► A full 2015 New York auto show review
► We tell the story of the NYIAS in pictures
► The best bits and themes of the show analysed
The New York International Auto Show is in full swing this week and we’ve been poring over the new metal at the Javits Convention Center to bring you all the latest news from the show. Here we look at the hits - and misses - of the show and tell its story in this picture gallery. Click here for CAR magazine’s full guide to the 2015 New York motor show.
1) The Brits arrived in style at New York 2015
The new-found confidence at Jaguar Land Rover means it is increasingly willing to exploit its Britishness on the world stage. Perhaps because it is run by a German chief executive, Ralph Speth, the company is aware of the power of its sovereignty and the Jaguar XF’s world debut - perhaps the single most important European car at the show - was unveiled amidst a sea of Union Flag umbrella-wielding dancers. It’s an apt metaphor; Jag may need to take a rain-check if it’s got the aluminium-intensive XF and closely related, mini-me XE little brother wrong…
2) Onwards and upwards: luxury sells
With a buoyant US market enjoying a 13th straight month of growth in March 2015, analysts are now predicting annual sales of 17.1 million. And punters are spending more on their cars, the average transaction price rising to $32,200. When the good times are back, expensive, luxurious cars are in vogue and nowhere more so than the Big Apple - one of the epicentres for premium labels and excessive consumption worldwide. So it seems apt that Land Rover chose New York to launch its SVAutobiography, the first £150k Range Rover.
3) McLaren is on the home straight
Ever since CAR magazine first scooped the P11 - the mid-engined supercar that went on to become the MP4-12C - in October 2007 we’ve been waiting for Woking’s full line-up. Now with the 570S’s arrival at New York, we have it. It is the final piece in the McLaren’s jigsaw and, economic conditions notwithstanding, should push the company’s production to 4000 cars a year. It’s telling it’s bigger than the P1 and 650S. The ‘baby McLaren’ is anything but, although the forthcoming detuned 540C due at the Shanghai show will certainly shrink the price tag - down to a likely £126,000. Don’t expect any further reduction in prices or power, however.
4) Porsche is appeasing purists with a flood of special sports cars
The new Boxster Spyder is great news for car enthusiasts. It bears a significance beyond its likely driver-hero status, for it indicates that Volkswagen understands how Porsche must amplify its sporting DNA if it is to carry off the enduring shift into SUVs and saloons with Panamera, Macan, Cayenne and more to follow. We’ll excuse such financial pragmatism if that means we continue to see cars such as the Spyder, Cayman GT4 and 991 GT3 RS. All three have been launched inside a month. Happy days!
5) Handbags at dawn over Lincoln-Bentley ‘copycat’
How Ford bigwigs must rue the fact that a Facebook spat between designers overshadowed the launch of the latest Lincoln Continental concept car. A preview of 2016’s new range-topper, we were more taken by the storm on social media over its Bentliness. Crewe’s design chief took up the cudgels on Lincoln design chief David Woodhouse profile, even asking: ‘Do you want us to send the product tooling?’ Luc Donckerwolke told Car Design News, who spotted the spat: ‘This behaviour is not respectable. Building a copy like this is giving a bad name to the car design world.’
6) Trucks still rule in the US
Behemoths such as the Ford F150, shown here in robust Raptor spec, still rule the roost in the US of A. Head of VW America Michael Horn reminded CAR that 54% of the 17 million cars sold here every year are light utility vehicles or SUVs - ‘and that shows no signs of slowing down at all.’ It’s not helped by gas prices over in New Jersey near the auto show as low as two bucks a gallon. The appetite for small cars such as Smarts and Fiestas has lowered in parallel with the oil price.
7) Lexus’s new grille is becoming so big it’ll soon gobble other cars up
The new RX crossover, the fourth generation to date, made its world debut in New York and it’s a pleasingly distinctive SUV - probably the most desirable yet from Lexus. The company is certainly getting noticed more with its more emotional designs, but we wonder how much bigger the front grille can become. This is one super-sized spindle…
8) Mad Men - and women - come to New York again
In the week that the final series of hit advertising TV show Mad Men airs in the US, it should come as no surprise that celebrity-obsessed Jaguar hired one of its stars, the buxom Christina Hendricks, to unveil the XF. We wonder how Don Draper would have advertised the XF?
9) History still sells, part 1
With a hiatus in its new model launch programme until the part-carbon-bodied 7-series arrives at the autumn’s Frankfurt motor show, BMW scrambled its secret weapon at the New York show: a rich display of the raciest heritage BMs sold in Munich’s 40 years Stateside, including a rather wonderful CSL, a Z4 GT3 and 2002ti. ‘I really want to buy a CSL,’ global marketing chief Ian Robertson confides. ‘I’m on the hunt…’
10) History still sells, part 2
Not to be out-done, Volkswagen took a more hippyish historical approach to New York, with a quartet of even more retrospective Beetles. Contrary to rumour, the Bug remains a brand pillar and will not be phased out as VW slimlines some of its slower-selling model ranges (farewell Eos and three-door Polo, engineering director Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser told CAR). Instead, expect three of these four special editions to launch in 2016, at the same time as the front-drive Beetle Dune.
11) Don’t write off traditional sedans just yet
While sales of SUVs and trucks still hog the US sales charts, home-grown car makers haven’t given up on the traditional three-box saloon just yet. Cadillac’s CT6 (above) is GM’s vision for a premium S-class rival and sat alongside the Lincoln Continental, Chevrolet Malibu, Buick Avenir and Kia Optima as proof that there’s life in the old four-door yet for America’s executives.
12) Subaru's tonic: a go-faster BRZ?
If ever a brand needed a hero car to rally around, it’s Subaru. While still a big player in the US, Scooby’s European operations have shrunk in recent years. And we can’t think of a better way of reviving them than reclaiming some of its rally-bred heritage with a car like this Subaru BRZ with a local-market STI kit. An attention-grabbing bodykit, overhauled chassis and race-spec engine mods pushing power over 300bhp could make a disproportionate impact, we’d wager. Shame they have no plans to build it…
13) Honda Civic Mk10 bows in - and UK-built Type Rs are coming too
The tenth-generation Civic was previewed with this shockingly lime concept car at the New York show. Its debut coincided with news that the UK’s Swindon plant has lost CR-V production but locked in the European Civic. So the Type R hot hatch will be built in Britain and shipped to the US. It’d better be good…
14) Mercedes has so many cars to launch it showed two on one day
As a snapshot of just how busy Daimler is right now, it unveiled not one but two SUVs on the same day. Sort of. As the M-class replacing GLE bowed in at New York, it issued a sketch of what’s coming to Shanghai later in the month: the new GLC Coupe (inset, above). That’s right. The GLK successor is likely to spawn a BMW X4-alike coupe version. Fragmentation continues…
15) It’s still a complicated old world out there
Travelling around New York and its auto show this week is a reminder of just how complex the global auto industry has become. US buyers demand bigger cars and are resistant to downsizing. Europe’s crowded roads suit smaller cars, yet eastern imports such as the Scion iA and iM failed to make a splash at the NYIAS (Jalopnik noted: ‘It looks sort of like someone took Mazda’s basic design language, made a little sedan with it, and then slapped on a Ford Focus grille that’s about two sizes too big’). Diesel sales remain minuscule over here yet elsewhere petrol rules, while everyone - and epecially the Japanese - persists with hybrids. And then there are the complex stylistic demands, local snob value, politics, protectionist import quotas and don’t get us started on emissions and crash regulations around the world… Who’d want to be a car maker navigating this little minefield right now? It's made for a fascinating battleground, played out in one of the most multicultural cities on the planet, New York.