General Motors, Audi, Chrysler and Bentley stole the show with their large array of new and customized models. General Motors introduced the award-winning Chevrolet Spark with Richard James, Product Communications Manager of General Motors Western Region, proclaiming “the Spark is a great car for young drivers of today and the future.” General Motors previewed its new Chevrolet Camaro XL1, the Hot Wheels customized car that should give brand endurance to the already superstar model.
Chrysler showed it’s truly going overboard with Fiat, which I was somewhat unsure of in its original debut. However, sales have been brisk, and at the show, the Fiat line grew stronger with the debut one of the coolest sport cars I’ve seen: the Fiat Abarth. I got a chance to speak with Product Market Specialist from Fiat, Andrew Waterhouse, who told me that “the Abarth is not a just a car for the racing enthusiast but everyone who enjoys a fun car, and it will steal attention on the road.” Adding to Chrysler’s presence at the show was the Beats by Dre 300S luxury sedan. It was the focus of many visitors’ attention because of one the greatest sound systems I’ve ever heard and a beautiful interior. I predict that we’ll be seeing this car at almost every L.A. street corner.
Audi introduced its S-Line, which according to Product and Motorsports Communications Manager Mark Dahncke, “will be a strong competitor to the Mercedes S550 and E-Class series, and along with the R8 Spyder, which is in a class by itself, shows that it’s going to be a strong decade for Audi.”
A highlight of the show was the special high-end section, which was an entertaining experience that brought together the Hollywood superstar appeal of Patrick Dempsey (“Grey’s Anatomy,” Transformers: Dark of the Moon), who “loved the cars from Bentley,” including the Continental GTC with its beautiful look, sharper and sleeker, more aerodynamic design. Alasdair Stewart, Board Member for Sales and Marketing for Bentley Motors, said, “The GTC matches power and performance; it hits 60 miles per hour from standstill in just 4.5 seconds, which most high-end luxury sports cars don’t satisfy.” Bentley also featured the Mulsanne, a must-see. If you check out the backseat, you will feel as if you’re in a technological dream. The double iPad tray-style tables and a large monitor that can be controlled by an Apple Bentley app make you feel as if you are at home.
Not be outdone, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin rolled out special cars that commanded attention. Rolls-Royce showed a beautiful Ghost model which garners stares the road. Oleg Satanovsky commented, “The new Ghost is a car that steals attention wherever you drive it.” He also mentioned the Phantom, with its longer body, has a backseat ride that is a heavenly experience. Aston Martin showcased its nearly two million-dollar One-77 speedster, which looks very similar to a true-life Batmobile, and for the price tag you have to feel like Bruce Wayne.
Lotus also had strong showings with Evora, a beautiful, sleek car with strong performance and fuel emissions. Marketing and PR Communications Director Kevin Smith said that this is Lotus’ strongest showing of yet and that he has a great outlook of the vehicles for the next couple of years.
Honda may have won the Green Car award with the Honda Civic Natural Gas car, but Toyota led the green way with the Prius lineup. Big and small, Prius has something for everyone, according to National Small Car Marketing Manager of Toyota, Ed La Rocque.
The Honda Civic turned heads, though; Even Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had to steal a couple of photos with it. Volkswagen had strong showings with the TDI lineup and a 43 mpg (highway) Passat. Nissan’s Leaf still truly commands lots of buzz and is quite a beauty for a zero-emissions vehicle.
Many say that the reason the car industry’s earlier failure was because of inefficient planning, but manufacturers are making sure they are not going to make the same mistake twice. Several had concept cars that definitely made you realize we are officially in a new car age. Nothing made this more apparent than Croatia’s DOK-ING XD, which is a unique three-seat smart car with the coolest drive ejector seat ever.
Talk of new models also surrounded Mexican high-end sports car company, Mastretta that introduced the XRC. Company President and General Manager Carlos Mastretta also commented, “The MXT was Mastretta’s first model, but is a great sports car without the high price tag.” For $60,000 you get the look and feel of a true high-end sports car. I think Mastretta will be a commodity in the near future.
BMW introduced their ultra-cool i8, which was aptly titled the most progressive sports car ever. It will be seen in the new Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol film, and attendees said it is almost close to a flying car.
Nissan/Infiniti introduced the Essence, which was one of my favorites. It was an unusual car but extremely cool and unique. I felt like I was looking at a Nissan Murano Cabriolet – a sort of weird looking SUV convertible. I really think this is going to catch on.
Cadillac introduced the Ciel, which appeared to be a modern take of the 62 El Dorado convertibles. Jaguar introduced the C-X75, which showed that the brand is capturing its stride once again and should regain its dominance in the near future. Kia showed that its continuing its journey into the future with a concept car that showed it is going to be a strong competitor in the years to come.
There were many strong showings at the Auto Show, and they proved that car companies are finally paying attention and giving the public what it wants.