A shaken and still cautious automotive industry begins the North American auto show season at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week.
The organizers claim that 30 vehicles will make their World and North American debuts in Los Angeles.
World debuts are expected from manufacturers including Audi, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Porsche, and Toyota.
As the first North American auto show of the season in the world’s largest car market, Los Angeles will be a snapshot of ongoing industry challenges as the economy attempts to recover from the excesses of– and ultimate collapse — the world’s financial markets.
Electric and other so-called “green” vehicles are expected to have a significant public relations presence at this year’s show, with manufacturers showing all electric or plug-in concepts in a quest fto capture abundant government subsidies and maybe, just maybe , some real customers
Chevrolet will announce the first markets that the Volt EV– California among them of course — will appear in by late 2010. There will also be new small-car offerings with more fuel-efficient traditional gasoline or diesel powertains in abundance.
Some automakers, including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, will have a larger presence in Los Angeles compared to last year, when it was clear that both Chrysler and GM were in deep trouble and Ford, also less than healthy, wisely retrenched.
Both Chrysler and GM have since emerged from controversial taxpayer-financed bankruptcies and their success in the California market, which is dominated by the Japanese, is absolutely necessary for survival.
Ford and GM will unveil world debuts, the small Ford Fiesta and the delayed but still significant Chevrolet Cruze, a replacement for the aging Cobalt.
GM President and CEO Fritz Henderson, scheduled to deliver the keynote presentation on the opening press day, was unceremoniously yanked and replaced by marketing head Bob Lutz , after Henderson was fired by Ed Whitacre, GM’s government-appointed chairman on the eve of the show.
Lutz’s own future is in doubt as it is now clear that GM’s inbred management will be broomed in a cleanvsweep, sooner or later, by the U.S. Treasury, which via the taxpayers now owns loss-making GM.
Other debuts include:
- Honda Personal-Neo Urban Transport (P-NUT) design study — an ultra-compact, aggressively designed coupe.
- Mazda2 – a small B-sized sub-compact that has been on sale elsewhere in the world for years
- Ford Fiesta – the Ford version of the Mazda2