Today we take a quick look at the fictional side of the 2011 New York International Auto Show. There were a couple of note worthy concept cars that seem to be very important to their respected parent companies.
The most important would have to be the Scion FR-S Concept. If you think that you have seen this concept before you would be correct as it was just 4 weeks ago that I blogged about this car however it was wearing a different badge at the time. Last month at the Geneva Auto show we were introduced to the then Toyota FT-86 Concept and I had many questions about what this car was going to be. (Click here to read that Blog) I guess you can now add these ones to that original list. Why the trickery Toyota? Why not tell us up front that this was always going to be a Scion? Is it only going to be a Scion in North America and a Toyota in other markets where the Scion brand doesn’t exist?
Should we be holding Toyota accountable and question why the smoke and mirrors with this car? Could you imagine if GM pulled something like this, offering up a Chevy concept car and then 5 weeks later re-reveal it as a Buick or Cadillac. I think if they did the streets of Detroit would run red from all of the cutthroat comments.
So why is this car so important to Toyota? The Scion brand has been floundering as of late and there is hope that the FR-S concept will breathe some much needed sporty appeal into the brand with hopes of reconnecting with the youth market. I just hope that Toyota has figured out that if they don’t price this boy racer right they will miss the youth market and it will land solely into the mid-life crisis range and that’s not cool. Oh and Toyota an over protecting / controlling parent isn’t cool either, so leave Scion alone and let it develop its own passionate customer base.
Let’s turn our attention to another concept car that was debuted at the 2011 NY Auto Show, the Mercedes A-Class Concept. Its arrival in New York was even less of a surprise then the rebadged FT-86 or FR-S, as Mercedes released press images in the beginning of April as well as an announcement of its existence and presence at the show. If you are interested in referring back to Car Rolodex’s original post you can Click Here.
So why is this car so important to Mercedes? Currently the smallest Merc that you can buy in the States would be the C-Class and in Canada it would be the B-Class. With the introduction of this Car into the North American Market Mercedes’ closest competition will be Mini and will really effectively be creating a new segment. As this will be the very first Sub-Compact or A-segment Luxury car to be confirmed to be sold in North America. There has also been rumblings that BMW is seriously considering bringing its new i series here and Audi has hinted that the A1 may also be sold here. But as of right now only Mercedes has said that there is now a market in North America for such a car and they are looking to fill the void with the newest A-Class.
Then there was the introduction of the Lexus LF-Gh Concept. What can you say just look at it, um ya it took my breath away as well. What is going on with that front end? I was worried that Audi may turn around and sue Lexus for trying to steal a design cue they introduced 4 years ago but then Audi would have to admit that this ugliness was shaped fashioned from their Trapezoidal front Grill. No one in their right mind would want to take on that responsibility myself included so I’ll leave the styling comments at that. I can add the fact that this is what Lexus has envisioned its new GS sedan will resemble and I do like the shaved door handles and 6 insect like head lights.
Why is this concept car important? It is because Lexus has said that this is the new design concept for the entire brand. Yikes! Lexus please learn something from Japanese rival Acura who adopted their horrible shield like front and rear for their entire line-up. How did that work out for pour old Acura? Lexus stop the insanity now and start the redesign before you find your selves 4 years down the path to unattractiveness and diminished sales figures.
This leaves us with the easiest concept to explain, the Nissan Leaf NISMO RC. They have used the Leaf name plate as this concept is 100% electric just like the current Leaf model that recent took home the prize of World car of the year 2011. However that is where the comparisons stop to the current production Leaf as the concept doesn’t share any other parts or attitude. The rest of the car is more like the Nismo GT-R, with its carbon fiber chassis and adjustable rear racing wing.
This car is important because this is the first time a manufacture has put the ideas of electric cars and racing together. The intention of the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC was to break down the walls of conventionally thinking in the car racing world. Personally I’m not sure the average NASCAR Fan will have the patients to sit through 7 hour pit stop while the batteries get charged. Although I can see the creation of a new potential drinking game, how many beers can you drink on a single charge? Or can you sleep one off and get your second wind while the car is in the pits. Only time will tell but I’ll drink a Bud Light to salute Nissan for trying something different.