April 4 - With the global auto industry back on its feet, manufacturers are ready to spend again on long-term concept cars with sleek new designs and an environmentally-friendly consciousness. Conway G. Gittens reports.
From cars that fly..... to cars built to float... the global auto industry is back on stable ground and is ready to have some fun. At least half a dozen concept cars were on display at the New York International Auto Show, but it's BMW, with its I-series that is getting most of the buzz. It's all about the environment with these models, made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and built for zero emission. But it's the sleek style that caught the eye of Jesse Toprack of TrueCar.com. SOUNDBITE: JESSE TOPRACK, VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKET INTELLIGENCE, TRUECAR.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The style is being pushed to the limits now because you want to stand out, you want to be memorable and vehicles like this certainly leave a positive taste in consumers' minds and that's the goal of a concept car. You want people to talk about you, to think about you, to basically dream of having this car in your garage." Also high on experts' list - the Acura NSX. Road & Track Editor-in-Chief Matt DeLorenzo likes this one for reasons the driver can't see. SOUNDBITE: MATT DELORENZO, EDITOR IN CHIEF, ROAD & TRACK (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's kind of out-of-the box thinking. Most people think, well, I'm going to have a two-seat sports car, it's going to have like 8-cylinder or 12-cylinder engine. The engine in the NSX is actually a hybrid. It has a V6 mid-mounted engine but then it has an electric motors on the front axle and combined it makes about 400 horsepower. The motors on the front of the car actually help the car turn-in better and handle better so it's really kind of breakthrough technology when it comes to hybrid thinking." And If the NSX is brains and beauty, then General Motors is going for brawn and beauty with the Chevy Tru and its slightly more adult cousin, the Chevy Code. STAND-UP: CONWAY G. GITTENS, REUTERS REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "A concept car is all about dreaming big and how about this for a big dream: a $2.4 million one-of-a kind Bugatti. Her name: Blanc Noir." And if that price tag seems more like a nightmare than a dream - the show is filled with options- from Aston Martin, Bentley, McLaren, to Lamborghini - sure to wake up imaginations. Conway Gittens, Reuters