Ah, springtime in New York. Next week the word's auto makers will use the New York International Auto Show as their last big chance to promote their newest and shiniest models – at least until the fall at the Paris auto show.
The New York show bills itself as "America's first and biggest auto show." That's true – and here in 2014, also a little ironic. New York was indeed the site of the first auto show in the United States, and as far as irony goes, it's held in Manhattan, one of places in the United States where you can live and work without owning a car at all.
Yet a million people go to the show at the Jacob Javits Convention Centre. That makes New York important. New York is also the financial centre of the world. Within walking distance of the show you'll find scores of financial analysts who cover the auto industry and have great sway with publicly traded car companies. That makes New York supremely important.
New York is also the centre of the U.S. media universe. From CNN to Fox News and The New York Times and all the rest, reporters, columnists, television personalities and bloggers all descend on the show. Outside the Javits you'll see a lineup of massive satellite trucks beaming their signals around the world. Inside, the journos will be chronicling the announcements and most especially enjoying the free lunch.
Finally, the New York nightlife is a hook for car company types with their fat expense accounts and platinum credit cards. The auto makers endure Detroit in January because it's the home town of the American car business, but they revel in the restaurants and bars of Manhattan. New York is definitely the kind of town where an expense account is enjoyed to the max.
Thus, it's not a surprise to see quite the roster of announcements slated for an auto show which always has its press days right before Good Friday, year after year. Here's a look at what we'll see and hear about next week. The Auto Show runs from April 18 – 27, with press preview days April 16 and 17.
Grab your scorecards, yet more models from BMW: The X4, an X3-based SUV, makes its world debut, alongside the global unveiling of the M4 convertible. The M4 ragtop is lighter than the old M3 version, and boasts a 431 horsepower, 3.0-litre turbo motor. Also, for the first time BMW is showing in the U.S. the BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe, the new X3 and an updated version of the X5 eDrive concept first shown at last fall's Frankfurt motor show.
Muscle car mania: Dodge will give us a peak at the 2015 Dodge Challenger and Charger. Big deal? For sure. Dodge plans to use their production launch to help celebrate the Dodge brand's 100th anniversary this summer.
Hyundai has new ammunition for the mid-size car wars: The 2015 Sonata, the seventh-generation Sonata, has already been shown in South Korea, and now it's our turn. Most think the outgoing Sonata really put Hyundai on the map in terms of making Hyundai a legitimate rival for Toyota, Honda, Ford and all the rest of the world's global auto makers when it arrived as a 2011 model. This car matters to Hyundai, which means the pressure is on.