Los Angeles Vs Detroit: Which US Auto Show Rules?


As convertible weather gives way to snow tires in most part of the United States and Canada, the chances dwindle for seeing the newest cars in pristine condition. For reason of controlled environmental factors and the ability to better lure cold-snapped car enthusiasts, the indoor auto show season becomes a regular cure to the blahs that kick in during late fall.

From the late 1980s through to the beginning of the 2000s, the North American International Auto Show existed as the grand showcase for the United States automobile market. Mainly a showcase for General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Chrysler in their figurative backyard, strength of those companies magnetically drew Japanese as well as European manufacturers to the Detroit show.

At the same time as Detroit’s reign as an uncontested mega show, planners behind the Los Angeles Auto Show scheduled the exhibition a week ahead of the North American International Auto Show. This scheduling created a logistical nightmare for auto companies (in particularly the Detroit 3). Levelled with more criticism than Michael Bay from hardcore Transformers Generation 1 fans following the live-action trilogy adaptation, the Los Angeles Auto Show organizers finally bowed to pressure to reschedule their event in 2006. Instead of being the earliest North American major automobile exhibit on the yearly calendar, the Los Angeles Auto Show was moved to one of the latest in the year.

Following the weakened grip the Detroit auto manufacturers on the industry and the increased global focus in general, the Detroit North American International Auto Show is perceived to have lost some of its glamour. Adding the increased allure of an auto show in a generally warmer climate, the Los Angeles Auto Show has connected well in the car-centric California city. Some observers have also questioned lately if the LA car show could be overshadowing the Detroit display.

A question that must be asked when comparing the exhibit in Los Angeles and Detroit, is there a superior auto show?

Size of Exhibition

Both the North American International Auto Show and the Los Angeles Auto Show provides a chance for any visitor to lose themselves in the best of modern automotive culture. With the Detroit show housed in the Cobo Center next door to the Red Wing hockey team’s Joe Louis Arena, exhibition floor space is rated at 623,500 square feet. The Los Angeles Convention Center has 720,000 square feet of advertised space. Both auto shows boast additional floor space with some estimates quoting for the North American International Auto Show as utilizing almost a million square feet of room.

The past two edition of these annual auto shows were not dictated by the size of the convention centers. Since 2009, the auto industry presence at major auto shows is beginning to recuperate from the economic damage. While many had downsized their presentations, other automakers chose not to display at either the Los Angeles or Detroit shows. The biggest drop in auto brand participation at the 2009 North American International Auto Show involved luxury brands like Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Porsche deciding to sit out Detroit. Nissan and Mitsubishi had also been no-shows at the North American International Auto Show as a corporate entity. However, while some companies like Ferrari chose not to appear at Los Angeles as well, Porsche and Rolls-Royce found the auto show hosted inside the largest prestige car market of the United States impossible to miss.

Japanese brand Nissan was absent from the North American International Auto Show in 2010 and 2011 pledging to return for the upcoming 2012 edition. 1

Show Prices:

For both auto shows, general adult admission is $12 at the gate. For the 2011 edition of the Los Angeles Auto Show, individuals over 65 of age are given $8 show entrance while children under 12 are admitted free with an adult. From November 18 through to Thanksgiving Day, there is a $2 discount if entrants use the E-Ticket system to purchase show admission. The North American International Auto Show’s pricing scheme offers adults over 65 years with $6 admission while free admission for children only covers up to 6 years of age (7-12 year old children are admitted at $6).

In regard to any auto shows, local residents should scan regional newspapers and deal sites for coupons or discount offers on general admission.

Quality of Vehicles at Show:

The North American International Auto Show long had the ability to produce an impressive amount of global and United States automotive lovers with the first peak at the latest showroom vehicles. In the past edition of the Detroit-based auto show, the passion returned with 35 world car premieres bringing allure to the Motor City.

In recent editions of the Los Angeles Auto Show, new car debuts for the North American and world public has become more common. The debut of over 50 vehicles is taking place at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. During the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, 21 world automotive debuts included the first presentation of the 2013 Ford Escape, 2013 Ford Shelby GT500, and the all-new Cadillac XTS.

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With announcement still pending for the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, an early world premiere confirmation came from Toyota. The newest member of their hybrid gasoline/electric family, the Toyota Prius c, will work on outshining the domestic auto companies in their hometown. Detroit still remains a leading show for automotive design concepts. In 2011, an unfinished mock-up of the ninth-generation Honda Civic, Kia KV7, GMC Sierra All Terrain and the Ford Vertrek gave visitors of the North American International Auto Show is look into the future.

Event Attendance:

Thanks to a bullish auto industry recovery after the near ruins of 2008 and early 2009, auto show attendance in general has surged. With nine public days planned for the 2012 Detroit North American International Auto Show, the Los Angeles allows visitors an extra day. Through the 2011 edition of the North American International Auto Show, the organizers announced 735,370 spectators attended the exhibition. The Los Angeles Auto Show is more secretive on the event attendance at the past event (in 2010) but some estimates put visitor total at 900,000 people.

Los Angeles benefits include being held in one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the United States. The car culture of California is also a major draw pulling audiences to the Los Angeles Auto Show every year. Prestige auto brands like BMW, Porsche and Infiniti recognize how important it is for their niche products to appeal in a land where personal fashion

The North American International Auto Show could also benefit as a spectator draw to hockey fans through the course of the exhibition. For 2012, there will be three Detroit Red Wings home games at Joe Louis Arena coinciding on public exhibition days in the nearby Cobo Center. One scheduled event has the Red Wings hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets on a Saturday possibility presenting the perfect opportunity for families to make a full afternoon with hockey and automobiles.

The Conclusion:

I know the point of this article is to obtain an answer to determining the most superior auto show but there are some serious obstacles preventing me from making such a subjective call. Besides the competitive attributes both the North American International Auto Show and the Los Angeles Auto Show had through the categories, the car lover inside of me would happily attend any true celebration of automotive passion. For readers and auto show goers, the decision is left in your hands on where your motoring spirit is fostered.

Information source: Los Angeles Auto Show, North American International Auto Show
Photo source: Ford Motor Company, General Motors