It's showtime in boom year

Strong sales are reflected in an enthusiastic response to the LA auto show

The VW Beetle convertible will make its debut at the LA auto show this week.
The VW Beetle convertible will make its debut at the LA auto show this week.

The economic recovery of America's motoring industry is reflected in the number of world debuts at the Los Angeles motor show that starts this week.

There will be 24 debuts from 18 manufacturers, outstripping the 17 of last year, and the 20 in 2010.

It is something that the show's general manager Andy Fuzesi chalks up to sales being at their strongest since the global financial crisis.

"The auto industry in North America is experiencing its best annual sales rates since 2008 and this positive growth can clearly be seen in the number of debuts, broad range of vehicles and transformative technologies on display at the show," Fuzesi says.

United States consumers bought 12 million light vehicles to the end of October, a 14 per cent gain over the same period last year, says the Automotive News Data Centre.

This year's LA show, which starts on November 28, will also have a diverse line-up reflecting California's status as the biggest market for electric vehicles in the United

States and the largest market for high-end luxury and performance cars.

Reflecting this contrast will be the global unveiling of two - perhaps three - small EVs from General Motors, Fiat and possibly BMW, as well as world debuts for sporty numbers such as the Porsche Cayman, Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS Black Edition and Jaguar XFR-S.

In between these extremes of the automotive spectrum will be several mainstream vehicle premieres, led by the Toyota RAV4 compact SUV just a few months before it arrives in New Zealand showrooms.

Fiat will show an electric 500, ahead of its arrival on Californian roads next year.

The 500e will be powered by a 75kW electric motor matched to a lithium-ion battery pack.

Over the hall at the Chevrolet stand will be the pint-sized Spark EV - based on the Barina Spark that is sold in New Zealand - which shares 75 per cent of its electric components with the plug-in Chevrolet Volt (sold here as a Holden).

BMW has also confirmed it will host a world debut. Overseas reports speculate that it will be a fourth member of its "i" electric sub-brand, possibly an i4 coupe based on the i3 hatchback.

The other two "i" vehicles are the already revealed i8 coupe and i8 Spyder.

German car-maker Porsche has said it will stage the world premiere of a "compact sports car", thought to be the all-new Cayman.

Appearing for the first time in the metal after appearing in pictures earlier this month will be AMG's brutal SLS gullwing Black Edition.

The limited edition model features race-style technology and a bigger 464kW/635Nm V8 engine than the normal version, with a small number to arrive here late next year.

Other new vehicles locked in for world premieres include the Jaguar XFR-S (see page 5), the Volkswagen Beetle convertible, an elongated, US version of the new Hyundai Santa Fe, the Acura RLX (which previews the next Honda Legend) and the North American Kia Forte (nee Cerato).

Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Jeep, Honda, Nissan and Subaru are all promising global premieres of their own, details of which will emerge when the show starts.

As no motor show worth its salt is without an array of wild concepts, the Los Angeles show will also host the global premiere of the Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force, the US debut for the BMW i8 Spyder, plus eye-catching models that will include the Lexus LF-LC.

- NZ Herald

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