The LA Auto Show has just wrapped up its 100th anniversary. They tried moving the show to a different date this year to give a little bit of a time gap between it and the big show in Detroit. It looked like the manufacturers decided to do a little more at the LA Show this year, but it still is not on par with Detroit.
This year we saw two new concepts from Honda/Acura. The Honda REMIX was a decent looking design; an aggressive performance oriented design that appeals to a younger driver. I think the idea of this car is more exciting than the car itself. The fact that Honda chose to show a hatchback concept in the US may be a sign that Honda is listening to all their customers who want to see another Si hatch on this side of the Pacific.
Honda also brought along the STEP BUS and the FCX, apparently the caps lock key was big at Honda this year. The STEP BUS is a Scion like vehicle that takes Hello Kitty like cuteness to a whole new level. Volvo had an entire display of things that inspired the design of the new C30. Among the 30 or 40 items Volvo showed was the ubiquitous iPod. It looks like Honda also drew from the iPod's gorgeous clean simplicity, but I don't think they had the other 29 or so items to draw from. To me it looks as if the only other inspiration they had during the design was a room full of kitchen appliances from 1955. It is hard to believe I like this thing as much as I do. I think it looks like a great, fun car. The sliding doors are perfect for crowded parking lots with shrinking spaces, if everyone had these doors, door-dings would no longer exist. I don't think the US market has enough of the fun vehicles that we always see in Japan. Come on Honda, step up, take a chance and bring something like this over.
The FCX is a fully functional prototype that will probably end up in production without too many visual changes. It is a very modern design that still screams Honda, and isn't so unbelievably "unique" that people will atill readily except it. By 2008 Honda would like to be producing this car in limited numbers utilizing a hydrogen fuel cell.
Speaking of "unique", Acura showed a car that caused the most mixed reaction of the entire show. During the media only event the crowd of automotive journalists were split into two camps, those that hated the Acura Advanced Sedan, or AAS, and those that just blew it off as a design exercise. My personal opinion is that Advanced Sports Sedan would be a more accurate name, because when I look at it I think it looks more like A.S.S. The giant shield grill shows Acura's American Design Studio's faith in the impending ice age being brought on by other manufacturers' insistence on building big inefficient engines. This thing could bust through snow drifts and plow roads like nothing else.
When the cover was ripped off this car I half expected the governor of California dressed as Mr. Freeze to jump out. The car is intended to invoke feelings of power and importance. The long hood stretching out in front of the seated driver is meant to endow the driver with a large swelling of confidence. Let's all just hope this stays a design study and doesn't actually influence future design.
Overall I think Honda made a very good showing in LA. Acura was not quite as strong and seems to be trying to take a new direction to separate itself from the Honda name. The Detroit show should bring more excitement from Honda/Acura. The big news should be the Accord Coupe Concept, but who knows, maybe they will sneak in another concept that will create more buzz.