LA Auto Show to feature new fuel-efficient models


Organizers said the 2012 show will feature nearly 50 world and North American debuts, plus more than 1,000 of the latest vehicles ranging from sports cars and sedans to crossovers and minivans.

Carmakers are showing off their futuristic models, including the Jaguar F-Type and Mercedes-Benz's Black Series version of the SLS AMG, the gull-wing sports car that packs more speed, more power and, of course, a heftier price tag.

For people looking for something practical and family-oriented, Toyota's newest RAV4 might be for you. Toyota started the smaller crossover SUV trend some time ago. The auto giant says their latest RAV4 is much more efficient, has more features and boasts a rear-door that hinges more easily without the spare tire on it.

Looking for mid-size sedans? Mazda is bringing out their Mazda 6. The stylish car has great looks and the company likes to brag about their driving dynamics. For drivers looking for fuel efficiency, Mazda is slated to make an announcement Thursday about something more efficient under the hood.

"We're going to be the only Asian brand in the United States launching diesel. If you look at diesel sales this past year, they're up over 22 percent, well out-pacing the industry with very limited availability," said Jim O'Sullivan, the CEO of Mazda North America.

"So we think it's going to provide us a really good competitive advantage and really give the customer something of an alternative to what they might be looking for high-fuel economy, great durability and reliability," O'Sullivan added.

Companies also want to show off specific cars made for Southern California. For example, General Motors has the Chevrolet Spark EV, which will only be sold in California initially. It is a plug-in electric power car, estimated to be priced around $25,000 after the incentives. It will have a range probably close to 100 miles.

Also big in the Southland are convertibles, which is why Volkswagen chose Los Angeles to introduce its new Beetle Convertible.

Auto show visitors will also find some everyday family cars, such as Subaru's newly redesigned Forester. For the first time, the Forester has a power rear liftgate. The engine is also more fuel-efficient.

One of the fun parts about the auto show is seeing concept cars. Nissan is expected to unveil its Hi-Cross concept, which kind of has everything -- hybrid, three rows of seats and a bold look.

"The Nissan Hi-Cross concept is a great example of where this segment is going -- high-fuel efficiency, great package. But customers don't just want the bland design anymore. They want something that's progressive, that makes a statement for them," said Dave Reuter with Nissan North America.

The Los Angeles Auto Show runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 9. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $8 for seniors, 65 and over. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

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