October 22, 2017

NEW YORK  — Automakers unveiled new SUVs and crossovers at the New York auto show, boosted by low U.S. gasoline prices and increasing consumer demand, but are also moving ahead with new electric, plug-in hybrid and other green vehicles in the U.S.

Hyundai Motor Co.’s fledgling Genesis luxury brand combined a commitment to a zero-emissions strategy and plans to field its first crossover with the GV80 Concept powered by a fuel cell.

Ford Motor Co. showed off a redesigned Lincoln Navigator luxury SUV with an aluminum body that drops nearly 200 pounds.

Subaru Corp. unveiled a concept seven-passenger Ascent concept, saying it planned to start selling the large crossover in 2018, and General Motors Co. introduced a retooled, larger seven-passenger Buick Enclave.

Not to be outdone, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV took the wraps off a new limited version of its Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV — the Trackhawk — with 707 horsepower and a 6.2-liter V-8 engine, while Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled a subcompact crossover concept aimed at outdoorsy millennials called “FT-4X” for “Future Toyota.”

Honda is expanding the Clarity sedan family with an electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

Crossovers and SUVs accounted for nearly 40 percent of total U.S. light-vehicle sales in 2016, up from 32.6 percent in 2014, as a growing number of Americans ditched cars for more fuel-thirsty larger vehicles.

President Donald Trump has said he will revisit strict 2022-25 vehicle fuel efficiency requirements set by the Obama administration, a move that may relax future emissions requirements.

But after investing substantial sums in electric vehicles, automakers say they are not backing off plans to compete in the EV market segment.

Ford alone is investing $4.5 billion to introduce 13 new electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles over the next five years, CEO Mark Fields told reporters at the New York show.

Honda Motor Co. unveiled a new Clarity electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid version at the show and the Japanese automaker said it sees electric or hybrid vehicles accounting for two thirds of all sales worldwide by 2030.

Nissan Motor Co., meanwhile, said it will unveil a new version of its electric Leaf later this year with a longer battery range than the current version.

Volkswagen, the world’s biggest automaker, said it will sell at least three new electric vehicles by 2020, partly due to an agreement with California aimed at settling diesel emissions violations.

AUTO SHOWS