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LA Show - Part 2FERRARI
The very first stand that I got to was Ferrari. Pride of place goes to the new California model, with 2 cars on show. One, in red, with the roof down and a pale blue one with roof up. The styling of this car has grown on me, and it does look better in the metal (and in red) than the early launch photos suggested.
The rest of the range was on display, too.
The 430 Scuderia
Centre of attention here was the 2010 Ford Mustang. Although claimed to be "all new", this looks like a fairly extensive facelift of the model that has been around for the past 4 years. The car goes on sale in March 2009, with the first ones due down the production line in early January. It was certainly capturing a lot of attention, with throngs of people around the cars all the way up to closing time. Whereas there may be some debate about the aesthetic merit of the new styling, there is no denying the leap forward in the quality of the interior, which is a massive improvement on the rather low rent trim that features today.
A Bullitt version of the current model was shown alongside the facelifted cars.
Also debuting was the 2010 model the Ford Fusion. Here, I was even less convinced that the facelift is a visual improvement, with a more pronounced and very bold grille at the front and extended light clusters at the rear. Ford were making huge publicity about how the hybrid model is the most economical in its class, and were handing out free "t" shirts to showgoers who could win a $20 gas coupon if they were spotted wearing them during the show.
Ford were showing the Verve Sedan concept car, promising that this will go on sale in the US as a 2011 model year car.
The Flex has only just gone on sale, and there were several somewhat "personalised" versions of this on the stand, along with one standard model.
The latest Focus is a reskin of the original 1998 model, available as a 2 or 4 door sedan only.
Although the future from this brand is frequently called into question, it is still alive, and producing a range of SUVs and trucks. None of these are what you would call small.
One of the most dramatic supercars of the recent times, the Apollo looks even more striking in bright orange.
Whilst inspecting the new Insight - officially a concept version - I was cornered by a video crew who wanted to record people's impressions of the car. Look out for what I said on Honda's website very soon (unless they got better soundbites from other people later in the day, of course!).
The CRZ staged another show appearance.
Rather less production ready was this concept, the FC Sport Concept, a sports car featuring Fuel Cell technology:
New production model is the 2009 Pilot, complete with a rather dominant grille.
The hydrogen fuel cell FCX-Clarity is now on the roads as part of a controlled trial, with a limited number of cars on the roads of Southern California.
Nothing new here. and the one manufacturer who was making few claims about fuel efficiency and green-ness.
Genesis was the main talking point here, with several cars on the stand
The Genesis Coupe was also on show, and seemed to be very well received. It does not look significantly bigger than the outgoing Coupe/Tiburon model. The show car was labelled as a prototype, but it looked production ready.
Also labelled a prototype was the Elantra wagon, which appears to be the i30 Estate from Europe.
Whether the i30 Hatch will make it to the US to replace the Elantra sedan is less clear.
A real concept car is the iMove.
Production cars included:
Latest car here is the G37 Cabrio, which looks rather good, and if it drives like the sedan and coupe, will be rather good.
Some of the models from this range will make it to Europe in 2009. That includes the EX35:
It does not include the massive QX56, which is just too big for European roads (and fuel prices)
The new XF was the most important car on this stand, and seemed to be generating a lot of positive comments from everyone, praised in particular for its design and appearance.
Still elegant is the XJ, of course:
The extensive range of Jeeps featured near the entrance to the South Hall, but with the exception of the Jeep ev and a concept car, seen before, all were production models well established in the market.
Latest offering here is the Soul, a car which I really rather like. With its chunky styling, and planned low market price, this one could do rather well when it goes on sale next Spring.
The rest of the US range was well represented, too.
Isn't the Verve just a Fiesta sedan?
Yep - but still with the concept bits (no B pillar, lower roofline, interior etc).
After wading through some of the horrible American stuff, the XF looks even better than usual ...