2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid at 2010 New York Auto Show at CEO John KrafcikEnlarge Photo
"OK, let's get you signed in here. The car brand you're representing would be? Uh-huh. And the lineup your company will be showing this year will be...? And your plug-in eco-hybrid diesel electric model is...?"
"Your brand has no alternative fuel solution to show?"
"Thanks very much for stopping by. You can leave now."
Or at least that's my impression of what went down before the doors opened to the public at this year's New York International Auto Show.
Acronym-badged multi-hyphenated surrogate-fuel options are everywhere. And you get the sense it's no fluke, no fad. It's coming on fast and strong. And it's here to stay.
Just look at this partial run-down:
Ford's booth features the 2012 Focus Electric, which they say will be in showrooms that year. The plug-in all-electric version of the Transit Connect small delivery van will launch here in the U.S. this summer.
Down the aisle sits the just-released 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which Ford believes will be the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America--with better numbers than the 2010 Lexus HS 250h sedan against which it competes.
In Chevy's corner, up on its pedestal, sits the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, now less than eight months away from its launch late this year.
The 2010 Honda Insight entered the fray early last year, the first dedicated hybrid from Honda since its tiny two-seater 1999-2006 Insight. And the 2011 Honda CR-Z two-seat sports hybrid comes this summer.
Nissan is hyping its all-electric 2011 LEAF (it stands for Leading, Environmentally-friendly, Affordable, Family car).
The brand's first electric car, it offers a 100-mile range from its lithium-ion battery pack--and no engine at all.
Mitsubishi's showing off its tiny four-seat, five-door upcoming i-MiEV zero-emissions electric people-mover.
SAAB, recently saved from the grave, offers their Biopower Hybrid 9-3 and 9-5 concept cars, though they've been seen for several years now.
Volkswagen is prominently featuring its turbodiesel 2010 Golf TDI and 2020 Jetta TDI, along with their 2011 Touareg Hybrid. And their sister make, Audi, touts its own 2010 A3 TDI five-door hatchback, which won 'Green Car of the Year'. (pause...deep breath....)
Still noteworthy is the plug-in Mini E, the second highway-capable all-electric car on U.S. roads after the Tesla Roadster.
Hyundai launched its all-new 2011 Sonata Hybrid, with impressive gas mileage of 37 mpg city, 39 mpg highway.
Lexus had took the wraps off their new 2011 CT 200h hybrid hatchback, the smallest Lexus ever offered in the U.S.
From Toyota comes the 2012 Prius Plug-In Hybrid.
Why, even Porsche's 2011 Cayenne large sport utility is being offered as a high-performance hybrid, the Cayenne S Hybrid.
And BMW is talking up their ActiveHybrid 7, a full-size sedan with a hybrid system that lets it do 0-to-60-mph in a mere 4.8 seconds.
And this glosses over all the hybrids that AREN'T new this year: the Nissan Altima Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid, four different Lexus models (HS 250h, GS 450h, RX 450h, LS 600h), Honda Civic Hybrid, and the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid.
Also, from General Motors, the Chevy Malibu Hybrid and GM's line of full-size SUV and pickup truck hybrids, the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe and Silverado, and GMC Yukon and Sierra.