Staged by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Assn., the 2006 New York International Auto Show hosts several vehicle debuts last month. Among them:
Benz E-Class Gets Aggressive: Mercedes-Benz marks this year's New York show with the introduction of a restyled E-Class sedan that benefits from the brand's stable of advanced engines.
The '07 E-Class, due in U.S. showrooms a few weeks after its June arrival on European dealer lots, features a more aggressive front bumper and lower air dam to complement its restyled grille, headlights, rear bumper and taillights. The car's side mirrors also have a new aerodynamic shape.
Interior changes include a 4-spoke steering wheel, redesigned shift lever and revised climate control layout - all bathed in new color schemes.
Saturn's Second Chance: Saturn Corp. pulls the curtain back on its future, unveiling three new models here designed to give the brand “America fell in love with in the '90s” a second chance.
They are: the Aura sedan, Sky Red Line roadster and new Lambda-based Outlook cross/utility vehicle.
“America fell in love with the brand in the '90s, but we didn't build a portfolio of products fast enough,” says Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak. “Now we're on a mission.”
Suzuki XL7 Stretches It: American Suzuki Motor Corp. stages the debut of the '07 XL7 midsize cross/utility vehicle.
It replaces the outgoing model of the same name. The new vehicle is based on a stretch version of the Theta platform that underpins GM's Chevy Equinox and Pontiac Torrent CUVs, and, therefore, is able to seat seven people vs. the Equinox and Torrent's 5-passenger seating. The XL7 also offers 5-passenger seating.
Hyundai to Bolster CUV Lineup: Hyundai Motor America says it will bolster its cross/utility vehicle lineup with a model bigger than the Santa Fe, by early next year.
In addition to its bigger size, the vehicle will be “a unique take on the CUV, with some innovative features,” John Krafcik, vice president-product development and strategic planning, says at the New York International Auto Show here.
Patriot to Be Lowest-Priced Jeep: Chrysler Group says its new Patriot cross/utility vehicle will be the lowest-priced model in the Jeep lineup.
The CUV, which shares its platform with the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass, will come in below the Compass' recently announced $15,985 base price, executives say here at the Patriot's unveiling.
The Compass hits the market this summer, while the Patriot will make its way to U.S. dealer showrooms in the third quarter, along with the new Wrangler Unlimited 4-door model also revealed here.
One of the reasons Jeep will price the Patriot below Compass is its more youthful targeted buyer, says Joe Eberhardt, Chrysler executive vice president-global sales, marketing and service.
“You can't market to younger buyers without hitting the mark on price,” Eberhardt says.
Redesigned Altima Eyes Rivals: Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. takes the wraps off the all-new Nissan Altima sedan. It goes on sale in the U.S. in the fall.
A hybrid-electric vehicle version, Nissan's first HEV, is set to debut in winter 2007.
The Altima is Nissan's best-selling vehicle in the U.S. The current-generation Altima led the brand's resurgence in the first half of the decade, with sales of 255,371 units in 2005. The Altima last year was the fifth best-selling passenger car in the U.S. While Nissan admits it could have rested on its laurels and just tweaked the vehicle's appearance, the auto maker is well aware that competitors are closing in.