This is kind of an annual thing I do. Mostly because I love cars and not for the reason the auto show exists, to sell cars to the masses. I’ve never (considering that I’ve been going to these since I was 13 years old) once thought to myself, “oh yes, this booth convinced me to buy this car as soon as I leave this convention center.” Simply put, I don’t have the money for that. I just go there to see/feel what car companies are doing these days.
Last year I tried filming the 2011 LA Auto Show with a Handy Cam. It didn’t work out. But I do remember most of what was there, and with that memory in mind had points of comparison. 2011’s auto show saw a very lackluster showing from Chevrolet, which was especially harsh because it was a company at the center of economic collapse and politics at the time. This year, however, not one company’s showroom was all that disappointing. In fact this year, it’d be hard to pick a winner. Chevy definitely improved, showing more cars, even including more Camaros for people to toy with. In 2011, I would’ve said Ford’s floor won the show, and this year was pretty much the same. But Chrysler, with all it’s “new” sub-brands (Dodge, Ram, SRT, Fiat, Jeep) was also pretty high on my enjoyable scale. I should point out that I am a Jeep owner and over the last year I really wanted a new Ford Mustang, so there is some bias there, but it was definitely a good overall showing from Chrysler, especially with SRT and Fiat. If I had to pick a loser of the bunch, Honda could’ve done better, but that’s not saying much. Some of their models on the floor seemed a little dated compared to the rest, but overall well done, Auto Industry. Looks like you’re going to be okay.
Honda had the unfortunate luck to park their concept vehicle next to this guy, the SRT Viper.
In 2011, a lot of car companies were pushing their sub-compact brands. It was the first time Fiat was at the LA Auto Show (at least since I’ve been there) with their new 500. At the time we (my dad and I) thought it’d be funny to cram the two of us 6-foot giants into the sub-compact’s back seat. Our legs and our heads didn’t fit, but what we didn’t realize at the time is there was comfortable room between our shoulders, and that’s why this year’s Fiat 500 showcase was all the more enjoyable. The shocker from 2011 was the Scion iQ, which we didn’t even bother getting in. Just from looking into the back, you could see the front seats, when fully extended, pushed into the excuse for a back seat, thereby eliminating all leg room. Sadly, this year the iQ did not improve. I tried to fit into the back seat, and that apparently got the attention of the rep, who tried to prove me wrong. Little did he know his height was lacking, and that even if he was comfortable in the front seat with a 6-foot male in the back, that 6-foot male’s father would have no place in that car with them. But I won that argument, when I said just get one of the other Scions if you’re really trying to cram into the back. So the sub-compact battle goes to the Fiat 500. Again.
This guy is enjoying the Abarth.
As far as favorites go, again I have to warn you with my bias towards Jeep and Ford. Jeep had a fully-customized Wrangler rig, with a huge lift, that they were taking pictures for everyone of. Everyone else had trouble climbing into that beast. Which even I understand, it was missing rock sliders or any kind of step into it. But I was able to mantle into the driver seat in one motion, without having to adjust the steering wheel or seat. I was the most comfortable in that car, simply because it was a car I’m attuned to. As far as sports cars, I again sat in a Shelby GT500 and was impressed. But for the most part, all but one car was comfortable. That car was the Cadillac CTS-V. And I thought that was strange. You see, it lacked some room in the back, and no matter how I adjusted the driver seat, it still had me arching my back into an awkward position. And that’s what’s strange. That car had the most leather out of all the cars I tried, and it was the most uncomfortable experience I had at the show. I didn’t get to try the ATS. Maybe I should’ve.
Me and my Shelby bias.
All things considered, it was a very enjoyable experience. The cars for the most part were great. The models out on the floor were great. I’d say this 2012 auto show shows the auto industry is back on top of it.