With the 2011 New York International Auto Show almost over, let's take a look back at last week's press days and use the last major auto show until the Los Angeles Auto Show in the fall to gauge what's happening in the automotive industry--especially when it comes to new products.
Overall, the theme of this year's New York show was fuel economy. Several cars that will be available in the short-term are promising 40 mpg on the highway. The Hyundai Accent sedan and hatchback, the Kia Rio sedan and Rio5 hatchback, and the next Mazda 3 all promise high fuel-economy numbers.
That doesn't mean performance hasn't been forgotten. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle has been given a makeover with a performance bent, and Toyota's FR-S concept promises good looks and taut handling. Chrysler also showed off a 300C SRT8 performance sedan and a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 performance SUV.
Still, with gas prices jumping to over $4 per gallon in much of the country, fuel economy is high on most consumer's minds.
There weren't many pie-in-the-sky concepts shown in New York, in keeping with recent auto-show tradition. The vast majority of cars shown are scheduled for production. Even one or two of the concepts hint at future production cars.
The New York show was quite busy in terms of press previews, which is a sign that despite the challenges presented by high gas prices and supply disruptions caused by the disaster in Japan, the industry is optimistic about the future.
That future, at least in the short term, will include 40 mpg mainstream gas-engined vehicles. Which is a good thing for consumers hurting at the pump.