Each year I attend the New York auto show as a group tour leader. I like to tell the people that are in my tour groups about the things they don’t read on the internet; the designers of the cars, the type of leather used in different vehicles, the new technology that hasn’t made it in the vehicles yet. It’s more interactive; my group tells me what they think, which are in line with some of the trends of the day.
This year before I even walked into Jacob Javits Convention Center I noticed the trend of SUVs and minivans on the streets of Manhattan. The most significant retail market change is in the taxis and the police cars. Gone are the Crown Vics, replaced by white Ford SUV and minivans with blue and yellow writing on the police vehicles. The Chevy Caprice and Crown Vic taxis have been replaced with Toyota Prius hybrids and Nissan NV200 vans, still resplendent in taxi yellow.
One of the misconceptions about New York City is that people don’t drive, that they don’t like cars. The only city that has more cars is in Los Angeles, CA. People come from all over the boroughs to the auto show. They come to the show looking for a vehicle.
At the beginning of each tour, I ask if there is a particular car manufacturer anyone wants to see. I ask them if they are looking to buy a car or just window shopping. Here is some of the feedback I received from this year’s groups:
The number one requested vehicle group:
Even though 61% of sales are SUVs and trucks, the most requested group of cars are the exotic group. Manhattan Motors has a centerpiece of exotics in bloom, with each petal a supercar of horsepower or electric sleuth luxury.
Car companies that were a no-show:
This year BMW and Volvo disappointed two of their potential customers. Both auto companies were a no-show at the NYIAS. BMW was the biggest surprise since luxury vehicles are such a significant percentage of New York sales. Volvo is on a roll with all of its gasoline, plug-in hybrid and electric variants of SUVs.
Car companies opting out of auto shows are becoming increasingly apparent. The automotive industry has questioned whether auto shows are becoming a thing of the past. If you go to the auto shows, you will see customers at these shows. It is the one place they can go without a sales person breathing down their neck to buy a vehicle. The people at the auto shows have already done their homework. They know each engine and horsepower and price. They have narrowed their search and are looking at the options in real time.
One couple owned a Lincoln Navigator and was very excited to see the Lincoln Corsair. The Escape is related to the Lincoln Corsair and will replace the MKC. Like the current MKC, the Corsair is forecast to provide as much as 25% of Lincoln’s US sales in the coming years.
Technology – to lease or buy:
One of the guys in my group wanted to buy a vehicle but wasn’t sure whether to lease for two years or purchase, “I usually buy my cars outright, but with how quickly technology is changing I am thinking of leasing every two years instead of buying.”
Twenty-one year old Chris was in my group, and he was looking for a car that would be a classic. Chris just joined the military and will be stationed in Japan for two years. He wants to buy a car and store it until he comes back from his tour of duty. My recommendation was to bank the monthly payment and storage fees and use it as a down payment on a sweet car when he gets back. His favorite cars were the Jaguar I-Pace and the Lincoln Continental with coach doors.
Best car display:
By far, Subaru. If General Motors had Subaru’s advertising, they would be going gangbusters instead of shutting down plants. Every single commercial Subaru creates has animals and the word LOVE in it. Love and animals sell. Subaru’s display included photos of national forests with Subarus driving through them filled with kids and animals. Everyone was having a great time; they were in love with each other and nature. You could hear the birds chirping, the water flowing and smell the pine forest. Every half hour a 2020 Subaru Outback came out of a simulated glacier. Norman Rockwell would have been proud.
Best concept car:
The Genesis mint. Genesis is the luxury side of Hyundai, which is the parent company of Kia. New York City is second only to Los Angeles in luxury car sales, so it is perfect that Genesis brought out a true concept electric coupe SUV. A mint green angular coupe SUV gave clues to the natural beauty and luxury that Genesis is setting its sights on.
Listen to John Batchelor and Lou Ann Hammond talk about the New York International Auto Show
The newest company on the block – Rivian:
If the staid well-known companies don’t show up there is room for the new car manufacturers. If those companies thought Tesla was competition they need to look at Rivian.
Ford Invested $500M in Electric Truck Maker Rivian, and Amazon invested $700 million. The 2021 Rivian R1T Electric Pickup Is a 400-Mile Electric Pickup Truck. You can get a 250-mile or 300-mile as well.
Currently, the electric vehicles on sale are cars, or supercars. Almost 70% of the vehicles being sold are light duty trucks. While EVs are only 2% of all purchases if you produce an electric truck, will they sell? From the consumers flocking to the Rivian booth, the answer would be yes.
What Rivian is using from the Tesla model is asking each consumer to put a down payment, $1,000, and then another down payment right before build time. Tesla uses a different charger than every other car company, and they are not beholden to car dealerships. With the venture capital from Ford that may be the biggest difference for Tesla.
The competition for electric trucks will be heating up in 2022 with Tesla, BMW, Nissan, and GM already signaling electric crossovers and trucks for the market.