Press days at the LA Auto Show are something to experience. There are so many debuts that the press conferences for each manufacturer are limited literally to 20 minutes. The press folks develop a herd mentality and move en mass from exhibit to exhibit arriving just in time to catch the start of the new show. Except for me. I tend to meander about photographing the exhibits and attend only the few debuts that interest me the most. I absolutely love seeing the show this way.
Don’t get me wrong the debuts themselves are worthy of a Hollywood block buster, often with stunt men. To get the attention of the ever more jaded press as the day wears on you need to have some sparkle and wow in a debut or it gets lost in the shuffle. The best debuts in the past has been orchestrated by the folks at Scion, Honda, Mercedes Benz and Ford in my not so humble opinion. This year did not disappoint with Fiat and Ford giving the best shows today. I really, really wanted to get into look at the Porsche 911 Speedster reveal but alas that room was packed beyond standing room only. Tomorrow is another day for that car.
The first thing I did was make tracks to check out the Green Car of the Year Nominees. The final 5 are the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, and the Nissan LEAF. This award from Green Car has become a fixture of the LA Auto Show and has gained importance for the manufacturers. Note of the 5 only 1 is a traditional gas engine, the rest are hybrids this year. If I were to hazard a guess as to which car will win I’d prolly put money down on the Chevy Volt because of inspite of all its marketing hype and expense, it is a remarkable piece of engineering and an indication of what our cars in the future will be like. (Snark alert…anyone else read the recent editorial that labeled hybrids as a novelty like “tail fins” that won’t be around much longer?)
Food. The press travel on their stomachs. And why “buy” lunch when its free? The best by far has been the Audi free lunch with wifi if you can bear the lines to get in. What you get is gourmet treats and a cozy “cafe” set up upstairs at their display. Want great coffee and a pissy bistro atmosphere for a quick recharge? Porsche always does that part up right, though Range Rover’s open bar gave them a run for their money this year. Of course neither are there for the public days, but imagine the mayhem if there was free food then too?
Premiers, whether “World” or “North American” are up significantly this year. In the World Premiere category there is the Acura TSX, Cadillac ULV (Who knows what it means), Chevy Camaro Convertible, Chrysler 200 (rehashed Sebring), Honda EV Concept, Kia Optima Hybrid, Mazda Shinari, Merc’s CLS63 AMG, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet (fancy for convertible), Nissan Quest, Range Rover Evoque, SAAB 9-4X, Subaru Imprezza, Toyota Rav4 EV, Volkswagon Eos, and finally a Wheego LiFE. Not a single traditional monster SUV in the mix and 5 “green” cars that are either EV or hybrid which is a good sign of things to come. The sexy standout in this line up of debuts was the Evoque, even though I’m a car guy, that one is going to get the reech beeches in the city lining up for one.
The list for North American debuts is bigger but with a lot more large cars and crossover type vehicles in the list. The “green” vehicles in the mix is promising as it covers a nice variety of sizes as well as price points. Audi A7 Sportback,Audi A8L, BMW 6 Series Concept, BMW X3, Coda Sedan, Dodge Charger, Dodge Durango, Fiat 500 Cinquecento,Fisker Karma, Hyundai Elantra, Infiniti M35 Hybrid, Jaguar C-X75 Concept, KIA Pop Concept, Lotus Elan Concept,Lotus Elise Concept, Lotus Elite Concept, Lotus Esprit Concept, Lotus Eterne Concept, Lotus Evora S & IPS, Lotus Exige RGB Edition, Mazda 5,Nissan GT-R, Porsche 911 Carrera GTS and finally the Porsche 911 Speedster.
The Bad news…No Lambo Maserati OR Ferrari at this years show. There are however some tricked out models down in Kenetia hall that are interesting. It is just plain weird not seeing them in the center concourse putting on a dog and pony show for us as we walked through. I miss not being able to sit in those dream cars and imagine what it would be like to own and drive one.
I have some more tickets to give away for the LA Auto Show. I have 4 tickets to give away, one ticket each to the first 4 commenters. Bear with me if you don’t get an immediate response as I won’t be near a ‘puter all day tomorrow but I will get back to you.
All Pics and vid by me. Pics do get bigger with a click. More pics are in my flickr 2010 LA Auto Show set.