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Monday, January 05, 2004

Delays and Illness...

Sorry for the delay, I was sick all weekend. Hence, my plan to take photos at the LA autoshow has been derailed, in fact I don't even know if I'm going to go now. Yeah, it sucks to be sick.

I figure, why would you want photos of the autoshows, when there are an abundance of them already on the internet. I'd rather give my opinions on them (of course the same could be said about opinions as well).

First, I'd like to talk a little about the LA autoshow, and how I think it is one of the most poorly run events in America. Here we live in Los Angeles, the car center of America, and possibly the world, and YET, the autoshow here plays second fiddle to the autoshow in Detroit. This completely ignores the fact that Los Angeles, and Angelenos were the first area of America to wholeheartedly abandon Detroit, for better or for worse, and the Japanese and American auto manufacturers still show all their big releases in Detroit. We get the new Saab/Subaru crossover. Yippee.

The people in charge of the LA autoshow need to make that show the centerpiece for European and Japanese releases in the US. All Japanese designed, but American market only cars should be shown in LA, not in Tokyo. All European manufacturers, should show their wares in LA. Midwesterners don't buy Jags, Beverly Hills/Hollywood types do! The LA autoshow could be the central venue for aftermarket modification as well, instead it is in the shadow of Vegas with SEMA. Part of that is that Vegas is THE place to hold a convention, but it's the general public that buys many of these things, not just manufacturers looking for new ideas. And finally, the LA autoshow has GOT to move it's showings at least a month away from Detroit. Instead, they're nearly at the same time. Totally insane.

I've talked about the Cobalt, which was an LA autoshow showing, so my opinion is already known. Here are the other showings, with my opinions:

Aston Martin DB-9--Well, add this to another of the cars I will never be able to afford. I can't find any shots of the interior, but if it's anything like the DB-7 or Vanquish, it'll probably blow everyone away. I'd never spend this much money on anything I couldn't live in, and considering that it really is a souped-up Jag underneath, I guess I'd really have to be into status symbols and getting nasty whispers about the size of my you know what behind my back as I pass by to buy it. Still looking good, but I think a bit of a let-down from the DB-7. When Aston brags that the DB-7 was the best selling Aston ever, it means nothing. Like most British car companies, this one hardly ever turned a profit, and has only sold well because Ford pumped billions into it. Still uncertain whether this car, or Aston as a whole makes money. Time will tell.

Buick Terraza/Saturn Relay--GM decided to grace the city of coolness, with the two most uncool future production releases. Thanks. I'm not sure whether this is Bob Lutz influenced, but if it is, he needs a doctor. Here is a nice write-up of them. The SUV craze has reached insane proportions, with an attempt to graft the head of an SUV on the body of a mini-van. It reminds me of those horror movies where they grafted a head onto a body, resulting in some twisted monster. It won't fool any consumers that they're driving a big-rig, instead they'll know it's just perfume on a pig. To win in the SUV market, GM needs to stop offering a mini-van from every division, and instead concentrate on merely an average mini-van, and a deluxe mini-van with DVD screens for the kids. Chrysler will continue to dominant this area with feeble competition like this.

Acura TL A-Spec--It's basically an Acura TL, but has been heavily modified. I like the angle the Japanese luxury makers are taking with changing their cars to be cool, rather than just blindly follow the Europeans. Audi, Mercedes, etc, would never do this with a concept, so Acura is going for a quintessential Los Angeles feel here, and blacking out the taillights, adding large exhaust pipes, and basically just making this look like a murderer's car. Worth a shot.

More tomorrow....

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