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Wednesday, 13 November, 2013 6:23 PM

PREVIEW: 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf and 2015 MINI Cooper make up two of 50-plus debuts coming to 2013 L.A. Auto Show

MPG Motoring Invitational, Connected Car Expo, FASTPITCH Competition and NewsCruise Reception are new additions to the show

Photo credit: Volkswagen

The 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf electric SUV will make its debut at the 2013 L.A. Auto Show.


by Jason Rzucidlo



LOS ANGELES -- The 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the media on Nov. 19 and then to the public on Nov. 22. It runs everyday through Dec. 1, including Thanksgiving Day, at the L.A. Convention Center. This year’s world debuts will include the 2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe, 2015 MINI Cooper, 2015 Subaru WRX and the Honda FCEV Concept, among many others. Over the last few years, the L.A. Auto Show has grown into the second largest show in the country only behind Detroit.

Some of this year’s North American debuts are expected to include the BMW Concept X4, 2015 KIA K900, 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA Class, 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf, 2014 BMW 4 Series, 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, and many others yet to be announced.

“The North American auto industry is doing so well and everyone is having record sales years,” said Brendan Flynn, senior communications director of the L.A. Auto Show. “We’re going to have a record number of debuts this year—about 23 world debuts, close to 55 North American debuts. If you didn’t make it to Frankfurt, a lot of those debuts are going to be coming to L.A. It’s going to be a big year.”

Flynn said there will be many upgrades to this year’s show when compared to last year.

“We brought on a new general manager and in the off-season we had a chance to sit down with all of the manufacturers and talk to them about what they really want to see out of L.A.,” he added. “They want to see L.A. be more L.A. They want to see more celebrity involvement, more activities and so we’ve changed everything. We’ve started on the 19th with a conference called the Connected Car Expo. It’s really a news day. We’re going to have three or four press conferences plus top speakers from Google, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, MIT, Stanford. All of the major automakers are going to have a presence here. There’s about 50,000 square feet of exhibit space focused on technology alone. That’s a big change. It really mirrors what the auto industry is doing.”

This year, press days have been expanded to three instead of the two as in previous years.

“The first day as I mentioned is this Connected Car Expo,” the senior communications director explained. “That night, in order to add more hospitality, we’re throwing our first-ever press days kickoff party. We have a live performance from a band called Bronze Radio Return. This is sponsored by Pandora so they are bringing some live music. AOL is going to announce their six finalists for Technology of the Year to kickoff the party. We expect a couple thousand people that will be in a party here in the convention center that evening.”

The Motor Press Guild’s Motoring Invitational is a new addition to the show on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

“The next morning, we open up with this really unique car show that focuses on the car culture of southern California. We think we’ll have about 70 cars from some interesting names in the business—top car collectors like Bruce Meyer to Barry McGuire, Corky Coker, George Barris is actually going to be celebrating his birthday. It’s going to be really fun. A sort of who’s who of southern California car culture.”

How did you manage to get Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec to speak?

“He’s actually a tech entrepreneur,” Flynn said. “He’s launched many new tech companies and then he sold them and made lots of money and now he’s on the TV show. We have as part of the Connected Car Expo a competition that we’re calling our FASTPITCH and it’s sponsored by Splunk. They’re providing a $40,000 prize to a company that has the best new technology idea when it comes to connectivity in the automobile. Robert’s genuinely into that. He’s going to be on a panel talking about how entrepreneurs are really changing the auto industry. Then, he’s going to announce the winner to our FASTPITCH competition. His panel is at 4:30 on Nov. 19 and then we’ll announce the winner shortly after the panel.”

Please discuss some of the concept cars that will be out here.

“I think we have at least 13 or 14 concept cars—a couple of them I can’t tell you about because they are debuts,” he added. “Something that’s new this year that is focused on the design industry and the concepts and that is going to run for the full show and the consumers as well is a whole separate gallery that’s about 12,000 square feet of concept cars and the studio’s that designed them. Never before have we done this. We’re actually having 16 auto design studios. These are the top ones like BMW Designworks, CALTY (which is Toyota’s), GM Advanced Design, about 16 studios based in southern California here, which a lot of people don’t know. We’re going to have some Chinese studios like Changfeng all displaying small displays about their studios themselves and concepts. On the show floor, you’re going to see a lot of concepts—debuts and some that we’ve been around for a little bit. It’s definitely going to be a concept heavy show.”

