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Automakers put best wheels forward at NY Auto Show

Bill Fay, vice president of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc., introduces the new 2015 Toyota Camry at 2014 New York International Auto Show on Wednesday. (Credit: Joe Polimeni)

Bill Fay, vice president of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc., introduces the new 2015 Toyota Camry at 2014 New York International Auto Show on Wednesday. (Credit: Joe Polimeni)

New York — American, European and Korean automakers put their best wheels forward during a preview for members of the media attending the 2014 New York International Auto Show Wednesday, unveiling 2015 models headed for dealerships later this year.

Following is a rundown of what is in the pipeline by the major brands:

After selling almost 1 million of its Camry model since the current generation launched in 2011, Toyota stripped it down to its chassis and rebuilt it from the ground up, unveiling Wednesday its redesigned version comprising almost 2,000 new parts, said Bill Fay, vice president of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Since making its debut in 1983, Toyota has sold more than 10.2 million Camrys in the U.S. market, of which 6.6 million are still on the road, he said, during the unveiling of the completely overhauled 2015 model.

“This is the car of choice across multi-cultural markets,” Fay noted.

The redefined vehicle features upscale interiors, a more expressive and athletic exterior, and a slightly longer chassis when compared to its predecessor. The vehicle will be available in two models: the sporty and luxurious XSE and the eco friendly Hybrid SE.

The 2015 Camry will be available in 10 colors, including the new Celestial Silver Metallic and Ruby Flare Pearl.

The vehicle will go into production in September for a mid-October roll-out to dealers. The price will be set 90 days before it goes into the assembly line, company executives said.

2015 Ford Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition in Wimbledon White.

2015 Ford Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition in Wimbledon White.

Fifty years after debuting one of the world’s most popular cars, Ford marked the milestone by revealing a Mustang 50-year limited edition. Designed to honor five decades of Mustang heritage, only 1,964 units of the iconic redesign will be built when it goes on sale this fall, said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company.

“When Mustang was approved for development more than 50 years ago, I don’t think anyone imagined it would spawn such a dedicated base of fans around the world and still be in production today,” said Ford, during the unveiling at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan.

“We’re thrilled to be here in New York — where Mustang was first shown to the public at the 1964 World’s Fair — to re-create that historic event for today’s Mustang enthusiasts,” he said.

The 2015 Mustang GT will feature some of the iconic symbols of its original precursor — the pony on the front grille and its “muscular” build that has been given a contemporary design that still evokes an era gone by.

Powered by an upgraded 5.0-liter V8 engine that delivers more than 420 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque, every 50-year limited edition will be equipped with the Mustang GT performance pack that includes six-piston Brembo front brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels with high-performance Y-speed-rated Pirelli P-Zero summer tires. It will be available in just two colors: Wimbledon White and Kona Blue.

Each of the 1,964 units will get a unique owner’s guide in a leather portfolio with the 50-year badge on the outside.

“We wanted to provide our most dedicated fans with the emotion of the original Mustang in a 21st century car,” said Ford. “With this 50-year limited edition, I believe we have accomplished our goal.”

The Sonata will be available later this year in three models: the SE, Limited and Sport.

The Sonata will be available later this year in three models: the SE, Limited and Sport.

Hyundai introduced its all-new, seventh-generation 2015 Sonata, which follows the trail of success left by the outgoing model. The new generation offers a more refined look, stiffer body structure, better ride quality, reduced noise, vibration and harshness and advanced safety and convenience features.

The Sonata will be available later this year in three models: the SE, Limited and Sport. All will feature a revised 2.4-liter Theta II GDI four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 178 lb. ft. of torque.

Design and power aside, perhaps one of the most noticeable features to be included in the new model later this year is the integration of the Apple CarPlay functionality that makes it safer and easier for iPhone users to use their device in the car while allowing them to stay focused on the road. An 8-inch touchscreen will allow drivers to make calls, use Maps, listen to music, and access messages.

With CarPlay, Siri provides drivers an eyes-free experience by responding to requests through voice commands and can be easily accessed directly through the Voice button on the steering wheel. Using a Lighting connector, CarPlay works with iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5 running the latest version of iOS 7.

By integrating CarPlay into the Sonata, Hyundai is one of the first manufacturers to bring the technology to market, company officials said.

The 2015 Jeep Renegade represents the automaker's incursion into the small SUV segment.

The 2015 Jeep Renegade represents the automaker’s incursion into the small SUV segment.

This automaker broke ground Wednesday, making its debut in the small sport-utility vehicle segment with its all-new 2015 Jeep Renegade.

“This vehicle will give Jeep a true opportunity to compete in the fastest-growing markets in the world,” said Mike Manley, CEO of Jeep. “This new SUV has a new aptitude for flexibility, power and performance. It’s a new generation of vehicles for a new generation of drivers.”

Among its features, there is one that seems to stand out — the segment’s first disconnecting rear axle and power take-off unit, which provide Jeep Renegade 4×4 models with enhanced fuel economy.

This automaker presented two new redesigns in its 2015 pipeline — the Murano and the Versa. The third-generation crossover Murano embodies Nissan’s new design direction — including its V-motion front end, LED boomerang lights and the unique “floating” roof. Meanwhile, while the Versa Sedan got a bold new front-end treatment anchored by larger headlights, a more substantial looking fascia and standard chrome plating on the grille.

The 2015 Nissan Murano

The 2015 Nissan Murano

“In the past three years, Nissan has completely transformed its product portfolio, grown global volume by more than one million units, strengthened the brand to being the fastest-growing automaker on the Interbrand Top 100, resulting in the shake-up of entire auto industry segments,” said Nissan Chief Planning Officer Andy Palmer. “Murano helped create a new segment, and the latest version, debuting today, redefines that segment.”

In the last 12 months, Nissan brand sales were up nearly 15 percent in the U.S. due to positive customer response to new vehicles like Versa Note, Pathfinder and Rogue, said Nissan North America Inc. Chairman José Muñoz.

“Now with the new Murano coming this fall, we expect this momentum to continue as we’re poised to set even better numbers for 2014, including increased market share,” he said.

Luxury category
Luxury automakers Mercedes-Benz and BMW — among a handful of high-end manufacturers — also rolled out 2015 models, each catering to the discerning driver who values performance and high-end detailing.

Ready to make its debut in the fall, the new Mercedes-AMG GT is designed to please sports car fans looking for design and agility in their vehicles.

The BMW Alpina

The BMW Alpina

“The new Mercedes-AMG GT proves that we will be positioning AMG as a dynamic sports car brand even more strongly and aggressively than before,” said Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG, during the unveiling that included a surprise appearance by actor John Hamm, who is the voice of the brand.

The interior of the Mercedes-AMG GT embodies all of the elements of “modern luxury,” that come to life once its V8 engine comes to life.

Meanwhile, BMW introduced four new models during the event — the X4 Sports Activity coupe, the M4 convertible, the 4 Series Gran Coupe as well as the Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe — which will arrive in showrooms in coming months.

In the U.S., the X4 will be offered with a choice of two TwinPower Turbo engines, while the M4 convertible features at 425 horsepower 3.0-liter M TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder engine. The 4 Series Gran will also come with with two engine choices.

Finally, the powerful Alpina combines high performance with overall elegance, powered by a 540-horsepower engine.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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