Like many car enthusiasts, Juliana Curran Terian, President and CEO of Rallye Auto Group in Roslyn, is eager to see the new models that carmakers take the wraps off of at the New York International Auto Show.
The show, which will be held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan March 30-April 8, inspires an annual pilgrimage of car enthusiasts and auto industry types. As of mid-February, most carmakers still hadn’t announced what new models they planned to show at the event, but some clues snuck out.
“We don’t know what they’re going to show us because even they, at the last minute, they’re scrambling to see what they’re going to be able to finish to put in the show,” Terian says, noting that carmakers also tout new models at other car shows around the globe each year and try to top themselves each time.
The carmakers typically hold preview events in New York for car dealers and reporters, right before they open the show to the public. Typically, much of the biggest new car news winds up being announced at those press events.
Terian has been attending the New York show for about 15 years.
“I remember when smart cars first came out and the cars that I saw at the auto show weren’t necessarily the cars that we were able to get to sell,” she says. “I loved those and when I went to Europe and went to the auto show, those were always the most fun. They had all the electric cars.”
Rallye Auto Group — which has separate Acura, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz dealerships on Long Island — doesn’t carry such vehicles since “there’s not a big ask for electric in our market,” she says. “We do more luxury cars in our neighborhoods where our dealerships are.”
The all-electric cars aren’t as popular as the hybrid car models that use gas and electric, she notes, saying hybrid models are “really the way to go in the future.”
On the luxury car front, Terian said she had heard Lexus will probably show the 2018 LS (luxury sedan) at the New York show, calling that a “beautiful car” that she saw in summer 2017 at the annual dealer meeting in Colorado. Lexus confirmed that it will be showing the new LS at the show.
The carmaker already announced that new flagship LS at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January and even ran a Super Bowl ad for it. Terian expects that model to be available in March, by the time the New York show starts.
It’s also possible that BMW will show the 2019 i8 hybrid Roadster, she says. BMW declined to provide any details on what it planned to tout at the New York show. But the carmaker already showed that model at the Los Angeles Auto Show last year.
The convertible car “has a soft top that opens in 15 seconds,” Terian says of the model, predicting it will be “hot” and customers are “going to eat it up” – especially the ones who like to be the first ones to get something.
“If it’s beautiful and it’s environmentally responsible,” that’s a big plus.
So far, Rallye hasn’t carried a lot of hybrid car models simply because the brands its dealerships carry haven’t offered that many, she notes.
“But whenever there’s a car that you can get either all gas or hybrid… people go for the hybrid,” she says. “I bet our customers would be more interested in safety features than in hybrids if they had to choose one thing to pay more for… especially the Mercedes customer.”
It also remains to be seen if any carmakers will showcase autonomous/self-driving car models at the New York show.
“If any of our customers would be interested in it, I think they would have one as the other car; like the second car would be one, or maybe the fifth car,” Terian says.
Although the technology is close to becoming available, it also remains to be seen how fast they will make it on our roads because “people want to drive their own car,” she says.