LOS ANGELES — AutoMobility LA. That’s the new name of the Los Angeles Auto Show’s press and trade days. It is a big change for the auto show, which dates back to 1907. AutoMobility LA will offer four days of networking, three days of breaking news and two days of learning. It will be a lot like CES: The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
To discuss these sweeping changes, I spoke with Lefteris “Lefty” Tsironis, Director of Experiential Marketing & Communications at the 2016 AutoMobility LA and LA Auto Show.
“This is a big year for us,” Tsironis explained. “We’ve brought in other people from the automotive ecosystem so we thought we’d make this more of a trade show because there’s just so many components now. We took connected car stuff and brought in trade days to make one mega event. LA Auto Show still remains the name for the public event that follows.”
Why is now the time to make this change? The LA Auto Show has been going on for over 100 years now.
“For 109 years now, the LA Auto Show has been taking place. It started as a public show. Eventually, there was a need for a press preview. Now is the time because ever since 2012 when technology was making imprints across changing the way cars are being made, being sold, being serviced and what now. We introduced the Advanced Technology Showcase in 2012 and the Connected Car Expo in 2013. It grew exponentially and reached that point where we just thought it all needs to come together.”
How many concept cars and new production models will be unveiled at this year’s show?
“Making their world or North American or auto show debut this year will be nearly 60 vehicles,” the director of experiential marketing and communications said. “Several of them will be concept vehicles which we’re really excited about. I know that one of them will be Acura and another one will be Subaru. They are going to be bringing some really intriguing concepts.”
Alfa Romeo is rumored to be introducing a new SUV at the auto show. Can you confirm or deny this?
“I know that really long time ago they had some sort of SUV decades ago. This will be the first time they are introducing an SUV here in North America.”
Karma Automotive is building their new electric cars out in Moreno Valley, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles. Any word of them having a display at this year’s auto show?
“Karma doesn’t have a display at the show,” Tsironis answered. “Every square foot of space is leased. We try to fit in as much as we can. I know that Karma will be attending the show as well as all of the leading automakers around the world.”
How will press days, now known as AutoMobility LA, be similar or different from public days, known as the Los Angeles Auto Show?
“What you see unveiled at AutoMobility LA ends up being seen at LA Auto Show. Industry and media professionals who attend AutoMobility LA will be able to explore thousands of square feet of additional exhibits. Our all new technology pavilion that we’ve been building in front of the convention center. We have established players like Hyundai and Ford showing mobility solutions and you also have newcomers like Ridecell and whiteCryption. They are going to be showing what their innovations are around automotive. There’s going to be a conference with keynotes from Mark Fields from Ford, Brian Krzanich from Intel, Padma Warrior from Next EV and J. Rogers from Local Motors.”
Are you bringing back the outdoor ride-and-drives on the streets of Los Angeles?
“Yeah, there’s going to be AutoMobility test drives just for press and trade professionals to experience the latest models. That’s more of a curated, ride-and-drive experience. When AutoMobility ends, we’re going to have nearly 100 vehicles that the general public can test drive around the convention center. That’s really cool.”
I’m hearing from my contacts in Detroit that the North American Car and Truck of the Year finalists will be revealed during the LA Auto Show.
“Yes, that’s on the schedule right now. The Motor Press Guild is going to be making an announcement on Tuesday morning before Mark Fields gets up on stage. Then, the team from NACTOY will be making an announcement as well.”
Can we expect to see appearances by celebrities like Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld or Adam Carolla?
“That’s been kind of the norm here. We’re in L.A. We’re in Hollywood. We’ve always had affluent people, government officials, including TV and film stars. No one really lets us know way in advance. It’s more of a day or an hour before ‘Hey, so and so is here.’ Then, we show them around. Sometimes, automakers have an opportunity to host someone. That’s kept under wraps until a few days before. That’s when we find out.”
Will the Los Angeles Auto Show be open on Thanksgiving Day as with years in the past?
“Absolutely. Also, this year we have guided tours by automotive journalists. You can only buy those via presale on our website at LAAutoShow.com. They are guided tours that go around the whole show floor. It’s a really great experience before the crowds get in. But there’s limited amount of spots for that. I highly encourage that you go on there early and book that. We also have an early bird ticket for people that don’t like to be there with all of the crowds. This is one of the biggest events in the city.”
Once again, the LA Auto Show kicks off with AutoMobility LA for media and trade professionals from November 14 – 17. Then, the 2016 LA Auto Show opens to the public for 10 days from November 18 – 27. For tickets and more information, visit LAAutoShow.com.