Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2014 New York International Auto Show

By Devan Lau

It’s that time again at the Jacob K. Javits Conventional Center where most automotive enthusiasts and gear heads including myself attend the annual New York International Auto Show. With 840,000 square feet of exhibition space, it is home for showcasing the variety of cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs from many automotive manufacturers, both import and domestic. Many spectators of all ages and from the surrounding tri-state area attend the show to view this year’s latest automotive unveilings and to witness the debut of the latest automotive technologies.

The New York International Auto Show was first held at Madison Square Garden in 1900. This was considered to be the very first automotive show in North America. From 1956 to 1987, it was held at the NY Coliseum at Columbus Circle. After 1987, the NY Auto Show moved to the Jacob K. Javits Center.

There was a myth in 1924 that the NY Auto Show management refused to display the first Chrysler at their premises. The Chrysler Corporation had to display their automobile in the lobby of the Commodore Hotel instead. Despite going through the decades of war, depression, energy crisis, and recession, the NY Auto Show always kept its tradition to debut the latest automotive innovations.

This year’s auto show debuted many new production and concept vehicles and new automotive technologies. The notable debuted production cars unveiled were the 2015 Dodge Challenger, 2015 Infiniti Q70L, and the 2015 Ford Mustang. The notable concept vehicle unveiled was the E-Carriage.

2015 Dodge Challenger: With the return of the Scat Pack and the Shaker since 1970, Dodge is ready to “shake” on the muscle car competition with the 2015 Challenger. New for 2015, the Challenger receives a more retro styling on the exterior with new LED accented headlamps and LED rear tail lamps and a revised split grill similar to the 1970 Challenger. The interior delivers styling influences from the Charger sedan with high quality build materials and an 8.4 inch U-Connect infotainment system display.

The star of the show is its 6.4 Hemi V8 Scat Pack Shaker, producing 485 horsepower with 475 lb. ft. of torque paired with a six-speed manual or the new TorqueFlite eight speed automatic transmission, with four-piston high performance Brembo brakes and 20 inch aluminum wheels. Also included is the functional Shaker cold air induction hood scoop that provides the unique retro-styling. New safety features and technologies in the Challenger included adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, 9-11 call assist, and forward collision warning. The 2015 Challenger is expected to arrive in dealerships in the late summer.

2015 Infiniti Q70L: Since the demise of Infiniti’s Q45 flagship sedan in 2006, Infiniti needed a spiritual successor. Formally known as the M series sedan, the Q70 is not only a restyled version with a new name, it is proving to be the spiritual successor that Infiniti wanted. With the popularity of its German competition, such as the BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes-Benz S Class, Infiniti responded to the competition with the long wheelbase model, the Q70L. The Q70L provides the necessary legroom and comfort along with highly crafted materials, quiet ride, and best in class performance and handling. The aggressive styling with the new double arch grill is based from Infiniti’s smaller sedan, the Q50. Engine choices for the Q70 are 3.7 6 cylinder engine or a 5.6 direct injected 8 cylinder engine, all paired with a 7 speed automatic. The Q70 offers either long or short wheelbase, while the hybrid model only comes in the short wheelbase configuration. Availability dates for the Q70 is currently unavailable but is projected in the late fall to early winter release.

2015 Ford Mustang: The Ford Mustang was first introduced at the 1964 World’s Fair. To commemorate its 50th anniversary, Ford unveiled its 50th anniversary edition for the sixth generation Mustang which was introduced in December of 2013. Ford also pulled the same Empire State Building publicity stunt that was first shown in 1965. To make the car appeared that it is on the Empire State Building, workers have to disassemble the parts individually where it is carried into the elevator and reassemble it at the top of the building.

The styling for the 50th anniversary edition Mustang followed its roots from the 1964 ½ Mustang with the chrome grill and a unique interior with the gauge clusters resembling the gauge font from the 1964 ½ model.  For the 50th anniversary edition Mustang, it will only offer in two color choices: Wimbledon White or Kona Blue. Consumers can also pick either manual or automatic transmission choices. Distinctive 50th anniversary badges can be found on the exterior with the insignia imprinted on the unique two tone cashmere and black leather seats. Only 1,964 of the 50th anniversary edition will be built when it arrives in the fall.

E-Carriage: With the news of animal rights activists and Mayor Bill De Blasio proposing to ban horse drawn carriages, a new proposed alternative has been introduced in the auto show, the E-Carriage. The E-Carriage resembles to a 1920’s Ford Model-T and the city proposes to use 68 of them in Central Park to replace the traditional horse-drawn carriages.

The E-Carriage can accommodate eight passengers and weighs 7,500 lbs. It also contains parts and components that are found in Ford’s commercial trucks. The E-Carriage meets the NHTSA’s safety requirements, with seatbelts for the passengers also included. It is powered by a lithium ion battery pack with an electric motor of 84 horsepower, which provides a driving range of approximately 100 miles. The top speed is 30 mph but will only drive 5 mph due to the strict speed limits in Central Park. The prototype cost $450,000 to be built by the Florida based company, Creative Workshop. If the legislation approves the ban of horse-drawn carriages, New Yorkers and tourists will expect to see more of the E-Carriages in Central Park, ending the era of horse-drawn carriages.

This year’s auto show continued to raise the bar with the debut of innovative automobiles and technologies. The show, which just ended, ran from April 18 until April 27.

For more information: www.autoshowny.com.

Devan Lau is a 22-year-old junior at St. Thomas Aquinas College majoring in Communication Arts. He is a transfer commuter student who previously attended Bergen Community College and received his Associates Degree in Broadcasting. He is hoping to find a career in Television Production and post-production editing in television commercials when he is expected to graduate in Spring of 2015. His favorite past-times and hobbies are going to the NY Auto Show, test driving new automobiles, and listening to Jazz music on 88.3 WBGO.

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