Special Coverage

Greater L.A. Auto Show

Nissan No Show

Southern California is a huge market for Nissan, so the decision to skip this year’s Los Angeles event must have come under considerable duress.

“The economic conditions forced us to reevaluate all of our spending, including auto shows,” says Brian Brockman, Midwest communications manager for Nissan North America.

In fact, Nissan and its Infiniti luxury brand are not participating in many auto shows this fiscal year, ending in March, with the exception of New York, Geneva, Tokyo and Shanghai.

At next month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Nissan will have a “very targeted presence,” as its Leaf electric vehicle motors along an “Electric Avenue” during the press preview.

A test car also will be part of the Michigan Economic Development’s Eco-Xperience” at NAIAS. But neither Nissan nor Infiniti will have an exhibit on Cobo Center’s main floor.

Chrysler Shows Stiff Upper Lip, But Little New Product

Freshly out of bankruptcy and newly owned by Fiat, Chrysler is noticeably absent from the roster of press conferences here, although its brand lineup is at the show, taking up a quarter of the LA Convention Center’s West Hall.

But the auto maker decides to forego any press briefings because it isn’t yet ready to make a splash with new models, says Scott Brown, West Region communications manager for Chrysler.

Besides, the company always has perceived the Los Angeles show as a great place to connect with car-savvy consumers and less so with journalists.

When the show opens to the public Friday, Brown expects the Chrysler exhibit to be teeming with visitors, in stark contrast with the last two press days.

Half the space is devoted to Dodge and Chrysler vehicles, and on the other side of a large wall are the Jeeps and new Ram pickup. Attached to the backside of the exhibit is the “Snake Pit,” showing off five Dodge Vipers.

Even though Chrysler’s new offerings are thin here, Brown insists the overall lineup remains strong and relevant. “I’ll put the (Chrysler) 300 up against any car and the Ram up against any pickup,” he says.