Home » Some Auto Shows Might Be Dead But LA Is Still Holding On

Some Auto Shows Might Be Dead But LA Is Still Holding On

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The Autopian staff just ROCKED the Los Angeles Auto Show, where very few major reveals took place. “Automakers are revealing all their cars at private events; car shows are dead” you might be thinking. That’s only true if you think auto shows exist for journalists, but in truth: They exist for consumers. And on that front, the LA Auto Show appears to be alive and well.

Lots of car journalists judge a car show’s health by how many interesting debuts take place there, and I won’t lie: I’ve done that, too. As fewer and fewer major debuts take place, fewer and fewer journalists show up, making media day look like a ghost town. I thought this year’s LA Auto Show was a bit bleak based on media preview day, but then I went to public days, and the truth is: People are still showing up because people still love car shows.

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Just look at these crowd on Sunday:

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Though many automakers were missing, some automakers came out strong, even bringing elaborate displays:

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And of course, Subaru stole the show with its impressive setup, just like last year:

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A post shared by Subaru of America (@subaru_usa)

Subaru basically installed an entire forest in the convention center, painted some of its cars with mud, and even had some puppies from the local humane society to act as the cherry on top. Subaru goes hard in LA.

But nobody goes as hard as Galpin/The Autopian, whose section was the largest of anyone’s at the show (yes, larger than every automaker’s section).

 

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A post shared by Beau Boeckmann (@beauboeckmann)

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We even held car-trivia!

 

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A post shared by The Autopian (@theautopian)

We had thousands of people come through and answer car-questions; folks were there to look at cool cars, sit in cool cars, and maybe get inspired and decide which car they’re going to buy next.

Not everyone thinks the LA Auto Show is still legit; here’s a Reddit thread in which the terms “lackluster, dismal, and disappointing” are in full force. Still, I asked lots of folks at the show if they were having a good time, and every one said yes.

And based on the sea of folks showing up, it seems to me that LA is still hanging on. I legitimately think it’s still worth visiting, even if some of your favorite cars — like the new Land Cruiser (of which there were two at SEMA) — aren’t there.

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Tangent
Tangent
7 months ago

I’ve been going to the LA Auto show for over 20 years and based on my visit yesterday I won’t be returning unless things improve. I always make sure to go on weekdays to minimize crowding and I’d arrive when it opened at 11 and be done by around 6. This year we were done before 3. We ran into a few things that were apparently only even open/staffed on weekends (that didn’t used to happen) which didn’t help. The effort put into what was there seemed way less as well. There used to be a bunch of concept cars, next year’s models, demos, and just cool displays for every manufacturer. This year looked more like somebody just shuffled over the showrooms of the local dealerships and maybe set up a few props to put around the area.

Things had been slipping before The Panic already and this was so much worse. There were only a total of 10 manufacturers between the main South and West halls vs the 33 that had been in there a decade ago. The ones missing this year vs back then weren’t just just small specialty brands either: Mini, BMW, Mercedes, Mazda, Audi, Volvo, Ram, Jeep, Dodge, and several others were all missing, and the great Porsche display that used to be in its own hall was also gone, replaced by the Kevin Hart connection. Honestly this was what I’d have expected from some small regional show, not the LA Auto Show…

Myk El
Myk El
7 months ago

Next year…

Eric Smith
Eric Smith
7 months ago

Always wanted to go but been putting it off for a good 25 years. I think I might try to make the trek out there next year just so as to ensure it’s not one of those things I end up saying I was sad I missed while it was still around.
Here’s to hoping the Autopian booth next year is even better!

Mr. Fusion
Mr. Fusion
7 months ago

I hadn’t been to the LA Auto Show since before the pandemic, so I (perhaps foolishly) was not aware of how many companies had bailed out of it. So yes, I was surprised at how sparse it seemed to me in terms of exhibitors. I asked the fine folks at the Autopian booth about it, and they said it’s not just LA; every auto show is going through the same thing.

Even so, I’m glad I went. Saw some cool new cars, and got two t-shirts from the Autopian! Thanks, crew!

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
7 months ago

Apparently the Phoenix auto show was canceled for 2023, claiming the UAW strike as the reason, but I think that’s just an excuse because it sounded nicer than “the Phoenix car shows were getting increasingly more depressing over the years so why even bother.” And yes it was terrible for the last few years, but it was something fun to do on Thanksgiving when everything else was closed.

