Lifestyle

First Look: 2008 N.Y. Auto Show


Look for small cars, Korean luxury—and rebadged offerings from Pontiac that speak with an Australian accent

Small is large at the upcoming New York International Auto Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Mar. 21-30.

Toyota's Scion brand will show a tiny, squared-off (and bright orange) concept coupe called the Hako. Honda (HMC) will show an all-new model of the itty-bitty 2009 Honda Fit.

While most automakers scramble to get small, to offer more fuel-efficient yet distinctively styled cars such as the Hako Concept and the Fit, other historically downscale brands such as Suzuki (SZKMF), Hyundai (HYMLF) and Kia (KIMTY) are introducing new products that are bigger and more luxurious.

Kia and Hyundai Going Upscale

Suzuki will show the Concept Kizashi 3, which it describes as a "larger, more upscale sport sedan." Hyundai is expected to show a production model of its V-8-powered Genesis luxury sedan, which will probably be virtually identical to a car shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

Kia hadn't disclosed its plans ahead of time, but since Hyundai and Kia both belong to South Korea's Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, it would be reasonable to expect Kia could be moving upscale in parallel to Hyundai, especially if both brands share the engine from the Genesis, Hyundai's first V-8.

Other entries at the New York show will include a face-lifted M-Class sport-utility vehicle from Mercedes-Benz (DAI), plus several additional, fuel-efficient, diesel-powered models. Honda's Acura division will also show the all-new 2009 TSX, a sportier version of the Accord.

GM Looks Down-Under

All of the people can't be politically correct all of the time, especially at an auto show.

General Motors' (GM) Pontiac Division will show three new models: the performance-oriented 2009 G8 GXP sedan and the closely related G8 Sport Truck, which looks like a coupe in front with a pickup bed in back, like the old Chevrolet El Camino. Both are based on models from Holden, GM's Australian subsidiary.

Also new from Pontiac will be the 2009 Solstice Coupe, a hardtop version of the Solstice convertible.

Press preview days are Mar. 19-20.

Click here to see more of the cars that will be on display at the New York auto show.

Jim Henry is a reporter covering the automotive industry and automotive trends in BusinessWeek's New York office.

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