With Covid shutdowns in their rearview mirrors, the organizers of the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) were back on track this year. As has been their scheduling regimen, there were two press days on the Wednesday and Thursday before Good Friday, with the public days running from Good Friday through the Sunday after Easter. I was again able to attend on a press pass (issued to “Richard of Richard’s Car Blog” for the first time), and unlike my previous experiences, the show was completely set up on Wednesday. (Previously, attending on a press day meant dodging cars and displays being maneuvered into place by NYC union workers.)
As was noted in the blog post from the 2022 NYIAS, the traditional in-person auto show is dead, but only for some manufacturers. Notable by their absence were BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Mazda. Surprisingly, some corporate nameplates were there while sister brands were not. So we had Chevrolet, but not Buick, Cadillac, or GMC; Honda, but not Acura; Nissan, but not Infiniti; VW, but not Audi or Porsche; and Ford, but not Lincoln. Yet big splashes were made by Stellantis (Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo), Toyota (including Lexus), and Subaru. The Koreans were there in full force, with cars from Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis. (It is worth noting that Audi and Porsche each had a small four-car display provided not by the manufacturer but by a local dealer.)
Compared to last year, there was a dearth of EV start-ups. INDI and VinFast, both with vehicles on display in 2022, were MIA this year. However, both the main level and lower level had more real estate devoted to EV test tracks, where willing attendees could hitch a ride in an EV. It is, of course, their lack of an emissions-spewing tailpipe that makes it possible to run them indoors.
The show was a case of extremes, with a significant segment of the wares devoted to our EV future, while large pickups and SUVs were also dominant. Many of the trucks showcased the outdoor lifestyle, equipped as they were with tents, cargo boxes, and bike carriers. Subaru was the leader this year in promoting this theme, as their press conference began with an overview of Subaru’s dedication to AWD, enabling owners to take their cars far off the beaten path.
Additional detail from the show is included as part of the photo displays below.
The F-150 Lightning was a large part of Ford’s display, as were both Mustangs: the ICE coupe, and the EV SUV. Various Broncos and pickups showed off their rugged, off-road personalities
Chevy did their best to make it look like it was the domestic EV leader, with many soon-t0-be-released EV trucks on display. The problem: these vehicles are not for sale yet. The EV Silverado was there, same as last year, but still isn’t in any showrooms. However, the one Camaro on the floor represented an end to an era, as the Camaro pony car will soon be no more. Not to be outdone, the Corvette E-Ray was there, looking identical to its ICE siblings. For those who crave maximum size on a body-on-frame platform, the Suburban continues to exist.
As the only domestic manufacturer with a full lineup of its brands on display, Stellantis stood out. It helps that the Ram and Jeep brands have great products and are selling well. A surprise to me was the Dodge Hornet, which I knew to be a brand-engineered version of the Alfa Romeo Tonale. The Hornets on display looked great, and even better, had impressive interiors with inviting seats I hadn’t expected to find in a Dodge. I predict that the Hornet will do well and will handily outsell the Tonale, especially given how little Alfa seems to market its cars in this country.
The RAM REV EV pickup is a disappointment, looking almost nothing like the stunning concept truck which had been shown at the CES a few months prior.
My vote for best-looking vehicle at the show: the Charger Daytona EV concept:
The Hyundai Ioniq 6 is a striking-looking four-door sedan in a world full of SUVs.
The I.D. Buzz, looking like the same one I saw last year, was here again. One of the more clever displays was the lifted I.D. 4, exposing the EV battery “skateboard”.
A large section of the bottom floor was devoted to what looked like a club-sponsored display of JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) cars, perhaps three dozen in all. They were segregated by decade, and it was clearly some of the older ones which grabbed my attention.
EMBLEMS AND BADGES
THE GRILLE WARS CONTINUE
WHAT I DREADED TO SEE IN MY REARVIEW MIRROR IN 1972:
All photographs copyright © 2023 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.