The New York auto show has certainly changed since the days a decade ago when it simply didn't do the Big Apple justice.
The New York show adds a unique ingredient to the auto show equation: Wall Street. That point was made dramatically last week during press days.
The heads of both Renault and Nissan flew to New York to meet with Wall Street, and we had a chance to talk with them. Both Louis Schweitzer and Yoshikazu Hanawa were very upbeat and gave us more details of the alliance. It was perfect timing for the motor show. If they are successful, and I think they will be, it will create a real global force with strong representation in all areas of the world. And their presence added to the luster of New York as the capital of capital.
Meanwhile, at the show, there were plenty of introductions that didn't require quite the investment Renault recently had made, but they were still important.
Ford, which sells a lot of Tauruses in North America, displayed the latest version, which has backed off a bit on styling and is a little more mainstream.
Oldsmobile showed off its new Aurora. Saturn unveiled its new Opel-based model, and Pontiac debuted the new Sunfire.
And a couple of other General Motors makes, Chevrolet and GMC, took the raps off replacements for the Suburban, Tahoe and Yukon.
There also was a new I30 from Infiniti and a new MPV from Mazda, and Saab had a very exciting 9-3 Viggen coupe.
The show also has several new cars that were introduced in Geneva. This is the first chance for U.S. consumers to see what is coming.
It seems strange to have a motor show in New York, where much of the public comes by mass transit. But the region sells a lot of cars and trucks, so a manufacturer ignores this market at its peril. It can be tough to drive in Manhattan, but a lot of folks sure seem to be buying cars all around New York.
And let's not forget Wall Street, the force that drives many of the automakers and, now, dealer groups. That is where the money is. It wasn't so long ago that GM's chairman was based in New York.
The New York show has come a long way. Detroit is firmly established as the North American show, but New York does a great job launching spring. The New York dealers now own and operate this show, and you can see the difference.