April 16 - Toyota hits the reset button on the Camry, the best selling sedan in America, giving it a sportier edge. On the high end, Alfa Romeo makes its first return to the American spotlight in two decades and others sharpen their attack on Tesla as the New York International Auto Show kicks off. Lily Jamali reports.
Automakers went full throttle - inside and outside the halls of the New York Auto Show. LandRover unveiling its concept vehicle, the Discovery, aboard the deck of the aircraft carrier Intrepid …. And atop what was the once the world's tallest skyscraper: Ford reassembled the new version of its iconic pony car to celebrate the 50th birthday of the Mustang. Luxury nameplates tend to dominate the New York auto show, a reflection of its setting in the world's financial capital. Alfa Romeo made by Fiat Chrysler is the car that Dustin Hoffman rode in The Graduate. It returns to the U.S. market after a 20 year absence. Edmunds.com Senior editor Bill Visnic says the return of this two-seat sportster shows Fiat Chrysler is anxious to regain a foothold in the lower end of the U.S. luxury market. SOUNDBITE: BILL VISNIC, SENIOR EDITOR, EDMUNDS.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The bandwidth at the bottom is where a lot of the action is in the luxury market and in the premium segments so Alfa Romeo should fit in really well there as you start to work into the midrange of the premium market." Other luxury nameplates are taking on Tesla with plug-in models, such as the Cadillac ELR, Porsche Panamera, and the BMW i3 and i8. Ludwig Willisch is the head of BMW North America: SOUNDBITE: LUDWIG WILLISCH, PRESIDENT, BMW NORTH AMERICA (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's a much more compelling offer from A to Z. And the i8 is tomorrow's supercar. If you look at the fact that it accelerates from 0 to 60 in a bit more than four seconds on the one hand, and goes up to 90 MPG - that's something that has not been accomplished so far by anybody else." Should Tesla be worried? Bill Viznic says the market for electric vehicles has a long way to go. SOUNDBITE: BILL VISNIC, SENIOR EDITOR, EDMUNDS.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's still a niche frankly and there's not a lot of volume there. So as everyone at once wants a presence there and establish their environmental credentials if you will, the hard case on the business is a little less compelling." Less glitzy, but more important to the average consumer: the hotly competitive mid-size sedans. Toyota refreshed its Camry, by taking its style up a notch. It comes at a crucial time because it has been America's best-selling car for the last 12 years, and it got momentarily eclipsed by the Nissan Altima earlier this year. And those Japanese automakers can't rest easy because Hyundai just showed off its updated Sonata. Now with winter's massive snowstorms in the rear-view mirror, consumers have returned to showrooms, bringing about a rebound in sales. Automakers see that momentum continuing into this month.