Let’s talk about the production models. Are we going to see 2015’s here?

“Primarily, those are the model years you are going to see launch,” the senior communications director explained. “BMW announced they’re going to have the 4 Series Convertible here. MINI is going to be launching the third-generation of the MINI Cooper. That’s big news for them. It’s going to be a big global reveal that’s happening simultaneously at their plant in Oxford and in Tokyo and in L.A. Porsche has the new Macan, which is an all-new car for them. That’s a really significant debut to happen in L.A. Mercedes has three or four world debuts. Subaru has two world debuts. We’re seeing world debuts from the Germans, the Japanese, the Koreans. KIA has a world debut, so does Hyundai.”

Would you say that the Big Three automakers are back? How about in the southern California market?

“Absolutely from a manufacturing perspective, they’re back. I think GM is once again the top selling manufacturer. Ford has just been doing some amazing things. As far as their reputation in southern California, absolutely they’ve made some great strides in market share out here. Anecdotally, you see more Ford's on the road then ever and more GM products than ever as well as Chrysler. The Fiat 500 you see it all over the place. It’s a huge hit in southern California especially in L.A. when it’s really crowded. I drive a Ford Edge for example. Yeah, I think the three U.S. brand manufacturers have really done a good job at regaining market share in southern California.”

What can members of the media expect to see on press days?

“You’re going to see a mix of Green vehicles, some really forward-looking Green concepts,” Flynn said. “Of course, it’s L.A. so you’re going to see a lot of luxury and performance vehicle debuts. You’re going to see the small SUV wars happening at the luxury level. Of course, you have the Macan and the Jaguar CX-17 and the Mercedes-Benz GL 250. You saw that start with the Range Rover Evoque. Porsche is going to have a couple other world debuts—the 911 Cabriolet and the 911 Turbo S, I believe. You’re going to see regular production cars—the bread and butter sellers from some manufacturers.”

He said the public days will be different from the press days in several ways.

“The public can expect to see more celebration of car culture,” the senior communications director explained. “Of course, we’re going to have all of the great manufacturer exhibits. Some of them are going to be bigger and they’re going to see perhaps some more vehicles. The Aftermarket Hall is significantly enhanced. They’re going to see more things that are unique to southern California. Craig Jackson from Barrett Jackson is bringing some beautiful cars that he’s going to have out here. The Petersen Automotive Museum is bringing a big scale model of their new building. There’s going to be more eye candy, I guess, if you will for the consumers.”

Which vehicles are participating in the ride-and-drive outside?

“The consumer day ride-and-drive for the public that’s going to be happening both weekends of the show is not all locked in who’s going to be here. But we’re doing to have more ride-and-drives than we’ve had before. I would say 13 different manufacturers, probably 45-50 vehicles they’re going to be able to drive. I know Ford is involved, Hyundai is involved, Dodge. Most of the manufacturers that were here last year are coming back again.”

I saw a rumor that Alfa Romeo might be having a press conference. Can you confirm that?

“I cannot confirm that,” Flynn said. “I’ve seen those same rumors. As of now, they’re not on my press conference schedule.”

Please discuss the Designer’s Night activities and how it will be different from last year.

“Design LA, which is the conference that we’ve held around the design industry, is in its 10th year,” he added. “That’s why we’ve expanded the exhibit area. We’re going to have all of these studios here. We’re going to have a Designer’s Open House in the afternoon. It’s a chance for the media to come and talk to the heads of these studios and then see what these studios are doing. That evening, we’re having our Designer’s Night Party, which we’ve had every year for 10 years. Now, we’re doing it here at the convention center. We used to do it off-site at a club. It’s going to be here on the show floor so when the party’s over everyone who comes through it will be able to walk through the halls. It’s going to be open because it’s also part of our charity preview night.”

In your press release, it mentioned some upgrades to the show. What would those be?