Alec Weinstein
Alec Weinstein
7 months ago

She’s hurting, but there’s not many other places to try on cars and see if they suffer from consolitis, where the console gets swollen and takes up kneeroom.

10001010
10001010
7 months ago

They exist for consumers

This is true, when we’re looking for a new car we visit the autoshow where you can sit in multiple models from different makes and see if you can reach the pedals and see over the dashboard and if it has enough trunk space, etc, all without being hounded by some sales guy.

Then you can visit the Subaru booth and ask them when they’re bringing back the WRX hatch.

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
7 months ago

We just went to the Charlotte Auto Show this weekend and can’t comment on crowd much as went Friday at like 3pm, but the dealer presence was terrible compared to last year.

Chrysler/Dodge had this huge section but had like 2 Rams, 1 Charger, a Gladiator, 2 Grand Cherokees, a Compass, I don’t recall even seeing a Wrangler.

Ford/Chevy/GMC all similar, no Equinox or Blazer EVs, Ford at least had 1 Mach-e and a couple of Broncos.

Hyundai/Kia/Subaru were the biggest presenters, almost taking up half the hall with just the 3 of them.

Previous years they would have a showing of luxury/supercars, mostly locked or roped off but this year that entire area they cleared and had “EV Test driving” where they basically would take people around a little course and then gun it in a very short straightaway.

Also they had the Weinermobile, and we got our picture with it, and that was worth the $10 admission.

Kinda of sad as just last year I’d say there was twice as many cars.

Of course I’ve been the the New York show a few times and none of the local ones top that, but still nice to be able to kick the tires and try out seat comfort without a salesman breathing down your neck.

Douglas Lain
Douglas Lain
7 months ago

I used to go to the Dayton, OH (I know, I know) Car show every year with my son. Since he passed away, I would have a very hard time going to another. Were I in LA though, I’d make an exception. I do love me the Autopian!

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
7 months ago

I would say the Chicago Auto Show is much the same. Lots of people still show up. Heck, I still show up. But last year I wondered why. So many brands are no longer there at all. I’m not sure I’m going to visit this year.

Anoos
Anoos
7 months ago

I don’t particularly hate auto shows, but I hate the entire ‘show’ industry. They rarely benefit exhibitors established in the industry and seem to survive on corporate FOMO.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
7 months ago

Uh looks like a pretty thin crowd in those pics, would of thought the pics were from Hartford CT show not LA Metro with 13m people.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
7 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

Yeah, that was my reaction too. It looked more like a suburban car museum on a Thursday than a major international car show in the greatest city on earth.

Tangent
Tangent
7 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

It’s not just the in pics. I’ve been going for over 20 years and the attendance was way lower than it was even just a few years ago. I’m not surprised either considering that this year there were only 10 brands represented between the 2 main halls vs the 33 that were there just a decade ago.

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
7 months ago

My neighbor, who I would NOT peg as a car person, apparently flew out from Utah to go to the car show for his birthday with his son. It was something he really wanted to do for his birthday I guess. Who knew?

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
7 months ago
Reply to  Pat Rich

Auto shows are amazing as a kid

MiniDave
MiniDave
7 months ago

I dunno, when cars shows were a thing – before covid – you couldn’t get near most of the displays for the throngs of folks around them……that looks pretty lightly attended to my eyes.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
7 months ago

They exist for consumers.”
Back in the era when all the new cars were released in September, my friends and I would rush to the local mall on Memorial Day weekend to see the car show the local dealers set up. WOO! New cars! And often models in bikinis.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
7 months ago

Is Galpin/The Autopian related to Gozer the Gozerian? Are you the Keymaster? Who wants to brag that their car rides around on an E Gimp platform? Good thing you folks were there to spice things up.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
7 months ago

Related, I keep hearing that malls are dieing, but YOU try finding a decent parking space at King of Prussia or Christiana between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they’re both pretty annoying all other times of the year

Anoos
Anoos
7 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

We have two big malls about a mile apart owned by the same company. One of the malls went high-end and is thriving. The other is essentially a ghost town. Even the Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds have abandoned the food court there. Several store fronts are rented by weird churches. One of the old jewelry stores in the center of the mall now sells bedazzled phone cases. Best Buy is one of their anchor stores and they have the large door from the mall into their store permanently locked shut.

MP81
MP81
7 months ago

Honestly, NAIAS in Detroit was still plenty busy by the time we left at lunch this year.

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