As the second media day concludes at the 2019 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), automakers in attendance are preparing for the 1 million plus expected visitors that will grace the showroom floor over the next week. America’s busiest auto show opens tomorrow, and it is seen by automakers as the last chance to create a lasting impression on potential buyers in 2019, as it is the last major show of the “auto show season” that begins in January.
Auto shows provide the auto industry the best opportunity to have its brand-new products seen by the public, and for the U.S. market, there is no better place than New York. While Detroit remains the unofficial car capital of the country, New York boasts a larger market. According to NYIAS show officials, 63% of 2018 show attendees said that after attending the show they would consider buying a car that was on display within the next 12 months, a truly impressive statistic. The 2008 auto crisis is barely visible in the rear-view mirrors, as automakers sold 17.2 million cars in the U.S. last year. The occasional emissions scandal aside, the auto industry is in a good place, and automakers unveiled over 50 new cars over the last two days.
As one of the largest global markets, automakers must appeal to American buyers and what they want to be successful here. In 2018, Americans bought just shy of 12 million new “light trucks”, meaning pickup trucks and SUVs. That figure is impressive, up 8% from 2017, and makes America the most important market in the light truck segment. Perhaps even more significant, passenger cars, or sedans, were down 13% last year. It comes as no surprise then that most automakers in attendance this year at NYIAS featured an array of different SUV and crossover options.
To compete in America’s competitive light truck market, automakers are diversifying, adding many different options. A perfect example of this is American luxury brand Lincoln, who just unveiled its fifth SUV, the Corsair, at New York. The Corsair is considered to be a “compact” SUV, sitting below the Nautilus, Aviator, and Navigator, the latter being its flagship and largest SUV. Lincoln VP and Chief Marketing Officer Joy Falotico described the Corsair and being “harmonious” and “youthful”.
It wasn’t just American car makers expanding their SUV lineups, as German brand Mercedes-Benz revealed its new high-end luxury GLS. Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler stressed that it has top-of-the-line luxury features, such as two 12-inch displays, new voice commands, and Mercedes-Benz’s Energizing Comfort features, such as ambient lighting, massage seats, and air fragrances. Automakers are putting all of their resources into producing high quality SUVs for the U.S. market. Among the other lineup-expanding new SUVs and crossovers unveiled at New York are the new Toyota Highlander, Subaru Outback, and Hyundai Venue.
As visitors fill the showroom floors at the Jacob K. Javits Center tomorrow, they will be greeted by hundreds of cars, with every car maker in attendance looking to make an impression on potential buyers. As Americans continue to buy SUVs in record numbers, automakers hope to make a good impression in New York.