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Same-Day Analysis: New York Auto Show 2016: Automakers continue to meet consumer demand for new SUVs




Introductions at the 2016 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) are expected to include a notable focus on sports cars, as well as utility vehicles. In this report, IHS looks at the utilities and cars planned for the show.

IHS Automotive Perspective

  • Significance
    The 2016 New York International Auto Show opens to the media on 23 March, with sports cars and utility vehicles expected to take most of the limelight.
  • Implications
    The show is largely following on trends of the past several major auto shows. Among US auto shows, the New York show tends to play host to more premium introductions, as consumers in the regional market are favourable to premium brands.
  • Outlook
    Growth continues to be forecast for the fate of utility vehicles in the US, particularly for premium makes, and the New York show proves a solid backdrop for US introductions of new models. The car introductions span a wider range of size and price class, although Mercedes-Benz is showing the widest variety of new and updated vehicles. IHS forecast sales of SUVs and CUVs will expand from 6.44 million units in 2015 to 6.77 million units in 2019.

The 2016 New York International Auto Show introductions appear set to be dominated by sports cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs), with a slant toward premium makes. Although specifics of the many utility vehicle introductions are still under wraps, and a surprise or two is expected, IHS has this overview of expected introductions. Trucks have a limited presence, though Nissan will introduce the light-duty Titan that it previewed in pictures at the Chicago auto show.

Utility vehicles continue to star

Among the utility vehicles, both sport utilities and crossover utilities (SUV and CUV) being introduced at the 2016 NYIAS that have been confirmed, several are mid-cycle facelifts and powertrain updates. Mitsubishi will introduce the US to the Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, Toyota reveals a refreshed Highlander, Acura promises a new powertrain along with its facelift for the vehicle, Porsche displays the four-cylinder version of the Macan, Mercedes-Benz will show the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 and Maserati will show the Levante, introduced in Geneva a few weeks ago.

Maserati's sales struggled in 2015 after a strong performance in 2014, and it is looking to adding the SUV both to bolster sales and to ensure it is competing in a key segment. Along with showing the vehicle to US buyers, Maserati has announced that US pricing will start at USD72,000 for the 345-hp version and USD83,000 for the 424-hp version. US Maserati sales are forecast to increase from 11,700 units in 2015 to nearly 18,000 units in 2017, with the Levante. Globally, Maserati sales are forecast to jump from an estimated 32,470 units in 2015 to about 48,000 in 2017.

Mitsubishi has been selling the Outlander PHEV in other markets since 2015, and the vehicle joins the US line-up in 2016. Although Mitsubishi has not confirmed US specifications, it is likely to share mechanicals and performance of the global vehicle. This will include a twin-motor all-wheel-drive (separate motors at front and rear axles) and Mitsubishi's S-AWC all-wheel drive control system and an all-electric range of 32 miles. 

Cars still have a presence

On the side of traditional cars, a new-generation Subaru Impreza will be revealed. As the first product from an all-new Subaru architecture due to underpin other future models, this is a significant vehicle for the brand, aside from its volume success. The Impreza's US sales were at 66,785 units in 2015, although IHS forecasts the new model will see volume reach about 81,000 units in 2017. 

Alfa Romeo is set to provide a US introduction for Alfa Romeo Giulia variants, after the car was unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. For US specification, the Giulia and Giulia TI models will join the previously announced 505-hp Quadrifoglio. The Giulia and Giulia TI will use the 276-hp 2.0-litre direct-injection turbo four-cylinder, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission co-developed with ZF; an all-wheel-drive system will be optional. Alfa Romeo has a strong challenge in re-entering the US market in volume, with IHS forecasting brand sales reaching 37,000 units in 2018. Although the Giulia is forecast to be the highest-volume product, Alfa says it will be joined by other new products by 2020.

Kia is reported to be showing its updated Cadenza in New York, already on sale as the K7 in South Korea . The front-drive, V-6-powered sedan competes with the Toyota Avalon and Buick LaCrosse, and shares architecture with the Hyundai Azera. IHS forecasts US sales will grow to nearly 11,700 in 2017 with the update, compared with 7,343 in 2015. Despite the sales growth, Kia Cadenza is a small player, as the Avalon sold over 60,000 units in 2015 and the LaCrosse more than 42,000 units.

Other new cars expected in New York are the Mitsubishi Mirage G4, an updated sedan version of the Mirage hatchback, a mid-cycle facelift for the Mercedes-Benz CLA and CLA AMG, and an update for Chevrolet's Sonic that improves the level of technology offered to include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and freshens its design. The show will feature at least one significant concept, as Genesis has confirmed a new concept will be shown. According to Hyundai, the product will indicate direction for the next vehicle in the Genesis range, the G70. This replaces what was the Genesis under Hyundai, and will slot below the Genesis G90 introduced at NAIAS in January. The Genesis reveal in New York is of particular significance as the region is strong in premium vehicle sales. 

Outlook and implications

Growth continues to be forecast for utility vehicles in the US, particularly for premium makes, and the New York show proves a solid backdrop for US introductions of new models. The car introductions span a wider range of size and price class, although Mercedes-Benz is showing the widest variety of new and updated vehicles. IHS forecasts that sales of SUVs and CUVs will expand from 6.44 million units in 2015 to 6.77 million units in 2019.

Although the introduction of utility vehicles continues at a strong pace, IHS forecasts US sales of premium segment SUVs and CUVs will grow more slowly over the next several years. IHS forecasts premium utility vehicle sales are forecast at 1.1 million units in 2019, up from 1.0 million in 2015. With more entries still to come, this will make competition among premium utilities get more difficult. Utility vehicles in the standard price class are forecast to grow from 5.44 million units in 2015 to 5.61 million units in 2019, showing more promise on a volume basis. As makes like Maserati and Bentley enter the utility vehicle market, are forecast to reach 58,000 units in 2019, compared with only 208 in 2015.

About this article

The above article is from IHS Automotive Same-Day Analysis of automotive news, events and trends, and is a deliverable of the World Markets Automotive Service. The service averages thirty stories per day and also provides competitor and country intelligence. Get a free trial.