After nearly a week of press previews, the Los Angeles Auto Show opened to the public on Friday and will run through next weekend. The number of new cars, concept cars, announcements, and awards over the past few days should be enough to keep any car buff happy until the next round of shows that start after the holidays.
Here’s our take on some of the show’s highlights.
General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) introduced a new mid-size pickup, the Chevy Colorado, which may make some buyers happy, but seems strange somehow because both Dodge and Ford have stopped making their Dodge Dakota and Ford Ranger mid-size models. Toyota has some success with its Tacoma and Nissan is working on a redesign of its Frontier. Honda sold an anemic 1,239 units of its Ridgeline pickup in October. And as a category, mid-size pickups have sold around 205,000 units so far in 2013, just ahead of luxury SUV sales but well ahead of the luxury sports car categories according Kelley Blue Book.
Speaking of luxury sports car, Mercedes-Benz showed off a concept called Vision Gran Turismo that is expected to be the basis for a GT AMG that will replace the company’s SLS AMG sports car. The car is expected to take a run at the Porsche 911 and the GT AMG is scheduled to be unveiled in October 2014 at the Paris Motor Show.
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC), Toyota, and Hyundai showed off hydrogen fuel-cell cars with Hyundai announcing that its car will be available on a leased basis in the U.S. in February. And as far behind fossil fuel-powered cars as electric vehicles are, hydrogen-powered cars are that far behind electrics. The state of California is investing up to $20 million a year over several years to build up the number of hydrogen refueling stations to 100.
The luxury SUV segment gets another entrant, this one from Ford’s Lincoln division. The Lincoln MKC will be competing with Acura, Porsche, and Mercedes in this segment which is pretty small but has seen sales so far increase by 8.8% for the first 10 months of the year.
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) showed off a concept of its Edge mid-size crossover vehicle that is scheduled for introduction in model year 2015 or 2016. The Edge is the second-best selling vehicle in this segment, behind only the Honda Pilot and ahead of the Toyota Highlander in the year to date.
Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) isn’t sitting on its hands with the Highlander. The company introduced a hybrid version of the vehicle that will reach dealers in February of next year. The base price for the Highlander is just over $48,000. Official mileage numbers aren’t available yet, but the 2013 non-hybrid version sports a combined city/highway rating of 28 miles per gallon.
Volkswagen introduced an all-electric version of its Golf subcompact called the E-Golf that will hit U.S. dealers next Spring. This car is not likely to do much to boost the company’s sagging U.S. sales, down 5% year to date and 18% in October compared with October 2012.