Impressions from the LA Auto Show

Impressions from the 2011 LA Auto Show….

 Opened Friday for a 10-day run, the thousand-car Los Angeles Auto Show reveals a few things about today’s compromised car-selling and –buying climate.

 Way less flash than in previous years.  Carmakers used to dazzle us with imaginatively altered current models and futuristic “concept” vehicles intended to inflame our sense of the (somewhat) possible. This year, not so much. Painting a Camaro neon green or turning a Scion turned into a traveling tool box just doesn’t make it. Without the juice of wow-look-at-that, the auto show is just another vast car mall. Shouldn’t there be entertainment value for a $12 admission charge?

 Let’s put green into perspective You can’t walk 50 feet at this year’s show without tripping over yet another hybrid, plug-in hybrid, plug-in all-electric or natural-gas fueled car. (And some are so small you might literally trip over them.) Offering cars that have higher mileage and less impact on the environment is certainly a noble aim. But when Rolls-Royce rumbles out a massive all-electric sedan is when I, for one, begin to wonder if the green theme that overflows this year’s show is another cynical marketing strategy.

 When did Adam Corolla become Jay Leno?    Wandering the press preview days, I spied Corolla being repeatedly interviewed in front of various vehicles. The C-list celebrity was the only vaguely famous person around. I guess it’s the economy.

 Lord, won’t you buy me a pair of Christian Louboutins.   Apparently, reduced times call for fewer stilettos. The cadre of young women hopefully referred to as “product specialists” (aka car babes) may be the canary in the cage of the auto industry. I don’t think I’m projecting here, but in past years haven’t all these Vanna White wanna-bes perched on the highest of heels? This year, lots of them had dumped their five-inchers for Converse All-Stars or sensible flat-heeled boots. At least the models whose contracts still called for skyscrapers looked as if their feel hurt just as much as in previous years. 

 The LA Auto Show runs through November 27 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Information:






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