My son and I went to New York on our annual
trek to see live and in person whatâ€™s going on in the automotive universe. Between the two of us, we have subscriptions
to just about every American automotive magazine. These journals have already covered just
about every car introduction this year with the Detroit, Los Angeles, Geneva
and Chicago auto shows all having taken place already. Nothinâ€™ like seeing them in all their plastic
and sheet metal glory, though, to get a feel whatâ€™s cool and what are the hot
While my son and I donâ€™t
agree on a lot about cars, we do agree about the trends in the automotive
- Bigger cars â€“ Everythingâ€™s getting bigger. The Camry, Accord and Altima are huge
compared to what they used to be.
They compete with Buicks now.
Not only in size, but in price.
Lexus just introduced an L version of its LS series to compete with
the gi-normous versions of the Mercedes S Class, BMW 7-series and Audi
A8. This doesnâ€™t even count cars
like the Maybach (even the small one), Rolls Royce, Bentley, etc. Check out the Chrysler Imperial concept
if you want to see a huge car for more pedestrian wallets. These cars have more rear seat legroom
than my living room.
- Convertibles â€“ It ainâ€™t the 80â€™s any more when
no matter how high your stack of cash, you couldnâ€™t buy yourself a
convertible. Most companies have
two-seat convertibles now and there are more 2+2 and 4 seat convertibles
available this year than ever. Iâ€™m
just waiting for another 4-door convertible like the â€™63 Lincoln
Continental Convertible (yup, picture JFKâ€™s last ride).
- Hardtop convertibles â€“ An extension of the last
point, many companies are now producing convertibles with folding hardtops
that slip into the trunk at the touch of a button. These have been out for a couple of
years in high-end cars (Mercedes has two, Lexus has one, Cadillac has
one), but now theyâ€™re becoming available on lower-end cars. Volvo just introduced the C70, VW the
EOS and Pontiac has a hardtop option on the G6 that looks nice. The idea here is that these cars are now
better suited to year-round use.
Better not be thinking of bringing your golf clubs, though.
- Gas guzzlers – $70+/barrel oil doesnâ€™t seem to
be stopping the auto industry from producing cars that consume a load of
fossil fuel. Between big cars and
high-performance cars, there are more options now to blow holes in the
ozone layer than ever before. This,
of course, includes muscle cars.
The Mustang is already
selling in multiple forms; the concept Camaro
looks great as does the concept Dodge Challenger.
- Chrysler â€“ My son doesnâ€™t agree with this one,
but I think the Daimler-Chrysler thing has paid off big. Chrysler is producing seriously cool
vehicles at a wide range of price points.
Cars that appeal to young and old.
To people seeking luxury, performance or utility. They are innovating in style and
performance and theyâ€™re introducing new cars quickly to a rapidly changing
market. Check out the range from
the Caliber to the Sprinter. It helps when you get to use your
parentâ€™s old Mercedes platforms and mechanicals.
pictures of the event here.