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LA show: Global focus for this year’s show

G whizz: A number of concepts will be on display at the Los Angeles motor show next week, including the wild Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force concept.

More world debuts in store for this year’s LA show than seen in recent years

General News logo23 Nov 2012

NEXT week’s Los Angeles motor show will host more world debuts than in recent years – 24 from 18 manufacturers – when it kicks off on November 28, reflecting the recovery in United States automotive sales so far this year.

The wide selection of projected global reveals will outstrip the 17 new vehicles premiered at the event last year, and the 20 revealed in 2010, something the show’s general manager Andy Fuzesi chalks up to sales being at their strongest point 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,” he said.

US consumers bought 12 million light vehicles to the end of October, a 14 per cent gain over the same period in 2011, according to the Automotive News Data Centre.

Traditionally playing the bridesmaid role to the Detroit motor show held in January, this year’s LA show will also will feature a diverse line-up reflecting California’s status as the biggest market for electric vehicles in the US and the largest market for high-end luxury and performance cars.

 center imageFrom top: Fiat 500e Chevrolet Spark EV Acura RLX Volkswagen Beetle convertible Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS Black Edition.

Reflecting this contrast will be the global unveiling of two – perhaps three – small EVs from General Motors, Fiat and possibly BMW, alongside 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 more mainstream vehicle premieres, led by the brand new Toyota RAV4 compact SUV, just months before it arrives in Australian showrooms in early 2013.

As we have reported, Fiat will show an electric version of its 500 bambino ahead of its arrival on Californian roads next year. Projected to cost around $45,000, the 500e will reportedly 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 car sold here as the Barina Spark – which shares 75 per cent of its electric components with the plug-in Chevrolet Volt (sold here as a Holden).

At this stage, however, neither the Chevrolet nor Fiat are expected to emerge in Australia any time soon.

BMW has also confirmed it will host a world debut. Overseas reports speculate 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 announced it will stage the world premiere of a new “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 in late 2013.

Rounding out the trio will be Jaguar’s fastest sedan – the circa-404kW/680Nm supercharged V8-powered XFR-S. Aimed squarely at the likes of BMW’s M5 super sedan, the ballistic XF derivative can be expected to dash from 0-100km/h in around 4.5 seconds.

Other new vehicles locked in for world premieres include 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 kicks off next week.

As no motor show worth its salt is without an array of wild concepts, LA 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 including the Lexus LF-LC (fresh from last month’s Sydney motor show).

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