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LA Show - Part 1After Detroit, the Los Angeles Auto Show is probably the next most important auto show in America. In an effort to increase the number of US and world launches at the show, it was moved from a slot in early January to one in late November a couple of years ago, and now the car makers are taking some notice. Even allowing for the particularly depressed state of the US domestic manufacturers and the fact that most of the worlds makers are struggling in recession hit 2008, there were several brand new cars to see, some unveiled literally for the press events at the start of the show. The show did feel just that bit less exciting than previous ones, even though there was something of interest and new on just about every stand. Every single manufacturer was making a huge play around fuel economy and their green credentials, with hybrid technologies dominant more pervasively than ever before. I spent the whole of the first public opening day at the show, and bring you this report, presented by maker, in alphabetical order.
We might as well start with some of the ugliest cars of the show. The RL (Legend) has been facelifted, to make it less anonymous and to bring it into line with the rest of the range. Not sure that they hit both the marks with the resulting product.
Then there's the new TSX, which is an Acura version of the new European Honda Accord. Again, rather fussy to look at.
However, the piece de resistance is the positively revolting TL. What on earth possessed Acura to think anyone could like this styling horror completely escapes me. Talking to the stand staff, it seems it escapes just about everyone else, too, and they kept insisting how good it is to drive and in an effort to deflect criticism of the gawky looks. They did admit that rather more people had told them they could not stand the appearance than actually liked it. So, refreshing honesty, if nothing else!
By comparison, last year's SUV duo of the RDX and MDX look quite restrained.
A new name on me. Claimed to be a car with all the drama of Italian styling, but with American style build quality..... hmm, yes! Looks OK, though.
This was one of the first stands I came to, as it featured in the hall for exotic cars. Nothing new to see, but the whole range was represented.
One of the most popular stands in the entire show. Almost all the cars were finished in brilliant white, which made for a light and vibrant display. One that was not, and one of my favourites of the day was the facelifted S6. This car looks absolutely stunning in brilliant red (not that I am biased, of course!), and the splitter effect at the rear is subtle enough to add further distinction to the car without going over the top.
The other newcomer not finished in white was the Q5. I'm still not entirely convinced by this car, and it will have to battle with the Mercedes GLK as well as established opposition from BMW and Lexus to succeed in the market.
This featured in a special showing, on a design stand, down in lobby area of the basement. The BAT11 car is a recent tribute to the BAT series from the 1950s.
Four cars representing the current range were on show here, including the latest Flying Spur version.
Tucked away towards the back of the hall was the BMW stand. Pride of place went, unsurprisingly, to the new 7 Series. Although this is visually rather less controversial than the E65 model, I was less than impressed by the aggressive egg-box grille on these cars.
Stand goers seemed less than impressed by the X6, and I heard lots of rather negative comments about this car. There were still crowds around it whenever I was on the stand, though, so it cannot be all bad.
I was rather more impressed by the lovely classic 328 found lurking at the back of the stand.
With a slimmed down range of just three production cars, it was left to the Riviera Concept car to take the limelight here. Designed in China, where Buick has a strong following, this car is quite unlike the rather staid production models.
Following the news that the CTS Coupe has been postponed into 2010, to save launch costs, the only brand new car on show was the 2010 CTS Wagon which I had seen at Paris. The person on the stand was spouting the most dreadful rubbish about this car, claiming that it has all the versatility of an SUV. It's an estate car with a heavily sloping roof line, for heaven's sake!
Several examples of the regular CTS were here too. There was a CTS-V, but the camera seems to have picked up a regular model.
A vast stand area, but it seemed somewhat empty.
Tucked away at the back was a display of 2 production ready Camaros. The stand staff were pointing out that these cars are indeed, as Chevrolet claimed, 95% the same as the concept cars which were doing the rounds of all the world's auto shows for a couple of years. As the cars were on a display, close up access was not possible, but they certainly seem to cross the line successfully in maintaining the visual effect of the 1967 model while being thoroughly modern.
Right next to the Camaro was the most powerful version of the Corvette, the recently launched ZR1.
The Volt occupied pride of place in one of the special turntable areas, complete with sample charging lead attached to the nearside front wing.
Available now is the Traverse, Chevrolet's version of the much lauded "Lambda" design SUV (Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook), and looking rather smart. A world away from the old Uplander mini-van which this vehicle effectively replaces
A full range of production models was on show.
HHR - Chevrolet's take on the PT Cruiser, and newly presented in SS format.
Sharing a stand area with Dodge, this part of the stand was little frequented, with just a series of production cars to inspect. The Sebring Convertibles appeared to be sporting a new grille design. Different, but not necessarily any better.
The PT Cruiser lives on for another year, at least.
The 300C remains the most desirable car in the Chrysler portfolio.
Despite announcing an imminent end to production, the Aspen SUV was on show, with much being made of the Hybrid technology.
25 years ago, Minivans were Chrysler Corp's salvation, and the latest models were on show, here in plush(er) Town and Country trim
One of the most popular cars in the entire show was the new Challenger, around which there were crowds all day long. Many people were saying that prefer it to the Camaro, its most obvious rival. This is the Hemi-engined SRT model.
This is the lesser powered V6 model.
Dodge's EV, a car based on the Lotus Europa looked very striking in its yellow paint finish.
The Zeo concept car staged yet another appearance.
Of the other production cars, probably the Charger is the most desirable.
The new Ram pickup was on show. Not perhaps the best time to be launching a gargantuan pickup.
Great pics. But a lot of the American cars look foul.
|BeN wrote: |
|Great pics. But a lot of the American cars look foul. |
Yes, it's no wonder they up a creek without a paddle.
Re: LA Show - Part 1
|Colin wrote: |
|The 300C remains the most desirable car in the Chrysler portfolio. |
Let's face it - there's not a great deal of competition, is there?
Thanks for posting these, some good photos.
I have a bizarre liking of american domestic models for some unexplainable reason, so your review of the LA show has been particularly interesting for me.