OC Auto Show highlighting 2020 models, including electric cars

We've still got almost three months of 2019 left, but in the auto world, it's already the new year.

"Everyone in Orange County gets to see everything first. We've got over 600 of the hottest new cars, and the consumers here in this market buy more cars than 24 states. So the manufacturers see that, and what they do is make sure that they bring their A-game to the show," said John Sackrison, head of the auto show.

The Orange County Auto Show has been around since 1964, and always a favorite with car shoppers. But you can tell that it's now almost 2020, as electric cars are not only here in abundance, but highlighted in a display put on by SoCal Edison called "Electric Avenue."

"We know that once they see and experience the electric car experience, the driving experience, they're going to want one," said Paul Griffo, a spokesman for the utility. Edison is also there to talk about charging and rebate programs.

As you cruise the exhibits, you'll find the plug-in vehicles are specially marked to stand out.

Of course, there are the cars you need, and the cars you want to drool over. Topping that list here for many will be the 2020 Corvette, on a publicity tour before hitting showrooms. Other must-see rides include the 2020 Toyota Supra, and a long-time west coast favorite, the Nissan GT-R, now celebrating its 50th anniversary.

"It is always a crowd favorite at every single show that we bring the GT-R to," said Angela Fong, a product specialist with Nissan North America.

All the exhibits here are about getting attention, and it doesn't get more attention-getting than Camp Jeep, an off-road roller coaster built right inside the convention center. Sorry, you can't drive the Jeeps, but you can take a ride with an expert who will maneuver various models over the obstacle course.

And since we're right near Disneyland, Star Wars Galaxy's Edge is represented by a specially-wrapped Honda Odyssey with Star Wars logos and Galaxy's Edge graphics. There's an identical one displayed at the entrance to the theme park, but the special minivan is not for sale.

"We are not selling it with this wrap, but I'm sure someone could get very creative and make their own wrap," said Chris Martin with American Honda Motor Company.

Also in the Honda exhibit is an HR-V compact SUV that looks quite a bit different from the other show vehicles here. That's because it was involved in a major collision, on purpose. It was tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and got a very high rating for occupant protection. Honda is showing off the mangled car to help demonstrate how safe it can be in a crash. It's a safe bet that this wrecked car will be a photo op rivaling the shiniest cars around the Anaheim Convention Center.
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