New York doesn’t usually play second fiddle to other global cities, but this year its motor show opened in the shadow of Shanghai, which scooped most of the significant world debuts as a result.
It was left to Jaguar and Lexus to blaze a trial in the world’s biggest market for luxury cars by unveiling new models that didn’t appear in China.
Jag showed off a significantly revamped XF saloon and lightly tweaked XK sports car in NY, while Lexus offered a crystal ball view of its next range of saloons with the LF-Gh hybrid concept.
Jag targeted its reveals at the two different shows — China got the new V6 petrol XJ — and backed them both with appearances from CEO Ralf Speth who travelled overnight directly from China to the US to speak at the New York reveal.
Several of Shanghai’s major debutantes were unveiled a day later in the US, most notably the second-gen new VW Beetle, which looks a clever and more sophisticated replacement for the cutesy first-gen new Beetle.
Mercedes went to the trouble and expense of building a second model of the fetching new Concept A for the US show, and then puzzled showgoers by hedging whether the A-Class hatch might not go on sale there after all.
One cynic joked that the NY appearance of the A-Class in Wall Street’s backyard might be explained as an attempt to lift Daimler’s share price.
Abundant horsepower was back on the agenda with a brace of Hemi-powered monsters from Jeep and Chrysler and fire-breathing V8 AMGs respectively.
Fuel economy still matters in the US, though, Nissan, Honda and Subaru made ‘gas mileage’ of their new compact cars key planks of their presentations.
All in all a better show than many recent New Yorks and more encouraging signs that the industry is back in the groove.