The Significance of the Los Angeles Auto Show
Today, droves of automotive journalists will descend upon the Los Angeles Convention Center for the 2012 edition of the LA International Auto Show. Throughout the duration of the next two press days, there will be dozens of new car debuts, along updates large and small. What may be missed is the notion of just how significant the LA auto show is, and why automakers continue to favor it over the storied Detroit Show. Those who cover the auto industry from Detroit may have a bit of a bias. As long as the intellectual center of the American auto industry remains in the 'D' and many significant outlets continue to operate from Michigan, that bias will continue. This slant has resulted in Detroit being labeled as "out of touch" through the auto crisis that so many would like to forget about. While the domestic automakers continue to run things from Detroit, nearly all import automakers have some sort of offices or headquarters in either Los Angeles or the New York/New Jersey area. Kia, arguably making more improvements in its lineup in the last decade, has set up a design studio and U.S. headquarters in Irvine, CA, and they are not alone. Its a rather simple situation. If you are an up-and-coming automotive designer and have the option of living in either sunny LA or cold, hard Detroit, where are you likely to go? LeBron James is not the only professional that can take his talents to where the nice weather is.
Though this year's international auto show season may have started with Paris, the Los Angeles show is the first opportunity for many automotive journalists to experience in person any debuts that took place in Europe or Asia over the summer and fall. For the consuming public bak home, this is the first time that many will see the 2013's. As such, it becomes a significant part of the purchasing process for one of the world's largest automotive markets.
California's environmental consciousness also sets the LA show apart. Never content to maintain the status quo, the Sunshine State has always been ahead of the curve in green driving. It was where the EV-1 was sold, and is always one of the first and most receptive markets to vehicles like Toyota Prius, Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt. California is home to both of Telsa Motors and Fisker Automotive. The former makes pure EVs, while Fisker has created an "environmentally conscious luxury vehicle for a discerning customer." Justin Beiber owns Fisker Karma. Enough said.
California is also one of the largest single car buying entities in the country. The state is nearly a nation, unto itself. With over 22.6 million licensed drivers and the given propensity for forward thinking and innovation, what trends in Cali, represents the future for what will trend in the America.
Let's face it, the Detroit automakers, as well as the Detroit-based media will always have a slant towards the significance of the auto show in its own back yard. Take that into consideration, along with the fact that many New Yorkers do not own cars, and it becomes apparent that the LA show most in touch with the American driving public and International Automakers alike. So keep your eyes peeled over the next few days. The debuts coming out of the Los Angeles Auto Show over the next two days are numerous and significant, so be prepared!