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LA Auto Show is strangely normal – and this is normal

We are in the second year of the coronavirus pandemic and it continues to take its toll on major auto shows. Some have been canceled altogether, such as shows in New York and Geneva, and others such as Chicago and Detroit has been scaled down considerably with different formats. When we make plans range of LA Show, we expect something less, as only four major OEMs hold press conferences, the rest of the day is filled with small startups. But as it turned out, things were going almost as usual at the convention center.

Sure, there are still signs that the world is still a bit messy. Masks are required throughout the convention center. Attendees must present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test prior to entry. One of the odd decisions was not to provide name badges, to keep communication between staff and attendees to a minimum. This led to a lot of awkward looks as we all tried to figure out who was behind our masks. James Riswick and I brought our own name tags for this.

But let’s put that aside, and nothing really out of the ordinary. The displays have been spread across the main halls as in previous years. And unlike in Chicago, everything was assembled before the media arrived. Each hall was quite packed, even in the absence of some major manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Honda, Mazda and Volvo. Technically, the latter three have display screens, but only because their Galpin dealers put something together. And as soon as the press conference started, each booth was filled with journalists pouring into the adjacent booths. If you don’t show up at least five minutes before the start of the conference, you’ll be staring at the back of people’s heads and cameras.

But the fact that there have been major revelations is the main sign that things are returning to normal. Hyundai and That brought flashy electrical concepts. Subaru makes production debut Solterra (rework, do it again Toyota bZ4X), and Fisker provided more details on Ocean SUV electric. Those are just the big car companies that have press conferences. Porsche launched a turn of the new model, some of which are a number evil performers. Has Dodge been revealed yet? Hellcats are stronger. Nissan showed a New tool for Rogue and pricing for Ariya, turns out there are pretty interior. Even automakers that don’t have an official presence showcased things close to the show, such as Integration of Acura a week before the hand, and Mazda CX-50 same week as the program.

This is all just touching the established automakers. Startups have made a big splash, especially Fisker and VinFast. The second is a Vietnamese EV builder with cars designed by Pininfarina, and their screens are as big as any major OEM.

The fact that the LA Auto Show goes on as usual and is well attended, while still in the midst of a pandemic, gives us hope that the rumors of the auto show death are blowing up. excessive swelling. As James Riswick astutely points out, the concerts still have key benefits for everyone involved. This is an opportunity for automakers to share the cost of bringing the press to an event for coverage. This is an opportunity for journalists to get up close and personal with new media, and more importantly, talk to executives, engineers and others without being held hostage across the line. presentation hours of a company. And this is an opportunity for consumers to experience the product without being stalked by dealers trying to get you into a car, any car, today.

Of course, there’s still a lot of uncertainty in the future (we mentioned pandemics, didn’t we?). And we wouldn’t be surprised if we still see weird cancellations next year. At last, Geneva has been canceled for 2022. But we think the auto show seasons will continue to rebuild next year. In a year or two, we might even see them at pre-pandemic levels.

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