LA Auto Show: The Undercovered Bits

David Moore
by David Moore
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la auto show the undercovered bits

You’ve no doubt read Alex’s coverage of the Cadillac XTS, Mazda CX-5 and others on TTAC all day, but there’s a lot that goes on at auto shows besides just new car introductions. I’m here to fill in the gaps.

Best Concept: Volvo Concept You

Volvo’s Concept You looked just as sleek and stunning on the show floor. The down-turned taillights echo the Horbury shoulders of recent Volvos, but this is new ground for Volvo. No powerplant was mentioned, and I didn’t have a chance to try out the novel FreshAir subwoofer developed in conjunction with Alpine.

Volvo’s Concept You was first unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

Best New Hassle-Saver: Ford Escape’s foot-activated tailgate

Ford introduced the new C-platform Escape with EcoBoost engines and a novel foot-level motion sensor for to open the power tailgate. With full hands, this feature works great–except when you don’t have the key fob, it doesn’t work, as a bunch of sore-legged auto journos found out when repeated kicks to the area didn’t achieve any opening. A thoughtful Ford rep set us straight.

Best Press Conference: Kia Motors

When Honda talks about “the power of dreams” and other companies trump up their achievements, the weary auto show journalist appreciates Kia’s Pardon the Interuption topical countdown. “Fifteen items in fifteen minutes” was promised, and the upfront overview and self-discipline of a countdown in full view made it easy to overlook the fact that Kia didn’t really have that much new to say.

Best Celebrity Joining the Press Conference: Blake Griffin–Kia Motors.

Griffin arrives in a basketball-themed car by West Coast Customs. They made NBA lockout jokes and his shoe size. Griffin also shows his acting chops in an Optima commercial in which he does lunges while feeding a deer and lecturing two campers about Optima’s safety record.

This was better than Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol actress Paula Patton’s interview with BMW CEO Ludwig Willisch. Willisch seem uncomfortable with Patton’s considerable beauty, while Patton seem uncomfortable with following a script as she giggled her way through a puff interview that strayed far from lines displayed on the teleprompters. In fact, maybe Willisch was uncomfortable with improvisation. Anyway, it would win Best Awkward Moment except for…

Best Awkward Moment: David Moore,

While trying to get a shot of Patrick Dempsey with Mazda NA CEO Jim O’Sullivan during the Mazda CX-5 introduction, I was assaulted–assaulted!-by a videographer who objected to my placement near his equipment. And when I say assaulted, I mean grabbed–firmly– on my shoulder and pulled away. No charges were filed, but I did get the picture. You can thank me in the comments.

Best Useful Feature: Infiniti JX

Infiniti’s new seven-passenger SUV has a second-row that allows access to the third-row without collapsing either seat back or seat cushion. So what? Those with children will immediately realize that this allows third-row access without removing and reinstalling a child safety seat, thus preventing passengers from the “rear-hatch entry/egress of shame.”

Best Unimportant Feature: Center console ashtray lid, Aston Martin V12 Vantage.

You get at lot for your $200k. Sexy looks, British heritage, and a screaming 500-hp V12. Not least important, the high-quality alloy ashtray lid that closes with the thunk of a Fiat 800 t-boning a Benz. I told a Honda employee with me in the car that it was my favorite feature. He laughed because he knew Honda could never produce such a lovely thing.

Most Delicious Emissions: Nissan NV2500/CoolHaus

An institution among the Los Angeles food truck cognoscenti, CoolHaus serves gourmet ice cream sandwiches. Nissan used its very, uh, functional-looking NV2500 cargo van to give out the sweet treats.

Best New Car Intro: BMW M5

The 4.4 twin-turbo V8 bellowed in fury, then rolled slowly onto the stage as BMW PR reps formed a human wall against people getting in it’s five mile-per-hour fury. It was as fitting an introduction as the gaggle of Chevy Sparks darting onto the stage like pastel hyperactive lemmings.

Best Use of a Backpack as a Desk: Alex L. Dykes

If you think it’s easy running from one press conference to another, think again. Intrepid journalist Alex L. Dykes tirelessly covered the most significant introductions for you while furiously typing and coordinating with photographer Rob. When is the time to type? Anytime you’ve got a backpack that can double as a desk, my friend.

Disclosure: A press pass was received in exchange for access to the event. Ford furnished a hot dog and a soda. BMW also provided a soda. The author also received a few USB drives from Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac.

David Moore
David Moore

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  • ToolGuy I appreciate the thoughtful comments from the little people here, and I would like to remind everyone that Ford Motor Company offers a full range of vehicles which are ideal for any driving environment including New York City. The size and weight our of product portfolio has been fully and completely optimized to be friendly to the planet and friendly to pedestrians while consuming the bare minimum of resources from our precious planet (I am of course a lifelong environmentalist). Plus, our performance models will help you move forward and upward by conquering obstacles and limits such as congestion and your fellow humans more quickly at a higher rate of speed. I invite you to learn more at our website.Signed, William Clay Ford Jr.
  • George Hughes What ever happened to the American can-do attitude. I know what, it was coopted by the fossil fuel industry in their effort to protect their racket.
  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriors
  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.