The upcoming 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show is the biggest in years, with more than 50 North American and world debuts of new cars, SUVs and trucks.
The intros show that the auto industry continues to be a surprise bright spot in the overall economy. Green cars, including electric cars, diesel cars and extended range hybrids are the big news, along with improved performance and design and decreased carbon emissions.
Fuel efficient, powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engines — The 2011 LA Auto Show includes nearly 20 highly-efficient, 40-mpg-plus vehicles, using internal combustion engines, including the world debut of the Chevrolet Spark. There’s a true renaissance underway for advanced four-cylinder engines, including turbocharged, which are becoming the fuel efficient choice for buyers and automakers, especially in the hotly contested small crossover segment, which features head-to-head competitive world debuts of the all-new 2012 Ford Escape and redesigned 2012 Honda CRV. Mazda also has a new entry in this category with the North American debut of its all-new 2012 CX-5 crossover.
New electric cars — There’s also a garage full of new plug-in electric vehicles making their debut, including Mitsubishi’s all-electric i, the Ford Focus Electric, BMW’s i3 Concept, and an import from Croatia, the DOK-ING XD, which go on sale in North America with the 2012 models. Plus, of course, the award-winning Nissan Leaf all-electric and extended range hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt, already on the road, along with the CODA electric sedan.
Hybrids — Hybrids and plug-in hybrids continue to grow and highlights at the show include the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, the new Honda Civic Hybrid and the updated Honda Insight Hybrid. BMW will also have its groundbreaking, i8 plug-in hybrid sports coupe concept.
Luxury and sport performance cars –More than half of the 50 L.A. Show debuts are performance and luxury vehicle category like the Audi R8 GT Spyder, Porsche 911 and Jaguar C-X16 sports car concept. Bentley is returning to Los Angeles this year, premiering the 2012 Continental GTC ultra-luxury convertible. Also featured are the BMW M5, the fifth-generation edition of the sports sedan, now powered by a 4.4-liter, turbocharged, V8 engine; the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, an open-top power statement with a 563-horsepower, 6.2-liter engine producing 479 lb-ft of torque; and what GM is calling the world’s most powerful production convertible, the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, boasting 580 hp produced by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8. The AMG Roadster and Camaro convertible are just two of at least a half dozen convertibles debuting.
The performance and luxury category is also noteworthy this year for being a showcase for new entries into the segment, including Hyundai’s continued push upward with the premiere of the 2012 Azera, as well as the U.S. debut of entirely new manufacturers, like the Mastretta MXT from Mexico. And, this marks the return of the iconic Abarth line to the equally iconic Fiat line. The new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth is a new super compact, joining competitors Ford Fiesta ST and the Mazda3 SKYACTIV.
I’ll be at the LA Show, reporting on the details of what I see there to help you drive green, travel green, and safe the green in your wallet.
The 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the public on Friday, November 17, and is open for ten days.