KEITH CRAIN

Lots of buzz in New York

COMMENTARY
Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News.
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As always, we all caught our breath after the Detroit auto show. Suddenly, it was almost Easter and time for excitement in the Big Apple.

And there was plenty during the New York auto show's press days last week.

Happily, there are always many new-vehicle introductions, and this year was no exception.

What seemed to be missing was a strong green trend -- tree huggers were nowhere to be found. Fuel economy was just part of the landscape, and the emphasis seemed to be more on horsepower.

It was nice to see the celebration for the Ford Mustang's 50th.

And putting a Mustang on top of the Empire State Building again paid tribute to the original stunt in 1965.

New York had plenty of executives on hand from all points of the globe. Everyone seemed to agree that Europe finally is getting out of its sales doldrums.

The other big buzz had to be General Motors and the appearance of CEO Mary Barra in New York. When she spoke at the 2014 Automotive Forum sponsored by NADA and J.D. Power and Associates and took some questions, the reaction was the same as when she appeared in front of Congress. If you agreed with her, she was great; if you didn't, she was terrible. Every day brings some new revelations about GM's conduct over the past decade, and that won't stop anytime soon.

The broadcast media were in a feeding frenzy in New York, and the whole episode was pretty ugly. GM's recall woes seem to be supplying lots of fodder for those folks who are already suspicious of the auto industry.

I only hope that GM's problems don't have an impact on the entire industry.

As always, executives at the show seemed to be optimistic about car sales the rest of the year. I didn't hear one spouting doom and gloom.

There is still great uncertainty about Russia and Ukraine and how that's going to affect global sales, but so far no big swings.

The U.S. is coming off one of the best years in automotive history. And most execs see that continuing for the foreseeable future.

The summer should show whether the European recovery is for real. It would be nice to go into the fall with most world economies racing full-steam ahead.

After New York, everyone can go about the business of selling cars until the Paris show this fall.

Lots of cars, lots of executives and plenty of excitement -- just the right ingredients for a motor show.

You can reach Keith Crain at kcrain@crain.com.


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