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2012 Los Angeles auto show preview

Earlier date for LA show has helped increase its international status

Published: November 22, 2012, 10:00 PM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 3:55 PM

BMW i8 Roadster - side view

Six years ago, the Los Angeles International Show moved its traditional show dates ahead a month, from the late-December/early-January period to late-November/early December. By so-doing, it immediately and dramatically increased its stature in the international auto industry.

Prior to that date change, the LA show typically overlapped the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, and came out second best in terms of both media attention and importance to manufacturers.

As a result, most of the best new-vehicle reveals went to Detroit, or at best, shared the spotlight at the two venues.

Separating the two by an additional month allowed the LA show to blossom outside Detroit's shadow. Now it is a major international show in its own right, typically hosting multiple major world and North American debuts.

The 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, which begins with media preview days on November 28-29, is no exception, playing host to more than 20 world premieres and a similar number of North American debuts.

Those introductions will include:

Acura RLX 

Acura debuted a concept version of its new 2014 RLX flagship sedan at the New York show. This time it's the real thing – the production model that's set to go on sale sometime next spring.


BMW iEco Concept

With its i3 and i8 concept vehicles now well into the process of development for production, BMW will introduce another iteration of its electrically-driven "i" series called the iEco Concept.

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BMW i8 Roadster

The open-top version of BMW's i8 sports car concept, with a 354-horsepower plug-in hybrid powertrain will also make its world debut in LA. How it differs from the i8 Spyder concept shown in Beijing last spring remains to be seen.

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Chevrolet Spark EV

The Chevrolet Spark EV is GM's first foray into the battery-electric vehicle (BEV) market since the ill fated EV1 of "Who killed the electric car?" fame. We've already driven it.

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Fiat 500e

Fiat will introduce a battery-electric version of its diminutive 500e, which will be sold only in California, at least initially. It's also expected to show a longer-wheelbase, 500 L version of the gasoline model.

Ford C-Max and Fusion Energi

Ford showed its plug-in hybrid C-Max Energi van/wagon at the Detroit show in January. This is the production model and it will be accompanied by a similarly-powered Fusion sedan, also scheduled for production.

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Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai's new Santa Fe has already been tested and won the AJAC (Automobile Journalists Association of Canada) Best New CUV/SUV ($35,000-$60,000) award from  but this will be its auto show debut. We've already driven it.

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Honda Civic

Canada's perpetual best-selling car gets a significant refresh for 2013. While LA will be its official public debut, the new Civic is scheduled to go on sale in Canadian dealerships just a couple weeks later, on December 10.

Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid

Honda's new Accord, which just went on sale this fall, will be joined early in 2013 by a plug-in hybrid version that is combines Honda's first two-motor hybrid system with its new Earth Dreams 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine.

Jaguar XF/XFR-S

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Jaguar's long-awaited XF (F-Type) sports car, introduced at the Paris auto show, will make its North American debut, and with it a limited-production high-performance version designated XFR-S.

Kia Forte Sedan

Little information has been released about changes to Kia's compact sedan except that an updated version of the Hyundai Elantra sibling is scheduled for introduction at the LA show.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé 'Black Series'

Joining 'Black Series' versions of other AMG models, Mercedes-Benz will show the AMG 'Black Series' variant of its gull-winged SLS Coupé.

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Porsche Cayman

Based heavily on the Porsche Boxster, which was itself recently redesigned, expect the new Cayman to be both smaller and lighter but also roomier inside. LA will also see the North American debut of the new 911 Carrera 4.

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Subaru Forester

 All-new for 2014, Subaru's 2014 Forester looks much like its predecessor but it's more compact on the outside and bigger on the inside. This is its auto show debut but we've already driven it.

Toyota RAV4

Toyota says the 2013 RAV4 is a new generation in terms of style, sophistication strength and dynamism. Like the current model, the next-generation compact CUV will be built in Canada, in Woodstock, Ontario.

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Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

 Where better than Los Angeles to introduce the third-generation VW Beetle Convertible. Its looks still align closely with the first generation, type 15 convertibles dating back to the early '50s.

We'll bring you more news from LA's media preview days on November 28-29.