Thursday, November 28, 2013

Car Mad In Los Angeles - What The LA Auto Show Missed

Everyone in the world knows that the citizens of LA are in love with their cars. In fact they killed probably one of the finest transit systems in the world, the Red Cars, because they loved their cars so much! Its not hard to figure out why. Where else can you go skiing in the morning and surfing in the afternoon?  Or freeze in the mountains and bake in the desert all in the same day? It was if the cowboy spirit remained alive and well. If you have driven on the LA freeways, especially at rush hour, you will know exactly what I mean.

As much as we love our cars, we are always looking for one better. The area where I live is filled with increasingly exotic cars. While there are many Toyota models, there are even more Mercedes and Audi's. The houses may be modest but the cars are not.

Seeing the Teslas, Mercedes, Audi's, BMW's and even the occasional Ferrari and Lamborghini on the streets of the San Gabriel Valley, it was with a great deal of surprise the LA Car Show was even worse than last year. In fact, it has steadily gotten worse. I am trying to sort and archive my photos from years past and having just looked at photos I took of the 2006 LA Car Show, it shows a remarkable deterioration of  participants. 90% of the exotics were gone, there was no Tesla S like last year to drool over. In fact, it filled just two halls.

There were so few concept cars, I think you could count them on one hand, at a stretch two. Its as if everyone decided to go home and this was what was left of the party. Signage was terrible. Just getting in was a nightmare, food prices were ridiculous and definitely not what the government guidelines say constitutes a healthy meal. But if you are looking at fast cars, you will probably meet your maker before that heart attack anyway.

Car makers have realized that its the guys that love cars so have always used sexy models in too small of dresses, spiky high heels and purring voices to pitch their metal. However, I choked this year when one of these lovelies called herself a specialist. A specialist of what? I'm betting I knew more about the car she was selling and I don't read about them as much as I did 20 years ago.

What is sad though is that the car makers have missed an opportunity to show their public what is available. Its as if you now have to go to the Cerritos Auto Mall and visit one by one the 30 or so dealerships (more than were at that car show) and endure 30 or more pitches from salesmen along the way. They missed, through their own design, a real opportunity to put their best foot forward, show an adoring car crowd what's up their sleeves and at the same time sell us on their cars.

I noticed that they didn't dare show the posters, like last year, of the glorious car shows of the past. If you were to rank this one, I could give it a 1 out of 100. I got to see the new Chevy Impala and L7 Corvette, check out those vastly improved Korean cars and wonder about in what dimension many of the Japanese models could be considered attractive. The Italiams may lead the way, along with the Germans, in car design but you would never know it.

I noticed that the majority of the salesmen there were using iPads and could get pricing and such at the swipe of a finger. However, looking at the image of a car on a screen will never, EVER replace the real thing.

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