2018 Los Angeles Auto Show to feature classic brands, newcomers

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show will feature household names in the auto industry as well as brand new startups.

Each year, auto companies compete for attention at the big Los Angeles Auto Show. And this year, Nissan is celebrating 60 years of garnering attention, starting back in 1958 with the scrappy Datsun brand.

"People were curious. In fact, right after the 1958 L.A. Auto Show, Ray Lemke set up the first Datsun dealership here in Southern California," said Chris Keeffe with Nissan USA.

Nissan is now looking ahead, unveiling their latest Maxima sedan and Murano SUV at the 2018 show, six decades after their beginnings. An example of that first tiny Datsun model is currently in the vault of the Petersen Automotive Museum, while an exhibit chronicling the Japanese auto industry is featured in the Bruce Meyer Family Gallery.

Another company is looking ahead, participating at the L.A. Auto Show for the first time. EV startup Rivian is debuting a plug-in electric pickup truck with a promised 400-mile range. Starting price will be in the $60,000-70,000 range when it goes on sale in late 2020, according to the company.

"It's incredibly fun to drive. It's good on-road, good off road, it can fit your gear, your pets and your family and it's still very efficient," said R. J. Scaringe, founder and CEO of Rivian. "It's a fully-electric vehicle, tons of performance, tons of smoothness."

Bentley brought its gorgeous new Continental GT convertible to town. You won't see it at the show, but Bentley is doing VIP previews this week, as they know Southern California is a target audience.

"The U.S overall is a hugely important market for us with this product, and California specifically. I mean, the weather here is just great for convertibles, and we expect around two-thirds of our GT sales here will be the convertible," said Chris Craft, a Bentley board member. The new Bentley will go on sale in the middle of 2019 for a starting price of $230,000.

So whether a company is coming up on 100 years (Bentley), looking back on 60 (Nissan) or trying to get its first year on sale (Rivian), for auto companies, Southern California is the place to be this week

The L.A. Auto Show will open its doors to the public Friday morning. For more information, visit www.laautoshow.com.
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