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2009 L.A. Auto Show

Your guide to a "downsized" auto show.

by on Dec.03, 2009

Maybe it's no longer "small cars, small profits," in the words of a Ford exectuive.

Maybe it is no longer true that "small cars means small profits," as a Ford executive famously said.

Tinseltown meets Motor City as well as Japan and Korea this week and next as the annual Los Angeles Auto Show rolls into the sprawling convention center.

The show comes at the end of one of the worst year’s the industry – and the nation – has seen in decades, but there’s the long-standing belief, though now questionable assumption as good cars fail in an over-supplied marketplace, that nothing cures problems like new product.  And there’s some of it.  According to effusive show organizers, as many as 30 cars, trucks, crossovers and concept vehicles are making their U.S. or worldwide debut at the event.

That’s a publicity ploy; but there are still a score of offerings that are worth watching closely, and is on the show floor snapping pics and reporting the news.

While you’ll still see some high-powered sports car – like the new Mercedes-Benz SLS – the emphasis is on fuel-economy with downsized offerings – think Ford Fiesta and Mazda’s pint-sized Mazda2 – grabbing the headlines during the 2009 L.A. Auto Show media preview.

The other hot story goes by the ungainly name, “electrification.”  As keynote speaker, General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz noted, “we’re transitioning from being a  company that builds mechanically-driven cars to ones that are electrically-driven.”

GM unveiled the production version of its new Volt plug-in; Audi staged the North American introduction of a 400-horsepower electric sports car, the e-tron, which it promises to put into production by 2012. Where the customers will come from for these expensive limited range cars remains to be seen.

Ongoing efficency impovements in traditional vehicles is the real story here as makers, prompted by the defections of buyers from gas guzzlers, and tightening emissions regulations, finally are getttng serous about weight loss and fuel saving technoligies.

Read on for links to all the new cars, trucks, concepts and crossover vehicles at the 2009 L.A. Auto Show.

Click the links below for’s coverage of these new products appearing at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show.