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Friday, March 22, 2013

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New York Auto Show Revs Luxury, SUVs, Eco-Engine Cars

Posted 03/22/2013 07:17 PM ET
The New York International Auto Show opens next Friday after a two-day press preview, with luxury vehicles and SUVs expected to garner some limelight, along with high-tech, energy-efficient engines.
The all-new Cadillac CTS at the show and for sale later this year — among several expected General Motors (GM) introductions — will have "GM's first twin-turbocharged V-6 engine," said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst at auto site, calling it a "similar concept" to the Ford (F) EcoBoost engine.
That engine, introduced in 2009, is now in many Ford vehicles, with 1.6 million slated to be made this year. It's a technologically enhanced way (turbocharging, direct injection, etc.) of delivering up to 20% more fuel economy than a larger engine with comparable power.
Luxury vehicles account for nearly a quarter of sales in the New York region, including New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, says Edmunds. Its research shows that part of the country also heavy on foreign-car buying, with the Honda (HMC) Accord the top seller in 2012. The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Escape SUVs are the only U.S. vehicles that made the top 20 cars list for 2012 in sales there, Caldwell said on a conference call with Jefferies & Co. this week. She added that Chrysler will be showing its "fairly controversial" design for the new Jeep Cherokee.
"SUVs have a strong presence in the N.Y. lineup, including the (Tata Motors (TTM) 2014 Range Rover Sport, the 2014 Acura MDX, the 2014 Infiniti QX60 hybrid, and the 2014 Toyota (TM) Highlander," Jefferies analysts Peter Nesvold and Elaine Kwei said in a research note Friday. "Luxury vehicle debuts will include the 2014 Cadillac CTS, the Audi A3 sedan, and the 2014 Mercedes CLA 45 AMG."
Edmunds puts Daimler's (DDAIF) Mercedes-Benz at the top of the region's luxury sales race this year, followed by BMW. The positions were switched last year.
Tesla Motors (TSLA) doesn't plan to show its vehicles at the show, though a spokeswoman says the company aims to take part in theWorld Car of the Year award. The Tesla Model S is a finalist in the 2013 World Green car category along with the Renault Zoe, the Smart Electric Drive, the Volkswagen (VLKAY) Jetta Hybrid and Volvo (VOLVY) V60 Plug-in Hybrid Diesel.
Earlier this month, Tesla's European sales effort formally launched at the Geneva International Motor show. The luxury electric car maker's sales chief, George Blankenship, said Thursday in the Tesla blog that Model S sedan deliveries in the past three weeks have averaged more than 500 a week.
"It looks like we'll be setting another record this week," he wrote.
Automaker announcements are often timed to shows such as the New York International Auto Show, which is at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. Ford said Friday that it will start an EcoBoost engine ad campaign in the next couple weeks, Automotive News reported.