Perhaps it lacks the horde of product news that is expected from other top auto shows. But the big city lights always seem to drown out any dull memories of the New York auto show.

That was the case again at the 101st New York International Automobile show. Journalists were put into overdrive before even setting foot on the show floor. General Motors Corp. temporarily shut down Times Square as its Hummer H2 concept was driven into ABC Studios by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Derived from the ’03 production model, H2 closely resembles the original H1 from an exterior design standpoint. The inside, however, is much roomier and practical for everyday use. H2 features GM's 6L 325-hp V-8 engine mated to a heavy-duty 5-speed automatic transmission with full-time all-wheel drive. It's prepared to take on the trails with a five-link rear suspension and 360-degree Night Vision capabilities.

Ford Motor Co. whisked reporters into a SoHo district jazz hall to take the wraps off its Lincoln MK 9 coupe concept. It was textbook J Mays, even though Lincoln Design Director Gerry McGovern led the project. It was shown in black, and featured the arch above the doors that has made Mays famous. Oddly, the headlamps looked as if they were lifted from the Mountaineer.

American Suzuki Motor Corp. grabbed the buzz at the convention center with its SX crossover concept — unveiled as fireworks blasted and stunt rider Travis Pastrana soared overhead on his Suzuki RM250 motorcycle. The AWD concept is powered by a supercharged 2L 4-cyl. 220-hp engine.

Not to be outdone, Jaguar premiered its X-type sedan on North American soil with a performance by the band Bond, comprised of midriff-baring females. The base model with a 2.5L V-6 engine and manual transmission will sticker for $29,950.

American Honda Motor Co. Inc and Nissan North America Inc. kept the frills to a minimum when introducing the Civic Si and all-new Altima, respectively. The Civic Si, due to go on sale in early 2002, is a Low Emission Vehicle that packs a 160-hp punch from a 2L DOHC I-4. The 5-speed manual transmission's gear changer is mounted on the center dashboard.

Nissan hopes annual Altima sales will take off from about 110,000 currently to 190,000 when the third generation hits the streets later this year. For the first time it will offer a V-6 (240-hp 3.5L) in addition to the base 2.5L 4-cyl. The new Altima is 5.7 ins. (14.5 cm) longer and 1.3 ins. (3.3 cm) wider than its predecessor. The wheelbase also expands by 7.1 ins. (18 cm), and the hood and trunk are aluminum — a first for Nissan.

Crowds also gathered at the DaimlerChrysler Corp. exhibit — but for no other reason than to see another PT Cruiser concept. The convertible PT was completed in only four months. Designers lowered the body 1.5 ins. (4 cm), dropped the roof by an inch and lengthened the doors to give the new PT a more customized look.

Volume-wise, Mitsubishi Motor Corp. was the winner with four introductions: the Lancer sedan, a high-performance version of the Lancer, the ’02 Galant and ’02 Diamante.