicles, which can get better mileage and have become much more clean-running, are also gaining traction in the U.S. market.
One thing that’s changed from decades past, says auto analyst Paul Eisenstein atTheDetroitBureau.com: The domestic car market has become truly international.
“Does Detroit still matter as the dominant player in the U.S. auto industry?” asks Eisenstein. “No. There’s competition from all over the world that’ll continue to grow.”
But Eisenstein says there’s a flip side -- GM has to compete with Hyundai or BMW here. And those companies have to take the U.S. automakers seriously abroad.
“Chevy had record sales last year -- significant enough,” Eisenstein says. “But 60 percent of their volume took place overseas. And a good portion of that took place in all the emerging markets, like China, Brazil and Russia.”
Automakers could have record profits this year, and luxury cars are expected to fly off showroom floors. This year at the auto show new luxury models are on display from Cadillac, Lincoln, Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, Bentley, Audi, Acura, and Maserati.
Germany’s BMW is predicting record sales again this year. Ford is predicting luxury sales will be up 7.5 percent this year -- almost double what the company anticipates for its mass-market models.
Sunday, April 08, 2012
By Kathleen Horan : Reporter, WNYC News
It's roomy...but also boxy. Those are some assessments of New Yorkers who got to check out the 'Taxi of Tomorrow," unveiled this week with much fanfare. The Nissan minivan has been chosen by city officials be the cab for the next decade, beginning next year as older cabs are retired.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg kicked the tires with Nissan execs Tuesday night, as the press was treated to cocktails and hors d‘oeuvres while they inspected the vehicle.
But at the New York International Auto on Friday, potential passengers got to see for the first time the taxi that will shuttle them home in the wee hours or take them cross town when they’re late for a meeting for the next decade.
The NV200 model attracted a small crowd.
Myles Simmons from Manhattan looked closely at the prototype on display. He said he appreciated many of the next taxi’s features.
"I do like that there's leg room, I like that you have personal climate controls in the back, and that there's the USB ports where you can charge things," he said.
He did wonder why the minivan couldn’t fit wheelchairs.
Brooklyn’s Eddie Fernandez said part of the reason he came to the auto show was to look at the taxi. “I wanted to see exactly what it looked like up close before they put it on the street.”
Fernandez said the larger size will come in handy for New Yorkers who schlep around tons of stuff. “A lot of people have baby carriages, or luggage, they carry big bags around with I-Pads and all of their electronics, so I like that,” he said.
But others like Brooklyn's Orlando Vargas didn't approve of the boxy shape of the Nissan. Vargas would have preferred something sportier.
"This is just too cargo-y, just like a delivery van in a way, a yellow delivery van," he said.
The NV200 will retail for $29,700 when it goes on sale in 2013.
The brighter yellow cabs of the near future will be on display at the Javits Center until April 15.
Friday, July 29, 2011
By Luna Lin
Harlem Day was started 37 years ago to pay tribute to the rich economic, political, and cultural history of Harlem. The one-day event morphed into Harlem Week, which has now attracted so many participants that it is more than a month of 100 events that promotes Harlem's proud culture.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Fuel efficiency is the buzz phrase at the 2011 New York International Auto Show — but the specter of production slowdowns and supply chain disruptions looms large for Japan-based manufacturers struggle in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami last month.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
(Detroit - Noah Ovshinsky, WDET) Toyota released its 2010 sales numbers this week. The company continues to be the top seller in the US market with almost 1.8 million units sold last year. But a closer look at the numbers reveals that sales are trending downward. Experts say recent recalls involving unintended acceleration are mostly to blame. And today's news of further recalls will likely haunt the company well into the future. (Listen to the audio here, or read the story below.) Meanwhile, Toyota continues to struggle to attract younger drivers.
The reason, at least partly, lies in what the drivers I interviewed had in common. Most are either middle-aged or have prior experience with Toyotas. Experts say these are the buyers that will return to Toyota. For the younger generation–it may be a harder sell.
Let’s be clear. Toyota is still a very popular brand in this country. The Camry remains the number one passenger car in the US. For most of the last two years, however, the company found itself in an unfamiliar place.