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Muscle cars out in force at New York International Auto Show

Who says America has lost its muscle? Performance is the theme of New York auto show

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The 2015 Dodge Challenger is introduced Thursday at the New York International Auto Show. With gas prices at an average of $3.45 this year, muscle cars are back in focus at the auto show.

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NEW YORK — Who says America has lost its muscle?

Growling, unapologetic performance is the theme of this year’s New York International Auto Show, which opens to the public today.

Sure, there is something called the EV Pavilion, where visitors can ride around in a plug-in hybrid. But automakers didn’t introduce any hybrids or electrics at the show.

The focus is on power.

Dodge unveiled the 2015 Challenger, which will offer a 6.4-liter, 485-horsepower V8. Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg debuted its $1.6 million Agera R supercar, which gets 1,140 horsepower (that’s not a typo) and has a top speed of 273 miles per hour. There was a new Corvette convertible and an Alfa Romeo sports car. Ford kicked off the show by putting a bright yellow 2015 Mustang on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.

Dodge chief Tim Kuniskis said internal surveys of car buyers consistently show that about a quarter of America’s 16 million car buyers are most interested in performance.

Mr. Kuniskis also said Dodge buyers are male and young. The average buyer of the brawny, four-door Dodge Charger is 46, which is 17 years younger than the average for the full-size car segment. The Challenger too attracts younger buyers, despite its retro styling.

Gas prices have stabilized as well, so many customers aren’t as concerned about fuel economy. U.S. gas prices are expected to average $3.45 this year, according to government statistics. This only adds to the demand for American muscle.

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