21 November 2008

LA Auto Show round-up

Find out what floated our boat at this year's LA Auto Show...

Los Angeles Motor Show

If it’s cars you were looking for, Honda stole the Los Angeles motor show. Honda’s gorgeous, sharply original fuel-cell sports car concept was as fresh as it was unexpected.

We also saw the covers whipped off the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder, the Nissan 370Z and Cube, 2010 Ford Mustang, Mini Electric, a VW Baha Touareg diesel and the new Mazda3.

For an American show, that’s a pretty international roster.

By contrast GM’s huge stand was pretty much tumbleweed. Just a load of cars on a big shag-pile carpet. No personnel, no spokespeople, no press conference.

GM was due to launch two cars here – the Cadillac CTS Coupe and a Buick. But it didn’t, because its business is in such a terrible state it has had to delay them. Yes, GM has cars it needs to save itself, but it doesn’t have the cash to put them into dealers. Things are that dire.

And on the Chrysler stand, there weren’t even lights - as you can see in the picture. Yes, the cars sat in semi-darkness, looking sad under the hall’s overhead fluorescent lights, while every other car company had a zillion candlepower of spotlights.

Ford, least troubled of the Detroit Big Three, arrived to launch the Mustang and a facelifted Fusion saloon. But every time an executive put their head onto the show floor, they were mobbed by journalists asking about the real action, going on thousands of miles away.

This of course was the bosses of GM, Ford and Chrysler begging for emergency loans from Washington.


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