The 100th Annual Los Angeles Auto Show 2018
American brands are all on a healthy revamp with their lines of higher-budget cars. Both Cadillac and Lincoln are sharp and elegant, and moreover original in shapes and uniform as a brand.
JEEP hits a home-run in my view with the Gladiator Jeep-truck. Removable doors and optional cage keeps, motorbike lifts, and high performance dual shocks? Get out of here! That is some good stuff! Tons of room in them too with extended wheelbase and 5 passenger fun configuration!
The Korean firms Kia and Hyundai had a very clear message, and their cars are just getting nicer and nicer in designs, and aren't at the bottom of the CSI anymore either, rather contrary, a very satisfied bunch of owners these days too. Genesis brand is catching on it seems, and people were looking closely at the luxury offerings too.
Motorsports programs extend to avid support for grassroots and minor series globally, now, and even an entry into professional drifting with the Forte sedan under RED BULL flag!
Porsche releases the stunning new 992 platform 911, and is yet another benchmark to all other cars for dynamics. But sort of trending with the times, and gone is the mechanical linkage shift lever, and in place, a toggle switch like all modern cars these days. Cringing traditionalist minds yes, but perhaps when a benchmark car like the 911 goes that route, we shall assume that the days are numbered for old manuals sadly, for us old school sports car fanatics. (Yes 911 will have a manual for the 992 soon, but for how much longer?)
While the 911 sort of shines over all other launches from Germany, VW has a very conservative Tiguan that is all new for the year. I like it.
Jaguar has the new electric crossover called the I-PACE, and boy this is a stunning car!
I want one in gas, but they only offer this in electric, while the new E-PACE is offered in fossil fuel power plants only. Ok, who thought of the name here? It's backwards!
Alfa and Maserati both offer a small SUV that are like monsterized versions of FIAT 500XL, but trust me, mechanically they are as far apart as Ferragamo to Crocs. The quietly aging FIAT 124 and Abarths still seem to have a strong niche of following, and I hope FCA can keep catering to the small but loyal fans of the brand. (and help Mazda retain the MX5 that's built along with it.)
Lexus UX unveils in Southern California quietly, but I can see a lot of fine tuned inert excellence that is the usual Lexus new car. The LC is stunning and GS-F is another superb example of what F brand can package. Still very subdued though at the show floor at LA.
Toyota being a little bit louder this year, shedding the quiet tone of the last few years with the launch of TRD-Edition Avalon, Camry, and 86. Corolla has a clutch pedal manual, and preparing for the grand launch of the A90 Supra soon next year too. I can sort of see the old hands of now-gone Scion brand's excellent product planners and marketing folks going to Toyota, and having something to do with the Toyota label's vitality today.
Honda's booth looked a bit confused, but it is hard to single-out any of the many things they do so innovatively these days. Nissan and Mitsubishi (along with Infiniti) are a bit more coherent these days, but sort of lacks a flagship they can call new this year. Still the NSX and GT-R are omnipresent and are still relevant and strong contenders in a high end Japanese sports car group. Small niche yes, but definitely worthy as a future classic.
Tesla can't really be called a startup anymore, but they now have more competition too as major manufacturers are gearing up for higher number of cars made in electric mode. Also emerging are others too, like the Karma re-emerging strong from what was left of Fiskar, and the all new RIVIAN knocking out a stunning SUV.
LA Auto Show isn't just a dealer gathering anymore. Tons of concepts and high-budget floor entertainment, lounges, and interactive stuff, fine arts, and big LED displays too. These combine to make a show that is impressive as any major global auto showcase, and I think it's now a show worthy of visiting from afar.