After a two year pause, the New York International Auto Show returned to the Javits Center for its usual spring run. The event however isn’t like past shows as a lot of big name manufacturers opted not to participate. The vibe of the show felt more like one staged by local dealers more so than corporate brands. So there was less emphasis on theatrical show stands and flashy press conferences. Infiniti, Subaru Lincoln and Nissan collectively were the stand out booths of the show. In particular, the Subaru stand with their massive video environment and nature scape that included fake snow falling was the most immersive of all.
Photos and Text: Dave Pinter
Best Stand : Infiniti
If we’re going to give credit for best design bang for the buck, it goes to Infiniti. The flowing pleated ribbons suspended from the ceiling were visible from just about every corner of the Javits show floor making the space easy to locate. The mesh material forming the pleats looks to be a riff off the geometric pattern within the front grille, so it’s not a random element.
The whole space felt light, airy without feeling spare. While some other brands defaulted to having a parking lot on carpet aesthetic, Infiniti’s use of lighting to create pools of illumination around each vehicle really helped elevate the presentation to an almost gallery-like level.
Volkswagen’s revival of the microbus, the all-electric ID.Buzz was mysteriously absent from the show on the first press day. Can’t imagine how I missed it if it was there. It did appear for its North American debut the following day and it was helpful to see it in person. While the model presented is the European-spec one, the overall volume will be the same for the upcoming US model. My main design issue with the Buzz is large scale and fussy detailing of the lower front facia. It’s just too much of an eye grabber, at least in photos. Weirdly, in person it doesn’t look as big so the photography translation issue that befalls some other contemporary vehicles is evident here. I think the pattern gets exaggerated under shorter lens lengths. Still hoping the US version gets back to a friendlier face design more in line with the original concept.
2022 marks the 100 year anniversary of the Lincoln brand. To mark the centenary at NYIAS, a 1956 Continental Mark II owned by Elvis Presley was brought out for the show. It is a gorgeous car to analyze for its subtlety. There’s the single long character line in the body side that slightly steps over the rear wheel arch. The shape of the wheel arches are unique, vertical at the front and raked at the back to give a sense of motion. The car is massive for a 2-door coupe but the simplicity of shapes give it a quality of lightness.
Pretty much every reveal at the show was some sort of CUV/SUV. It wasn’t until the very end of the program in the afternoon did the reward of a hypercar debut occur. This from a new Austrian company called Deus who developed this prototype with famed design house Ital Design and technical support from Williams Engineering. The all-electric Vayanna is supposed to have 2,200hp and limited to a production run of 99 models. Each of those, the company says has the potential to be totally unique through an extensive customization program.
The styling of the Vayanna, while well considered and drawing inspiration from the infinity symbol, feels a tame. Maybe it needed a more interesting paint color and graphic breakup for the reveal. Even white rims would have been more attention grabbing.
It remains to be seen how the NYIAS will evolve in the coming years after this restart. For consumers looking to get access to compare models from a wide range of brands, this show lacked the usual breadth. It was nice to see the inclusion of the car culture side as represented by the Radwood booth. There were also six test tracks on site including one for e-bikes and scooters showing that the event could morph toward more general mobility products. My impression of the 2022 show was more a reflection of the current state of the market versus a projection about what lies ahead for the future.