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Sneak Peek at the New York Auto Show

Thursday, 24 March 2005 12:00 AM

The largest show of its type in the country, the 105-year event will see more than 1,000,000 visitors over the next week.

This year's gathering, one of the largest in recent years, will see two major exhibits in the field outside the cavernous Jacob Javits Convention Center headquarters.

Ford Motor Company's Mazda division will unveil its new MX-5 sportscar in a mini-country fair exhibit in a park across the street from the Javits Center.

Jeep, for the second year running, has set up a full scale test track (complete with running waters) in an exhibition it calls "Camp Jeep NY."

The emphasis on SUV's, sports cars and so-called "muscle cars" in this year's show may be more wishful thinking by auto makers, since the cost of gasoline has almost doubled in the last six months.

Wire reports claim that sales of SUV's have dropped almost 50% among U.S. car makers since the latest run-up in oil prices.

Nonetheless, Pontiac will unveil its new Tempest SUV, which hits the showrooms in late summer.

Mercedes will show a freshened look to its popular M series SUV's.

BMW, a late comer to the market will show a modified 5 series line of sport utility vehicles and a new addition, the M5.

Another trend conspicuously present, is the return of the convertible.

New rag-top offers from Lexus

and Toyota are accompanied by Volkswagen, pushing an old icon, a beetle convertible.

As if to hedge their bets against the current spike in world oil prices, hybrid cars, those using both gas and electricity are being highlighted by U.S. and Japanese car makers.

Toyota is unveiling a concept hybrid SUV which could seat as many six passengers.

Its Lexis luxury division is showcasing a sports sedan which sports a gas/electric engine.

Lexis is also unveiling a concept two-seater, glass roofed roadster, with a 500hp-triple exhaust engine.

It's named the LF-A.

At the other end of the spectrum, Toyota is also exhibiting the latest in one-passenger, economy transportation.

It is called the I-car.

The I-car is a small one-seat four-wheeled run-about that looks like a cross between a wheelchair and a go-cart.

Toyota is testing the car as a potential urban auto alternative in a six month experiment at Expo 2005 which opens this weekend in central Japan.

For those car lovers for whom price is no obstacle, BMW's Rolls-Royce, Volkswagen's Bentley and Mercede's Maybach all have offers that will set you back at least $200,000 (that excludes tax, title and license)

Not surprisingly, those automobiles will be roped off from the general exhibition floor ... it seems the manufacturers were less than enthusiastic in having the crushing NYC crowds "kicking the tires" and "slamming the doors."

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The largest show of its type in the country, the 105-year event will see more than 1,000,000 visitors over the next week. This year's gathering, one of the largest in recent years, will see two major exhibits in the field outside the cavernous Jacob Javits Convention...
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2005-00-24
Thursday, 24 March 2005 12:00 AM
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