Luxury and Fuel Cell Cars Grab Attention at LA Auto Show

by Jon LeSage, remar­ket­ing edi­tor at Auto­mo­tive Digest

The 2013 LA Auto Show saw more debuts than last year… a pos­i­tive sign?

The LA Auto Show and Tokyo Motor Show com­pet­ed for atten­tion dur­ing the same time last week. 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.

Con­nect­ed Car Expo was held for the first time ever right before the LA Auto Show start­ed up. Ford’s Jim Far­ley called on automak­ers and tech com­pa­nies to work togeth­er to bring the wide gap between tech­nolo­gies togeth­er. 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.

On the lux­u­ry front at the LA Auto Show, 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 2014 Hon­da Accord took the Green Car of the Year award for its high fuel econ­o­my rat­ings and per­for­mance fea­tures. All three vari­a­tions were hon­ored – the gaso­line, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid ver­sions. The Accord beat out four oth­er final­ists – the Audi A6 TDI, the BMW 328d, the Mazda3, and Toy­ota Corol­la. Last year, anoth­er mid-sized US-based automak­er car took the Green Car of the Year award for a mod­el with gaso­line, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid vari­ants – the Ford Fusion.

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