The annual auto show season is just getting underway, with manufacturers set to kick things off in Frankfurt, Germany barely two weeks from now. Then the automotive circus will move on to Los Angeles, the first of the big U.S. extravaganzas.
And it looks like the 2015 L.A. Auto Show could be a big one, at least based on preliminary numbers suggesting there will be 50 vehicle unveilings, including 30 world debuts.
With the Frankfurt Motor Show still yet to begin, most automakers are being tight-lipped about Tinseltown plans, but Infiniti has already confirmed it will reveal the new QX30 – barely two months after showing its near-twin, the Q30, in Germany. Hyundai, meanwhile, will be on hand to unveil the next-generation Elantra line.
Fiat Chrysler will stage another significant unveiling during the two-day press preview that begins on November 18th. Insiders have confirmed they will debut the Fiat 124 Spider. Bringing back a once-beloved name after a three-decade absence, the convertible will share the same basic platform as the Mazda Miata but feature a unique body and powertrain options.
(Click Here for more on the new Fiat 124 Spider.)
Mazda, meanwhile, is expected to offer a global first look at the updated CX-9, while Volvo is likely to show off its new flagship, the S90 sedan. The latter model will share the same platform as the recently launched XC90 crossover. And it will offer buyers a number of different powertrain options, including the “Twin Engine” package, a hybrid drivetrain that puts as much emphasis on performance as fuel economy.
Once relegated to the second tier of domestic shows, the L.A. event has regained momentum in recent years, taking advantage of the fact that California is the single largest automotive market in the U.S. Indeed, a quarter of all the Mercedes-AMG performance models sold worldwide are grabbed by buyers in Southern California.
So, expect to see plenty of high-performance and luxury offerings roll across the stage. Bentley will bring the new Bentayga, its own entry into the SUV segment, over to Los Angeles after making a world debut in Frankfurt.
At the other extreme, California’s tough emissions standards mean that carmakers also like to use the show to preview their newest green machines. In that category, Mitsubishi is thought to be ready to reveal the plug-in version of its newly updated Outlander SUV, the green version set to launch for 2017.
L.A. show goers will get to see some of the hottest products first seen in Frankfurt, a list that includes the Jaguar F-Pace, its first-ever crossover-utility vehicle, and the Kia Sportage crossover.
(For a preview of the new Kia Sportage, Click Here.)
A statement from L.A. show organizers notes that, “automakers officially confirming premieres include Alfa Romeo, BMW, Bentley, Fiat, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru and Volkswagen.”
There could also be a number of specialty and niche makers vying to media and public attention. At the 2014 L.A. Auto Show, designer and entrepreneur Henrik Fisker unveiled the new Fisker Rocket he developed in partnership with Los Angeles mega-dealer Galpin Motors. A convertible version of the modified Ford Mustang was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours last month and will likely be displayed in L.A., as well.
All those debuts fill a tight, two-day calendar for the 4,500 media members expected to come to the Los Angeles Convention Center. But the show actually kicks off this year with the third annual Connected Car Expo, an event focusing on the new technologies transforming the automobile. Expect to hear plenty about autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles this year.
(Infiniti Q30 and QX30 will share platforms with Mercedes GLA, CLA. Click Here for the story.)