News / USA

    SUVs Dominate at New York Auto Show

    SUVs Dominate at New York Auto Showi
    X
    Tina Trinh
    March 27, 2016 10:33 AM
    Bigger has almost always defined the U.S. consumer autombile marketplace. And this year’s New York International Auto Show won't disappoint those customers — as automakers across the board offered up new SUV's and crossovers. But as VOA reporter Tina Trinh discovered, unlike an earlier era, new designs and technologies are changing the cars’ image as clunky, gas guzzlers.
    Tina Trinh

    Whether classic or futuristic, the cars at the New York International Auto Show are nothing if not flashy. As automakers unveiled the latest models to get consumers revved up, the theme this year seemed to be "go big or go home," but more specifically, go with an SUV.

    Automakers across the board offered new SUVs and crossovers, reinforcing the sector's popularity among consumers. Technological developments have increased the fuel efficiency of these vehicles, abolishing the image of SUVs as gas guzzlers. 

    The Lincoln Motor Co. nearly stole the show with its large SUV concept car, the Navigator. American actor and company spokesman Matthew McConaughey even made an in-person appearance alongside Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra, who described the current market for SUVs as "red hot."

    "The segment of large premium SUVs is very strong. It’s about 170,000 units here and globally it’s much bigger. The markets that are important to us are North America and China and the Middle East. So we paid a lot of attention to those customers and their needs," said Galhotra. "These are customers who need a lot of space to move their friends and family and cargo. And this is a customer that also needs a lot of capability."

    As a concept car, it’s not likely the Navigator  with its grand gullwing doors and concertina steps will make it to your local dealership. The vehicle’s luxury sensibility, however, eventually will trickle down to production models. Lincoln executives hope the stylish elements will differentiate the brand in the increasingly popular SUV segment. 

    "Consumers like to ride in SUVs. They like the little extra bit of height that they get. They like that that package feels more utilitarian," said IHS Automotive senior analyst Stephanie Brinley.

    "That interest has been there and what we’re seeing is automakers are meeting that demand," Brinley added. 

    The Lincoln Navigator Concept is shown at the New York International Auto Show, March 23, 2016.
    The Lincoln Navigator Concept is shown at the New York International Auto Show, March 23, 2016.

    Flash, sizzle

    One of those automakers is Cadillac, which showcased the hard-to-miss XT5. With its bold style, the XT5 is for drivers who want to stand out.

    "There are people who want a distinctive car, something that is a face in the crowd, that stands out more," said Uwe Ellinghause, Cadillac chief marketing officer. "This remains one of our major differentiators."

    But, looks aside, will SUVs still cost you at the gas pump? No, as it turns out.

    "Due to lightweight technologies, the weight of these SUVs is no longer so different to a sedan as it was in the past," said Ellinghause. That decrease in weight translates to better mileage in the long run.

    "The delta between a sedan and a comparable SUV for fuel economy is one or two miles to the gallon. It’s not that strong. So even if gas prices do come up again, it’s still a manageable penalty," said Brinley.

    That penalty becomes even more manageable when you factor in electric hybrid technology, like that of the Volvo XC90.

    The interior of the 2017 Volvo XC90 T6 is seen during the media preview of the 2016 New York International Auto Show in Manhattan, New York, March 24, 2016.
    The interior of the 2017 Volvo XC90 T6 is seen during the media preview of the 2016 New York International Auto Show in Manhattan, New York, March 24, 2016.

    Fuel efficiency

    Lex Kerssemakers, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, pointed out how the company’s XC90 SUV was one of the most fuel-efficient of the category.

    "Volvo has elected to go for very fuel-efficient, four-cylinder turbo engines combined with electrification. We offer plug-in hybrid technology, which gives 53 mpg in a big car like the XC90," said Kerssemakers.

    Over at Buick, where SUVs comprise nearly 60 percent of sales, the Buick Encore is the market leader in the small SUV segment.

    Major maneuverability

    Rob Peterson, marketing manager of Buick crossovers, noted that bigger isn't always better when it comes to SUVs.

    "It’s tough to find parking spots when you have a larger SUV," he said. "The Encore has dimensions which work great for parking spots."

    Peterson explained the consumer demand for SUVs. "Much of the move toward SUVS has been driven by the increased capability of SUVs, but in addition, the driving performance, which tends to be much more like a sedan. So people are getting sedan-like performance with [the] drive position of an SUV and the functionality of an SUV as well, and I think that’s moving the industry [and] a lot of customers to these segments.”

    Whether they go for a small, large or crossover SUV, this year U.S. consumers will have plenty to choose from. 

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora