New York Auto Show Gaining Ground on Detroit’s
New York — The New York International Auto Show is proving itself, once again to be one of the strongest auto shows in the world and is even generating chatter among industry watchers that it could challenge the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
After two days of glitzy press reveals, the New York auto show that opened to the public Friday offering an interesting mix of luxury and mainstream vehicles in a city where those who use taxis tend to outnumber those who buy vehicles.
This year’s show in New York is in contrast to this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit that was marked by high-end super cars and exotics like the Ford GT and Acura NSX.
It is all part of the elaborate dance that automakers go through when they decide which vehicles should be shown at which show.
So, can the New York show overtake the Detroit show in terms of importance? It’s a question that can be difficult to answer.
In fact, this year’s New York auto show is so strong that it is viewed by some (Bloomberg) as gaining ground on the Detroit auto show.
“I think it’s a reflection of the growing global automotive industry and I think it reflects how important a number of auto shows are,” said Rod Alberts, president of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association. “We had one of our best years as well.”
With the U.S. auto industry on track to sell more 17 million new cars and trucks this year and the increasingly compressed product development cycles many of the world’s top auto shows are getting stronger.
In January, the Detroit show attracted 5,000 journalists who came from around the world to cover 55 vehicle reveals and more than 808,000 people attended the public days over a two-week period that followed.
That gives the North American International Auto show the ability to claim it is No. 1 in terms of media coverage. But auto shows in Frankfurt, Germany, and Shanghai, China, are in larger venues.
Alberts said about 100 new cars and trucks will be revealed later this month at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in part because China alone has about 170 automakers.
Sometimes, auto shows get lucky because their dates fall in line with the product development cycles of the automakers.
When automakers decide what show in which to debut a vehicle they consider how close a vehicle is to going on sale, the potential media draw of the auto show and the market in which the auto show occurs.
“You will find that with a number of product unveilings; a lot of that has to do with timing,” Alberts said.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, for example, does not show vehicles unless they are within three months of their sale date. This year, the automaker did not have a press conference in New York — a rarity for the automaker.
The other difference is the schedule of top executives. Detroit is still the American show that most CEOs attend and those appearances tend to generate media coverage.
The New York show typically draws the top automotive executives from the North American divisions but fewer CEOs.
There were two notable exceptions in New York last week: Ford CEO Mark Fields was in his hometown because of the importance of the reveal of a Lincoln Continental concept and Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn attended the reveal of the new Nissan Maxima.
Historically, the New York show has been the show automakers pick for important luxury or premium reveals, while the Los Angeles Auto Show is known for attracting the introduction of hybrid cars.
That has begun to change in recent years as both the New York and Los Angeles shows have been used to debut mainstream vehicles.
“I think New York and LA are rising in significance for automakers for similar reasons,” said Nicole Twork of AutoTrader.com. “They are both important lifestyle markets and are key targets for automakers to expand their reach beyond the auto industry.”
The following cars in New York are sure to draw attention as the public prepares to attend:
∎ Lincoln Continental concept; Cadillac CT6; Chevrolet Malibu; Honda Civic coupe;Toyota RAV4: Lexus RX; Nissan Maxima