Celebrating everything automotive has been an iconic Southern California ritual nearly every year since the Los Angeles Auto Show was founded in 1907. Today, nearly 4,500 journalists converge on the Los Angeles Auto Show during two press days when it is closed to everyone but those in the industry. Hosting journalists from 58 countries is notable, but that sizeable crowd is but a fraction of the more than 900,000 public spectators who attend the Los Angeles Auto Show during the following 10 days.
I’ve been attending the show as a media professional for nearly a decade. This year I decided to take my family — my wife, my daughter, and my son — during “public days” to observe the car-crazed atmosphere first-hand. We chose to head down to the Los Angeles Convention Center a bit early and grab dinner at LA Live — a bustling hotspot surrounding the Staples Center. Afterwards, we made our way into the show.
Without a doubt, the Los Angeles Auto Show is intimidating. Wear comfortable shoes, because there are more than 125 exhibitors showing nearly 800 cars spread between the South Hall, West Hall, Petree Hall, Concourse Hall, and Aftermarket Hall. The two main anchor halls are massive, but there is also 162,000 square feet dedicated to showcase the latest accessories, technologies, and tuner works in the Aftermarket Hall, which is located beneath the South Hall.
It is reported that nearly half of all attendees are “in market” for a car within the next 12 months, but the show is much more than an oversized retail showroom. Automakers configure their booths with interesting hands-on demonstrations, vehicle cutaways, and interactive displays — all in addition to the static vehicles that are swarmed over by curious show-goers. Questions about the cars and trucks on display are answered by specialists representing each automaker, and most carmakers will e-mail you more information, if that’s your thing.
On this particular Saturday evening, the show was crowded — it made for excellent people watching. Still, we never waited more than a minute to sit in the driver’s seat (organizers suggest going in the morning, or during the week, for a more peaceful experience). Overall, we spent about five hours at the show, including the 90 minutes at LA Live for dinner.
I’m a car guy, so my favorite part of the show was checking out the North American debuts, which included the Fiat 124, Jaguar F-Pace, Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, and the Infiniti QX30. My wife is shopping for a new crossover, so she was focused on checking out the hatchbacks among the SUVs. My 16-year-old son enjoyed Aftermarket Hall and its wild one-off vehicle creations. The consensus during the car ride home was all positive — we will definitely make the trek again next year.
The Los Angeles Auto Show is open to the public from November 20-29, 2015. For more information, visit: http://laautoshow.com/.
[Photography ©2015 AutoWeb / Michael Harley]