In 2006, the exhibition will move to a new slot in November in order to shake second-fiddle status and shift its main emphasis on design, which means it only has to endure a secondary role for two more auto show seasons.
Secondary or not, auto makers continue to salt the Los Angeles Convention Center floor with important vehicle debuts and eye-popping concepts. Media days open Jan. 5, during which 12 world debuts will preempt the blitz of unveilings planned a few days later in the Motor City, according to show organizers.
Volkswagen AG’s splash may be the loudest and most-needed of the events planned for L.A., where the ’05 Jetta makes its world debut. Sluggish sales and steadily flowing red ink are hampering the German auto maker as it stumbles into 2005. And, depending on the reaction from media and show-goers, its completely revamped sedan could serve to significantly brighten VW’s outlook
Audi AG could further the New Year cheer, as its 5-door A3 for ’06 is one of three models VW’s luxury division plans to unveil.
The U.S.’s largest player, General Motors Corp., will roll out at least five ’06 vehicles, including three Chevrolets – updated versions of the Impala and Monte Carlo and the all-new PT Cruiser-like HHR spawned off the Cobalt small-car platform.
In addition, the General breathes a little more life into the Pontiac Div., launching coupe and convertible versions of the new G6 midsize car alongside the compact Chevy Equinox-based Pontiac Torrent cross/utility vehicle.
Ford Motor Co. looks to prolong the honeymoon that has shrouded the successful Mustang launch. It rolls out the convertible version of its ’05 muscle car, set to go on sale in the spring with what is sure to be an attractive price tag.
Ford’s British luxury brand Jaguar and Swedish unit Volvo both plan product intros. Jaguar is mum on details, while Volvo says it will unleash a supercharged XC90 CUV concept capable of 600-hp.
BMW AG also will focus on performance, pairing the introduction of a $4,000 M3 coupe Competition Package with the U.S. debut of its hydrogen-powered HH2R prototype racer.
BMW rival Porsche AG will show off the redesigned Boxster roadster for the first time in the U.S.
DaimlerChrysler AG’s Mercedes-Benz operation continues its tradition of extending the launch periods of its new products as it introduces the 469-hp CLS55 tuned by AMG. The vehicle sports 19-in. wheels and special exterior and interior features. Chrysler Group reportedly plans a pair of Dodge production vehicles.
Bentley Motors Inc., the struggling Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Hyundai Motor America are among the auto makers bringing concepts to L.A., either to show off design directions or signal future product plans.
Ferrari SpA plans to debut a 12-cyl. roadster capable of 540-hp designed by Pininfarina SpA and called the Superamerica. It features an innovative rotating hardtop roof, dubbed Revocromico, that rotates rearward and slides into the rear trunk area, while the rear window doubles as a wind deflector when the top is open.