The LA Auto Show and Tokyo Motor Show competed for attention during the same time last week, which was different than usual for these major vehicle exhibitions. Luxury cars and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles were the stars in Los Angeles, and the Tokyo show was filled with far out, fanciful concept cars.
Media saw 56 new models in Los Angeles including 22 world debuts, up from 49 previews from the previous LA Auto Show. That may be an indicator of the auto industry’s continued recovery. Connected Car Expo was held for the first time ever right before the LA Auto Show started up, and featured expert panelists on telematics, advanced technologies, and a growing alliance between automakers and technology giants. Autonomous cars were discussed by panelists that included Jeff Klei, North American president of major supplier Continental AG, and Ron Medford, Google’s director of safety for self-driving cars. Google has played a major role in testing out driverless cars, but doesn’t have a timetable for when it will release its own autonomous vehicles.
On the , Porsche introduced the compact crossover Macan, which expands its lineup to five models. Lincoln rolled out its MKC, its first ever compact crossover. Jaguar unveiled the F-Type coupe, an all-aluminum performance car. Mercedes had a few premieres to show at both LA and Tokyo, such as the S 65 AMG with its V12 engine and the SLS AMG GT Final Edition super sports car. Infiniti displayed its Q30 concept car for the first time in North America.
Fuel cell vehicles grabbed much media attention at the LA Auto Show. Hyundai showed off a fuel cell version of its Tucson sport-utility vehicle. Hyundai plans to sell 1,000 of these fuel cell vehicles next year in California for a monthly lease price of $499 with $2,999 down. Honda plans to roll out another fuel cell vehicle (in addition to its FCX Clarity) in the US in 2015. Honda unveiled its FCEV, its next-generation fuel cell vehicle.
Several Japanese automakers showed new models in both Los Angeles and Tokyo. On the hydrogen fuel cell side, Toyota showed its FCV (fuel cell vehicle) concept sedan in Tokyo. Toyota said that it’s a “practical concept” of the fuel cell vehicle it plans to launch in 2015; the car will use hydrogen to generate electricity that can travel about 300 miles after a refueling. The concept car can hold four passengers and be refueled in minutes.