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Mopar and FCA at the New York Auto Show

by David Zatz on

FCA shook things up at this year’s New York Auto Show. The main show floor is a bit tighter, with one of the normal buildings out of action; so Chrysler and Fiat were pushed downstairs, to the back of the truck-and-SUV floor.  Dodge stayed upstairs near the Volkswagen corner, and Maserati and Alfa Romeo stayed in their small 2017 places.

One can’t criticize the Dodge spread much; centered around the halo car, the Challenger Demon, it emphasized the muscular aspects of the brand. During media days, the Caravan was absent and the Durango pushed to the back; the Challenger reined supreme, including last year’s Demon-at-the-track display.

The Demon drag racing game was back from last year, too; either it’s just me, or it was tweaked a little so it’s not quite as easy to steer off the track. Volkswagen had a road-course game, using Golfs, working along similar lines…

… but Volkswagen didn’t have a big supercharged V8 engine display. They did have V10 cars over in the Audi area, but the “engine under glass” car was gone.

Ram and Jeep continued to have massive areas downstairs, on the truck floor, sharing the entrance space with GMC. The Kentucky Derby special edition, only recently launched, was in a place of honor, up front, opposite the new GMC Sierras.

Higher level 2019 Ram 1500s have nice chrome badges; you can decide for yourself how the plain black one looks.

Underneath the body, you can see some pretty innovative work, including a frame that’s been redesigned for maximum crash protection as well as greater strength and lighter weight.

The cutaway shows a Hemi V8 with the eight-speed automatic and air suspension; it’s right up near the entrance, so people can see some of the things that make Rams special.

Towards the back, we found this Mopar-ized Ram, complete with kayaks; a nice way to carry them around. The grille looks snazzy in person. (This is one of the Ram concepts shown earlier.)

The Ram area was huge; graphics are enormous as well, and reach high up on the columns.

Inside, the trucks’ displays were illuminated — something you can’t say of every automaker’s vehicles.

Toyota dominated the main-floor displays, as usual, taking up a massive space towards the front; Ford also had quite a large area on the other side of the main doors. Of the high-end cars, Maserati and Alfa Romeo had relatively tight areas, but then, so did Volvo. The premium Italian FCA brands were parked far from their mainstream North American counterparts, as the company has learned from pundits and sales figures that Dodge and Maserati don’t mix well in the public eye.

The Levante Trofeo was launched at the show, with hundreds of people crammed into and around Maserati’s modest space.

Alfa Romeo also introduced a special edition car, essentially a trim package, at the show.

Overall, while FCA had a limited presence on the main floor, the company focused that area tightly on Dodge’s muscle; and used its massive space downstairs to show “the rest of the story.” Chrysler had several Pacifica minivans, one of which included a green-screen photo both, presumably to show people how large the interior is, and some 300s; Fiat had their “Fiata” 124 Spyder roadster on a rotating stand. Jeep’s displays gave show-goers a chance to explore the new Wrangler and other models, but the real Jeep story was outside, on the track. The company did well with what they had, and will likely benefit from the public show — which runs from March 30 to April 8.

You can get tickets online or at the show. The best ways to get there are the #7 subway line, walking from Penn Station, or the ferry; the area is very congested, with fewer parking areas due to construction, and parking rates are very high.

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