“One of those is we moved Preview Night from a party that used to happen in the lobby and you could go on the show floor,” the senior communications director explained. “We’ve integrated the party into the show itself. As you’re walking around and seeing all of these great new vehicles, you can stop and have a drink and get some food. We talked about the Motoring Invitational, the Connected Car Expo. We’ve changed our registration, which impacts media. It’s automated and kind of like when you go to the airport and have your E-Ticket and go scan it. We’re going to do something similar here. We’ve expanded the media center. It’s in a larger room with more conference rooms and more lockers. We’ve changed pretty much everything to do with the show.”

There’s going to be many awards passed out at the show. Can you talk about some of those?

“We mentioned the AOL Autos Technology of the Year Award. They’re going to have their six finalists. On Thursday, Nov. 21, we’re going to do the Green Car of the Year award. Those five finalists have been announced. Kelley Blue Book on Nov. 19 is going to do their Best Residual Value Awards. The Motor Press Guild has modified it this year and it’s going to be their Innovation of the Year Vehicle award. It’s going to be more about technology and something innovative that a manufacturer has done. Motor Trend has an award that they’re doing. Automobile Magazine has an award that they’re unveiling. There’s going to be a lot of them.”

Would you say there’s going to be more alternative-energy vehicles such as electrics and diesels?

“Industry wide, we’re seeing a continuation of the electrification of vehicles,” Flynn said. “Plug-ins are really hot. Electrics are hot. We’re going to see the new e-Golf, which is going to be available in the U.S. for the first time from Volkswagen. I know we’re going to see a couple hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that are going to be for sale—not just future concepts, but actually for sale. Probably in limited quantities like a test fleet. Diesel is a huge story. As a matter of fact, there’s at least one diesel that’s a finalist in Green Car of the Year. Plug-in hybrids and electrics and diesels are the now technology and then hydrogen fuel cell has definitely not been forgotten. I think a lot of people are banking on that as the future technology.”

In regards to the convention center here, any updates on Farmer’s Field?

“No, we still hear rumors that there could be a team coming and it really hinges on that. If we do get a team, it’s going to be good. We’re standing here in West Hall. This would be the stadium. What they would do first is basically double the size of South Hall. Once that’s done, this would come down. We actually like that idea because we would then have one, big contiguous hall. I know the media that come to press days would like it because they’re not going side to the other and back again. Either way, it works for us.”

Any other comments?

Flynn added: “Something that’s new for press days on the Thursday afternoon, is that we’re calling our Kentia Hall NewsCruise & Reception. To feature some of the great news that’s down there, we’re doing a whole hour and half block of time that’s going to be a happy hour and a chance to come down and see the news that’s happening down there. As we’re seeing more technology getting into vehicles, a critical part of discussion is how technology is changing automotive retail. We’re working closely with the National Automotive Dealer Association; they’re hosting their Western Automotive Conference here on the 19th. J.D. Power & Associates and NADA are going to host a special panel on Thursday, Nov. 21 that really looks at how technology is changing automotive retail. That’s really quite an interesting discussion. I’ve heard a little bit about both sides of the story in planning for this. I think that’s something that shouldn’t be missed.”

The black-tie Sneak Preview Night returns on Thursday, Nov. 21 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $225 with all proceeds being donated to Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) of Los Angeles.

General admission tickets are $10 for weekdays and $12 for weekends (Fri.-Sun.). Seniors are $8, children (ages 6-12) are $6 and free for children ages five and under. Discounted group tickets are available for groups of 50 or more and can be purchased by calling (310) 444-1850. The Los Angeles Convention Center is located at 1201 S. Figueroa St. in Los Angeles. For more information or to purchase tickets to the Los Angeles Auto Show, visit

BONUS >> EXCLUSIVE: Win a Pair of Tickets to the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show Public Days!

Related Stories: L.A. AUTO SHOW: Finalists Announced For 2014 "Green Car Of The Year®"; Cadillac El Miraj concept, 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD to debut at the 2013 L.A. Auto Show; More Than 50 Global and North American Debuts Expected for 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show




Banners like these are already up around downtown Los Angeles


Photo credit: MINI

The 2015 MINI Cooper will be unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show next week.


Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA Class will be introduced at the 2013 L.A. Auto Show.


Photo credit: Porsche

The all-new 2015 Porsche Macan will premiere at the L.A. Auto Show next week.


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Copyright © 2013 All Rights Reserved.
Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer.