Fresh off a disappointing month of sales for the industry, automakers are trying to drum up excitement by showing off their newest models at the New York International Auto Show.
This year's show had a high-powered twist. As consumer appetite for crossovers and other gas-guzzlers refuses to relent, the fuel-efficiency focus that consumed auto shows only a few years ago has given way to a more broad showcase of vehicles, including high-performance cars and SUVs.
Here are some of the highlights from the show, which opens to the public Friday.
Nowhere was the shift to high-power vehicles more apparent than at Dodge. The automaker unleashed the long-awaited Challenger SRT Demon, which will replace the Viper as the brand's flagship offering. It's a lighter, more powerful version of the popular Challenger SRT Hellcat.
The Demon will be the first car to come from the factory with drag radials, or tires specifically designed for drag racing. The car can also be ordered with a toolbox that allows customers to make last-minute modifications at the drag strip to eke out extra speed, along with a specialized engine computer that can be optimized for racing fuel.
The price has yet to be announced, but expect the Demon to ring in above the Hellcat's $64,195 starting price. Regardless of price, Dodge says no stock production car will beat the Demon in a quarter-mile drag race. Also, it does wheelies.
Shortly after launching the original Clarity, which is powered by hydrogen fuel cells, the carmaker has added full-electric and plug-in hybrid versions. In doing so, it's the first time an automaker has offered a vehicle with all three options, Honda said.
The full-electric version offers 80 miles of range on a charge and rings in at around $35,000. Honda claims the Clarity is the first affordable, midsize, five-passenger electric car in the United States.
The Clarity plug-in offers 40 miles of electric range before its gasoline power is called in for active duty.
Acura took the auto show as an opportunity to launch a refreshed version of its midsize TLX sedan. The biggest news is the updated grille, which features the diamond shape first seen on the MDX crossover that came out last year. It replaces Acura's long-serving beak-shaped design as the company's corporate face.
Also on offer is a new performance trim, the TLX A-Spec, which promises better handling and a more fun driving experience. While visual cues like upgraded wheels and spoilers differentiate the car, its powertrain is the same as other TLX models: either a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder or a 3.5-liter V6.
Making its first appearance on American soil since its European debut, Volvo's new XC60 replaces a model that hasn't seen a total redesign since its 2008 debut. The vehicle offers similar styling and interior design to the Volvo XC90 SUV and S90 sedan, but brings it to a more competitive and potentially lucrative segment.
Like the XC90 and S90, the new car is built on Volvo's Scalable Product Architecture. It allows the automaker to build a handful of cars on the same platform, making it significantly cheaper to develop new models. That architecture will also underpin the new S60 sedan, which will be the first model built at Volvo's new factory in South Carolina.
Also fresh off a transcontinental voyage, the Land Rover Range Rover Velar bowed for the first time in America at the New York Auto Show. The SUV is meant to fill the white space between the pint-sized Range Rover Evoque and the larger Range Rover Sport.
The British SUV offers six different engine options, from four-cylinder diesels to a supercharged V6. The company claims it hasn't lost its roots, as the Velar will be able to trudge through two feet of water without issue.
Lincoln brought a new Navigator to the show, in the SUV's first big redesign in more than a decade. The new model has an all-aluminum body, a turbocharged engine and an entirely new interior.
The company will include eight hours of its new chauffeur service with every new Navigator. The program, which is still in pilot phase, allows Lincoln customers to hire a personal, vetted driver for any occasion.
The company is still fine-tuning the details, but brand President Kumar Galhotra told CNBC that after the initial credit is used up, customers can pay $30 an hour for the service.
Alfa Romeo's new Stelvio Ti SUV made its first appearance at the New York Auto Show. The model slots below the high-performance Stelvio Quadrofiglio that Alfa has shown off at previous auto shows. Power comes from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 280 horsepower.
This is Alfa Romeo's third model since its reintroduction in the U.S., following the 4C sports car and Giulia performance sedan. It's expected to be Alfa's highest-volume seller.
Mercedes' new AMG GLC 63 and GLC 63 Coupe offer a sportier take on its SUV. Power comes from the same twin-turbo V8 engine found in the C63 AMG, and it's got enough grunt to get to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds.
The GLC 63 is the only vehicle in its class to offer a biturbo V8 engine, according to Mercedes. Customers can also opt for a GLC 63 S, which bumps up the horsepower from 469 to 503.
Hyundai is trying to inject some life back into the shrinking midsize sedan segment with its refreshed Sonata. The company stressed the car's new design, which it hopes will bring consumers back to the segment.
This isn't a full redesign, so the vehicle's platform and powertrain are mostly unchanged. Hyundai did, however, make features like blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert standard, as the company works to prevent collisions.
Toyota introduced a new concept SUV, called the FT4X. The name means "Future Toyota Four-Wheel Drive," and the car is designed as a lifestyle vehicle for customers who like spontaneous adventure.
Toyota claims the vehicle is small enough for the city while capable enough for adventure. Though there are no plans to put the vehicle into production, some of the ideas may trickle into Toyota's lineup.