Plenty of Temptations at the L.A. Auto Show

by Jim Woods | November 30, 2012 2:11 pm

My hometown of Los Angeles is well known for many things, the most glamorous of which is its status as the home of movie stars and beautiful people. But one trip on the congested L.A. freeways on a weekday, and you’ll realize this town also is all about automobiles.

In fact, Los Angeles is well known for its car culture, and many proud Angelinos will celebrate that pride this weekend by making the trek to the L.A. Auto Show[1], a mass gathering of Southern California car lovers that allows one to get an up-close and personal view of the latest models from nearly every top automaker.

This year’s show promises to be chock full of new offerings. About 50 new models are expected to be unveiled by the likes of BMW, Fiat/Chrysler (PINK:FIATY[2]), Ford (), General Motors (NYSE:GM[3]), Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA[4]), Toyota (NYSE:TM[5]) and Volkswagen (PINK:VLKAY[6]), which includes newly acquired Porsche, to name just a few.

I’m personally interested in checking out Porsche’s new 911, a revamped version of the iconic sports car, and a vehicle I’ve had my eye on for potential inclusion in my already crowded collection. The other car I’m really anxious to see is Tesla’s new Model S sedan, which was recently named Motor Trend[7]’s Car of the Year[8], an honor bestowed on some of history’s most legendary vehicles.

Now, both of these models are on the higher-end of the price spectrum, and while they both fit the glamorous L.A. image, the real action in terms of new models is a bit more pedestrian in nature.

In fact, the true stars of this year’s show are practicality and fuel efficiency. For example, Toyota is showing off its new RAV4, the first redesign of its very popular small SUV in seven years. The vehicle will no longer be available with a V6 engine, a move the company made in the interest of better fuel economy.

Volkswagen also is riding the practicality wave, and this time it’s doing so with its diesel offerings. Through the company’s Audi luxury brand, Volkswagen is unveiling a new diesel engine option on four of Audi’s current models, the A6, A7, A8 and Q5. These new vehicles will be equipped with turbo-diesel versions of the powerful and fuel-efficient 3-liter V-6.

With more and more consumers embracing the fuel efficiency and reliability of modern diesel engines, Audi plans to drive its way into the luxury-diesel niche.

On the electric vehicle front, it’s not just about Tesla. GM’s Chevrolet brand will have its Spark EV model[9] on display, which features a new charging system that it claims can reach 80% battery capacity in just 20 minutes. The move is designed to quell fears about the hassle of long charge times for electric vehicles, a complaint that’s kept many buyers from going electric.

So, whether you’re into the new exotic sports cars or you’re looking for practical innovations, the L.A. Auto Show is the place you can see it all, and where automakers get the chance to impress.

I know this car guy is looking forward to a weekend of seeing what the car gods have to offer. Now, if those car gods could just ease up on the traffic, it would indeed be the best of all possible worlds.

As of this writing, Jim Woods did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

Endnotes:
  1. L.A. Auto Show: http://www.laautoshow.com/
  2. FIATY: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=FIATY
  3. GM: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=GM
  4. TSLA: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=TSLA
  5. TM: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=TM
  6. VLKAY: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=VLKAY
  7. Motor Trend: http://www.motortrend.com/oftheyear/car/1301_2013_motor_trend_car_of_the_year_tesla_model_s/?ti=v2
  8. ’s Car of the Year: http://www.motortrend.com/oftheyear/car/1301_2013_motor_trend_car_of_the_year_tesla_model_s/?ti=v2
  9. Spark EV model: http://investorplace.com/2012/11/gms-new-chevy-spark-will-be-pure-electric/

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