Take California: global debuts at the 2011 LA Auto Show

The 2011 LA Auto Show opens its doors to the media today, with Takashi Yamanouchi, representative director, president and chief executive officer of Mazda Motor Corporation giving the Motor Press Guild (MPG) keynote address. The show this year boasts a mix of over 50 debuts, including a handful of interesting global debuts. One of the …

The 2011 LA Auto Show opens its doors to the media today, with Takashi Yamanouchi, representative director, president and chief executive officer of Mazda Motor Corporation giving the Motor Press Guild (MPG) keynote address.

The show this year boasts a mix of over 50 debuts, including a handful of interesting global debuts. One of the big draws will be the unveiling of Ford‘s all-new and highly-anticipated Vertrek concept-based Escape SUV (which, for this vehicle, Ford says stands for ‘Smarter Utility Vehicle’). The vehicle’s US engine range includes Ford’s broadest-yet EcoBoost engine offering. The Kuga, as it will be badged in Europe, will debut in March at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, followed soon after by the version for China.

Facing up to the Escape will be the all-new Honda CR-V. With production beginning in just a few days’ time at the East Liberty, Ohio plant – despite the disruption to Honda’s global production network – Honda will be keen to get the covers off quickly. This is one of two global launches for Honda – the CR-V will be joined by the Fit EV.

The show this year boasts a mix of over 50 debuts, including a handful of interesting global debuts.

The worldwide debuts from General Motors come in the form of the Cadillac XTS and the Camaro ZL1 Convertible. Almost unchanged from its concept, the 3.6-litre, AWD 2013 XTS will be on forecourts from next spring, and marks a number of firsts, including standard Magnetic Ride Control, and Cadillac’s new CUE (‘Cadillac User Experience’) customisable in-car connectivity interface, which includes gesture and natural voice recognition. As for the Camaro, GM claims this version is the world’s most powerful production convertible, with a supercharged 6.2-litre V8 which delivers 580hp.

Jaguar is also unveiling a high-performance convertible; it claims the 186mph (300kph) XKR-S Convertible is “the most powerful and fastest open-topped GT Jaguar has ever built”. Power comes from a supercharged AJ-V8 GENIII gasoline engine which delivers 550PS (405kW) and 502lb/ft (680Nm), and emits 292g/km of CO2.

Infiniti will unveil its three-row luxury JX Crossover, and the IPL G Convertible. Mercedes-Benz M-Class unveiled the new M-Class at the 2011 Frankfurt IAA; in LA, the company will unveil the all-new ML63 AMG, which features the company’s new twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8. Porsche also has surprises in store for the show, but remains tight-lipped as to what these are.

In the heart of California, it’s not surprising that fuel economy will be a hot topic at the Convention Center.

Fuel efficient, hybrid and electric vehicles will be highly evident at the show. The Green Car of the Year will be announced from a final shortlist of the following cars: Ford Focus Electric, Honda Civic Natural Gas, Mitsubishi i, Toyota Prius v and the Volkswagen Passat TDI. BMW‘s i sub-brand makes its North American debut in the form of the i3 and i8 concepts, rubbing shoulders with established cars like the Nissan LEAF and freshers like the XD, an electric concept car built by Croatian specialty vehicle manufacturer, DOK-ING. An announcement on its electric sedan is also expected from CODA.

In the heart of California, it’s not surprising that fuel economy will be a hot topic at the Convention Center; show organisers say there will be around 20 ICE-powered vehicles which deliver at least 40mpg. Just up the road, though, is Hollywood, so it’s equally unsurprising that luxury and high-performance vehicles should make up around half of the show’s debuts.

Martin Kahl is Features Editor at AutomotiveWorld.com

The AutomotiveWorld.com Expert Opinion column is open to automotive industry decision makers and influencers. If you would like to contribute an Expert Opinion piece, please contact editorial@automotiveworld.com

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