The Jacob Javits Convention Center traditionally plays host the New York Auto Show. It is at this gathering where car dealers, collectors, and imagineers gather for a few days this year, between April 5 to 15 in order to discuss concepts, directions, car safety, and other matters pertaining to the development of the car industry. One of the reason people flock to this exhibit is because of the chance to be able to touch and feel the new vehicles, features, and the technology that comes along with it.
I arrived at the venue a few minutes after the gates officially opened on April 6.The first thing that caught my eye at the venue, aside from the very thick crowd that was already developing very early in the day, were the announcements for meeting and events being hosted by the Greater New York Dealer’s Association or GNYNADA for the various sectors represented in the car industry. This is the same group of car dealers who invite other car companies to unveil their prototype of concept cars from their respective companies.
Along with the rest of the spectators, I held the brand new models and concept cars in awe as I walked the arena trying to gather and understand as much information as I could about these concept cars of the future. This is more than just a car show; it was a salute to the ingenuity and creativity of the human mind.
The first stop on my tour of the convention center was the Toyota FT-HS Hybrid Sports Concept car. Priding itself in being the future of sports cars, the FT-HS boasts of a 400-horse power hybrid power train seamlessly blended into a futuristic triangular shape design. The car’s shape reminded me of an insect’s skeleton while the man in charge of the product demonstration dared us to imagine what it would be like to go from 0-60 in about 4 seconds of driving the car. What sets this car apart from the rest of the concept cars out there, is the way the system uses a lithium ion batter pack. This battery pack allows the car to be driven for a longer period of time without recharging while delivering the power of a vehicle that runs on gasoline. Aesthetically speaking, the car is a winner with its movable roof that is effectively hidden inside the backseat of the car. The driver’s cockpit meanwhile reminds one of being a pilot in charge of sleek and sexy seats that can accommodate a total of 4 people front and back. The car has some space issues though as the space in the backseat is lost once the roof is concealed behind the seats. The control panel is something that will remind one of being in outer space though as it utilizes mini consoles located in either side of the steering wheel. In all, this concept car should be a winner for Toyota when it finally unveils the consumer version of the vehicle sometime in the year 2009 when it is expected to finally hit the market. Toyota expects the FTS to be the leader of the pack in regards to being the most ecologically friendly yet stylish car on the market in the year 2009. After all, the company has spent all these years developing the car of the 21st century that will, they hope, be the blueprint for all the future car engineering and designs to come.
One of the cars that stole the show was the Dodge Demon Concept car. The exterior of the car portrays class, elegance, and simplicity in a modern car designed to please the eyes and perform on the road as well. Where the Toyota FT is futuristic and ambitious in design, the Demon opts instead for functionality and shows us what the roadster of the future will be like. According to the sales pitch at the fair, the Chrysler designed Dodge Demon concept car is setting out to become the attainable dream car for those with the imagination to own one. What attracted me to this car was the six speed manual transmission. A rear wheel driven 172-horse power monster machine will first be released as a 2.4 liter engine with a possible 300 hp 4 cylinder motor being cooked up as a second option to the Chrysler Dodge Demon Concept Car.
In the meantime, Hyundai, a company best known for its heavy machinery shared its vision of a concept car. Christened Genesis, the premium sports sedan is, according to the people in the know, set for a 2008 release date. I was told that the sedan is similar to the Dodge Demon in the sense that it also uses rear wheel drive technology via a Tau DOHC 32-valve V-8 power train. In terms of handing, the product hawkers in the Hyundai area boasts of almost perfect handling and steering thanks to the car’s Electronic Stability Control. This is one car that can boast of its leading safety features. What with eight air bags as well as some newly developed, first of its kind safety technology as a standard built into all Hyundai cars, this car is a virtual life saving machine on the road. All of these, plus much more can be expected from a car that can go from 0 to 96 km/h within 60 seconds. Being the first V8-powered car of its kind from this maker, there are high hopes that the concept car will be able to go full thrust into manufacturing and sales of the Genesis by the middle of the year 2008. The starting price for this car is expected to be below the US $ 30,000.00 price tag for the V6 motor model and US$35,000.00 for the V8 model.
Those who attended the fair looking for a car capable of bringing the driver and the rider to a heightened sense of harmony in their lives found a car to admire in the Mazda Ryuga concept vehicle. The dominating theme for the design of this car seemed to be solidarity and fluidity in a design that hid its complexity in the simplicity involved in its development. Using flow textures designed to highlight the door trimming of the Ryuga, the interior of the vehicle evoked class and elegance in the use of leather and polished aluminum with some translucent plastic designed to keep in line with the already existing Mazda interior car designs. With the car door concept borrowed from the European cars such as the Lamborghini, the Ryuga allows a passenger to get in and out of the car with great ease. Inside the driver’s cockpit, one is treated to a feast for the eyes and emotions as the passengers and driver enjoy one of the most comfortable and spacious car interiors ever designed. Though this concept car is not meant for the open car market any time soon, the Ryuga’s intriguing concept and design leaves a real car aficionado wanting to see how this kind of car will handle on the open road with baited breath.
I ended my tour of the New York International Auto Show Concept Cars with a visit by the show area of the good old reliable Chevrolet Camaro Convertible concept car. The people already milling around the newest incarnation of the coupe told me that it would not be an auto show without the Camaro. Already considered a staple at the auto shows, there is not much that was changed in the latest incarnation of this car. The most noticeable change in this car seems to be that the current concept of the car does not come with any sort of weather protection because the car has no roof to keep the weather elements at bay. Considering that the Camaro and the coupe from the same company share more similarities rather than marked differences, the main treat when gawking at the Camaro has to be the meticulous attention paid by the design team to the interior and exterior of the car. Basically, the Camaro, a convertible, is made up to look like the clone of a sports coupe. Those familiar with the style and substance that make a Camaro special realize that there was not much effort put into the development of the concept car this year because their concept seems to be the Camaro pretending to be a Coupe. But, in terms of car interiors, the Camaro, if compared to coffee, is a perfect blend of retro chic and cutting edge modern designs in a white backdrop. With regards to the engine performance of this newest Camaro concept car, little remains unchanged. It is similar to the coupe in the sense that both cars share 400 horsepower within a six-speed rear wheel driven machine. People I talked to and listened to at the Camaro display area were not really disappointed that there weren’t much changes in the sports car because the Camaro is slow to respond to changes. What they did seem to notice is the seeming lack of imagination on the part of the Camaro engineers to try and develop a more exciting concept car for the auto show.