The Truth About The New York Auto Show
There are some amongst us who hate auto shows in general and any given auto show in specific. They see the pistonhead conclaves as a soulless smorgasbord of automobiles in aspic, with side tables filled with deep fried hype. I don't share the antipathy. Where else can you go and see PR flacks spinning each other? It's like Paris after 911, when French café waiters were forced to be rude to each other. Oh yeah, and there are lots of cars for dissing, dismissing and, occasionally, drooling. Live, from New York! It's Here's What You Missed!
After years of W-THIST (Where the Hell is it?), Volkswagen is bringing a 50-state compliant diesel engine to the US, nestled into the snouts of the Rabbit and Jetta. Even better, VW has married the brawny diesel (140hp and 230 lb-ft of torque) with their world beating six speed DSG transmission. Best of all, the parsimonious granola eater's oil burner (40 mpg) is an ideal alternative to the thirsty AND anemic 2.5 liter buzz-box currently infesting the U.S. model range. So why not the Passat?
The CX-F is a drop-dead gorgeous concept car from a Ford subsidiary on the brink of dropping dead. This four-wheeled Hail Mary pass is a radical departure from Jaguar's recent design heritage; it's got about as much to do with the S-Type as American car buyers. Ian Callum was at the New York auto show to talk the talk about how his company's new look can pull it back from the brink. Again. Still. But the CX-F concept car wasn't there to walk the talk. This led to some talk: why does someone want the CX-F to disappear? Or has Jag's ballroom budget been busted?
Surprise! Kia didn't have the most exciting cars on display at the New York auto show. I wanted to ask a flackling a few questions, but their display was all about Pink Floyd. Is there anybody out there? out there? out there? Nope. The Kia Rondo taxi cab concept spoke for itself. As the Ford Crown Vic dies, the taxi fleet market is looking for the next cheap thing. With no upmarket retail image to sully, Kia would be happy to oblige.
Last but least, Toyota showed the ugliest car Toyota has built in recent memory. Whereas the new Camry and RAV4 sit somewhere between bland, sharp looking and modern, the new Highlander runs the gamut from vile to noxious to Nosferatu. Not to put too fine a point on it, it's a rolling emetic.
Strange to say, Toyota's becoming more American every day. Think about it: too many overlapping products (Highlander, RAV4, 4Runner), expecting ugly cars to sell on their strong brand name (Highlander) and investing in new SUVs while gas prices ascend to the heavens (Highlander). See? Another great reason to go to the show: you can watch assimilation in action. Or is that inaction?
Johnson on Apr 10, 2007too many overlapping products What other examples of overlapping products are there? Toyota's lineup is probably the last one I would mention in terms of overlap. I don’t have the specs on the new Highlander, but the old one was a mid size crossover-SUV built on the Camry platform. The RAV4 is a compact size built on the Corolla platform. The 4Runner is a mid-size built on a truck platform. The 2008 Highlander will be 3 inches longer than the 2007. Thanks for bringing that up. 3 different vehicles on 3 different platforms. 2 are crossovers, one is a body-on-frameIt's not even confirmed that there will be a next-gen 4Runner. Certainly not an overlap problem. If one wanted to talk about overlap, no need to go further than GM's new full size CUVs. There is the GMC cadia, the Saturn Outlook, a coming Chevy version, and a rumoured Cadillac version. Toyota in 2007 = Chevrolet in 1985? Not quite. Let's all stop jumping to conclusions. In 1985, there were already many omnious signs that GM was in big trouble in the future, and instead of trying to improve the situation, GM continued making bad decisions all the way through the 90s up until 2007, where they still continue to make bad decisions.
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