L.A. Auto Show Preview

Those who follow the car industry know that two of the biggest auto shows of the year — the North American International Auto Show, held in Detroit, and the Los Angeles Auto Show — traditionally were held the first or second week of January. And for the past couple of decades, the two shows have famously stepped on each other’s toes, often running simultaneously and competing for news-making car introductions, with L.A. routinely coming up on the losing end. That’s understandable, since Detroit has historically been the center of the North American auto industry.

So this year, L.A. decided to do something about it’s bridesmaid status by moving its show dates out of the shadow of the Detroit show. The 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show is scheduled to run from Friday, Dec. 1 through Sunday, Dec. 10, with press previews (and major introductions) scheduled for Nov. 29 and 30. The dates for the Detroit Auto Show will remain in its traditional early-January timeslot, from January 13-21, 2007, with press dates scheduled for Jan. 7-9.

For the L.A. show, this has been a major stroke of genius, giving it the chance to get a jump on the Detroit show. And automakers are responding by scheduling no less than 18 world debuts for production and concept vehicles, and 12 North American vehicle debuts.

For auto aficionados, that means there will be a lot of car news rolling out from manufacturers over the next few weeks, and a whole bunch of new cars to oogle at.

So what will we see at the L.A. show? BMW will introduce its all-new 3-series coupe, as well as a new hydrogen vehicle, called the Hydrogen 7. Nissan will show off its new Sentra performance vehicles, dubbed the SE-R and SE-R Spec V, and a new Saturn Vue, based on the Opel Antara, will debut, as will new vehicles from Cadillac, Mazda, Audi, Aston Martin, and Volkswagen. In addition, Bob Lutz of GM has hinted that his company will introduce a new electric vehicle. Stay tuned for additional updates and full coverage during the show.

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