2011 New York Auto Show: New Cars and Concepts [Big Picture]

First two days of the 2011 New York Auto Show have come and gone, bringing with it a whole slew of new cars, trucks and concept vehicles for us to obsess over.

New York isn’t a city where very many people drive cars, however, it’s still the place where you go to show off your car. When the NASCAR driving champion comes to town, stock cars do burnouts in the street, and the same goes for the drag racers and Indycar drivers.

There will probably be no burnouts at the 2011 New York Auto Show, but some 1.2 million people — more than the attendance of any other auto show in the country — are expected to take a look at the 56 concept car and truck models having their debut – including 35 world premieres.

The 2011 New York Auto Show takes place April 22-May 1 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in midtown Manhattan, which overlooks the Hudson River. Unfortunately for 2011 New York Auto Show, this get together overlaps with another major international show taking place this week in Shanghai.

That is, some are predicting that the car market in China could hit 30 million in sales a year, or nearly twice the best year ever in the United States. Guess which country auto makers are devoting their resources these days?

Okay, okay, in New York City Volkswagen AG showed its all-new Beetle, though the debut happened earlier this week at a private function away from the Jacob K. Javits Convention Centre. Hyundai showed the new five-door Accent subcompact, Subaru has a global debut for its all-new 2012 Impreza sedan and Honda showcases the redesigned 2012 Civic that goes on sale these days.

Nissan Motor unwraped an all-new economy compact, and the small car theme is carry on, too, with Chrysler showed a new pint-size Fiat 500 convertible. It is the first in a series of small cars being jointly developed by Chrysler and partner Fiat SpA.

The buzz in town is that for some reason – the economy perhaps – the Big Apple this year isn’t be the luxury showcase of past years. Instead, we’re going to see a parade of family sedans, sensible compacts and fuel-sipping hybrid and electric cars.

If you want to see new and emerging ideas from General Motors’ Cadillac brand, you won’t see them here. The same for Ford’s Lincoln luxury brand. Ford will have the new Taurus on the show floor, though like VW, the company actually unveiled the car earlier this week at a private function in the city.

What will luxury auto makers unveil, then? BMW has its new full-electric ActiveE and its first four-cylinder engine in more than a decade in North America. Lexus will premiere a concept hybrid, the LF-Gh. And Mercedes plans to highlight an A-Class concept small minivan and a new version of its C63 AMG coupe.

There’s an end-of-term feel to the New York auto show, as all the secret concepts have been uncovered, all the news has percolated to the surface and there’s more talk about next year than this one. Even so, this is an opportunity to see all the important showcars of the season, and there are more than 1,000 vehicles of all persuasions within Javits Center’s 846,000 square feet. [Photos via AutoBlog; via Globe and Mail, Inside Line and AutoBlog]

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