LA Auto Show and Tokyo Compete for Attention

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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.

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