By Jeff Gilbert

NEW YORK — (WWJ) The New York Auto show shaking with the roar of a powerful engine, as the secrecy was lifted and Chrysler unveiled an all new Viper.

The 2013 carrying the SRT badge, not Dodge, as the company tries to emphasize its performance oriented Street and Racing Team.

“This vehicle was designed in Auburn Hills, by Americans, and it will be built in Detroit,” said SRT brand CEO Ralph Gilles.

The Connor avenue plant is being updated for Viper production. That plant, and the Viper name itself, once carried a “for sale” sign.

“It was a tragic day during the wonderful “three headed dog” (Cerberus) era,” said Gilles. “I’ll never forget having that conversation with Sergio, he said, ‘We don’t sell one of our own.”

The 2013 Viper will be lighter, more powerful—with 640 horsepower—and have more technology. It will also have an upgraded interior.

General Motors is looking at a very different market, as it shows off an all new tenth generation Chevy Impala.

14impala 016 New Viper Takes A Bite From the Big Apple “We feel like we’ve recreated, re-ignited the passion for Impala with its exterior and interior design,” said GM car design chief John Cafaro.

Since the Impala’s return about a decade ago, the vehicle had been a nice, comfortable big car, with very little personality.

The redesign has given it a very upscale, technology filled interior, with—says Cafaro– more youthful design cues.

“It was created by a young, diverse design team that we have at the Chevrolet studio. The car is boldly sculpted.”

GM promises improved fuel economy, with some trims getting up to 35 miles per gallon highway. There will be a choice of engines, with two 6-cylinders available and one 4-cylinder.

The new Impala will debut early next year as a 2014 model.

“The 2014 Impala re-establishes this iconic Chevrolet nameplate as a design leader, with bold styling that will turn heads for years to come,” said Mark Reuss, president, GM North America.

One day after setting new sales records, Nissan is unveiling a new, fifth generation Altima in New York.

Marketing manager Scott Shirley says the 2013 Altima will go on sale this summer.

“It’s the combination of value, the fuel economy story, the driving story.”

The mid-size market is becoming more competitive with the arrival of a new Chevy Malibu and a new Ford Focus this year. In fact virtually all mid size cars on the market have either just been update, or will be updated in the coming year.

Mid size vehicles now take up about 15 percent of the automotive market, and the segment is expected to remain strong as buyers downsize due to rising gasoline prices.

Nissan Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn says those rising gas prices will help sales of electric vehicles like his Nissan Leaf.

Ghosn told reporters gathered in New York not to pay much attention to early sales reports on electric cars. He says the Leaf is gaining momentum, and will gain more when domestic production begins in Tennessee later this year.

“I think electric car will hold its promise,” he said. “All of the stars are lining up to make it an important segment in the market.”

Standing by a prediction that electric vehicles will make up ten per cent of sales in 2020, Ghosn said it was important for the industry to get the price of electric cars in line with other vehicles.

“Supports that governments are extending to electric cars today will not last,” he said. “So, while we are having it we need to cut costs as fast as possible to make the cars very competitive without any incentives.

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Twitter: @jefferygilbert

Comments (3)
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