With unpredictable gas prices, economic hardships, and falling sales, the Los Angeles Auto Show is an important event not only for automakers, but for consumers as well. This years LA Auto Show, taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, will answer consumers questions, unveil new cars, and also could be the last time we see all of the Big 3 automakers under one roof.I myself am in the market for a car so I decided that the LA Auto Show would be a great place to get an idea of what new models would be coming out.
The most notable thing that I noticed while in attendance was the trend in the consumers interests. For the most part, automakers like Toyota, Honda, Lexus, Nissan, and Mini-Cooper had by far the largest number of visitors to there exhibits. The main reason behind this can be attributed to there focus on both gas efficiency as well as there focus on reliability. Toyota for example, featured a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)-powered version of the Camry Hybrid which caught the eye of many consumers. Honda and Mini-Cooper also went along the same path as Toyota by choosing to focus there exhibit areas around there ‘eco-friendly’ as well as ‘pocket-friendly’ vehicles.
Lexus and Nissan were definite winners of the auto show as crowds came away excited for there upcoming 2009/2019 vehicles. Most notable of which were the Lexus IS250C, the convertible version of the already popular Lexus IS250, and also the quirky Nissan Cube.
As a consumer, when I looked at the way that Toyota, Honda, Lexus, Nissan, and Mini-Cooper marketed there vehicles and exhibits, there was one key characteristic that all of them shared. It was a very plain and simple element which I believe most of the other carmakers failed to get. That was the concept of “How can we help you.” When I visited other carmakers exhibits I wasn’t asked what kind of car we we’re looking for or even when we we’re looking to buy, but rather we were told why we need this car and how we should take a test drive. Among those that used the latter approach was the big 3 automakers (Ford, GM, Chrysler). Not only were they insensitive to the consumers feelings or desires, but just by looking at the cars they had on display, I can see why they are struggling. The big 3 focused on making cars that they thought consumers wanted, when they really should have been asking us what we wanted.
The LA Auto Show is not only an event for the public to see the new cars, but it also a chance for automakers to show the direction they are going. We all know Mercedes makes luxury cars, but we want to know that they will continue to push the limits on luxury. We know that Ford is struggling to sell cars; we want to know that they are making the appropriate changes to bounce back. At the end of the day I walked out of the convention center with three thoughts in mind:
1. The LA Convention Center is huge
2. “Green” is the new direction of carmakers
3. I love free stuff