Monday, December 11, 2023

What I Discovered At The LA Auto Present Media Day!


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Under are 2023 LA Auto Present highlights from the businesses which have the potential to make a distinction, together with Lucid, Hyundai/Kia, Chevrolet, and Toyota. A shock was a roundtable on Chinese language automobiles in Mexico.

The largest information and the one important new automobile unveiling from my perspective was the revealing of the Lucid Gravity SUV! It received by far essentially the most consideration, and even 4 hours after the announcement, the realm was swarming with individuals taking photos and asking questions of the representatives. Kyle Discipline of our group wrote an wonderful piece explaining the announcement right here. I’ll submit his conclusion under and add just a few feedback.

Lucid is pushing boldly into the SUV house with the Gravity and has delivered what seems to be an especially purposeful luxurious SUV. Most luxurious SUVs nowadays are 5-seater builds, and that’s doubly true for the extremely premium section the place house owners purchase the automobile with plans to have a driver up entrance taking them from place to put. On this configuration, the third row of seats can simply be folded down out of sight and out of thoughts.

The world is in want of extra 7-seater totally electrical choices, and it’s nice to see the Gravity filling on this hole. With its gross sales of the Air already dipping, the corporate may be pinning its future viability on the success of the Gravity itself. Whether or not or not there’s ample demand for an extremely premium 7-seater SUV just like the Gravity stays to be seen, nevertheless it looks like a stretch at value tags that can vary from the low $80k vary for a rear-wheel drive construct as much as north of $250k for a completely loaded Lucid Gravity Sapphire.

I agree we’d like extra 3-row SUVs that may seat adults within the third row, and suppose it’s key to have a mannequin beneath $80,000 to reap the benefits of the US tax credit score for electrical SUVs. The know-how is really spectacular and I feel the automobile might be extra profitable than the Lucid Air sedan — as a result of everyone knows sedans are much less standard as we speak than SUVs, and 3-row fuel SUVs are highly regarded. Even the Tesla Mannequin X (which is now obtainable beneath $80,000) has the difficulty that its third row isn’t very massive.

I’ve to say that this firm is shedding some huge cash on each automobile. This implies Lucid must do some mixture of 4 issues:

  1. Cut back prices.
  2. Scale manufacturing to unfold mounted prices over extra items.
  3. Get more money from their buyers.
  4. Possibly merge with a competitor that has deep pockets however wants Lucid’s know-how.

The subsequent greatest information of the present is the Kia EV9, additionally a big 3-row SUV. I may argue it would have a much bigger impression because it begins at $25,000 lower than the Gravity ($54,900) and ships a yr earlier (anticipated within the subsequent month). I received to sit down within the automobile, and though I’m 6 foot 2 inches tall on a superb day, I may sit comfortably in all 3 rows. I adjusted the seats to be comfy for 7 massive adults. Jennifer Sensiba wrote a nice article masking all of the essential bits right here.

I noticed it in each the 7-seat configuration and a extra luxurious 6-seat configuration with two captain’s seats within the second row as an alternative of a 3-person bench seat. I received the possibility to debate the tax credit score with a Kia government and he defined that they have been capable of shortly shift most of their electrical automobile gross sales to leases this yr, since that permits them to get the $7,500 credit score although their EVs are made in South Korea. He additionally talked about the EV9 might be made in Georgia beginning in simply 6 months (second quarter of 2024).

Hyundai is predicted to quickly launch an analogous automobile based mostly on the identical platform known as the Ioniq 7. Sadly (and it appeared unusual to me), they didn’t carry this automobile to the auto present.

The LA auto present additionally has just a few enjoyable automobiles on show. Who doesn’t like Scooby-Doo and the van that transported these meddling youngsters?

I received an opportunity to see the ID Buzz in particular person. It wasn’t as roomy, comfy, or refined because the Kia EV9. It appeared fairly spartan. Now we have written a entire article on the automobile right here. My impression is it would promote nicely as a distinct segment automobile so long as it isn’t overpriced. (We don’t know the value but.) As I repeat, we love our 3-row automobiles! Even if you happen to solely have two youngsters, everybody likes their very own row.

I received to see the Equinox on the present, however I wasn’t allowed to the touch it. The salesperson didn’t appear too excited, and as everyone knows, GM has a historical past of overpromising and under-delivering. It definitely seems prefer it may very well be a pleasant compact crossover if GM delivers it in quantity beginning on the promised $35,000, however I’m not holding my breath. Steve Hanley has written extra on this automobile right here.

Toyota not too long ago introduced it was popping out with the brand new 2025 Toyota Camry. Normally, this doesn’t actually imply something. Toyota restyles it and it will get 2% extra energy and a couple of% higher mileage. However this time, they made a big change to the perfect promoting sedan. They determined to drop the V6 and the conventional 4-cylinder engines and energy all Camry automobiles with a barely enhanced hybrid engine. Toyota hasn’t but introduced the brand new gas economic system, however right here is the information from the earlier mannequin:

Picture Credit score:

As you may see, the hybrid has double the mileage of the V6 and 62.5% higher mileage than the bottom 4-cylinder engine. I’ve learn that final yr solely 18% of the Camrys bought have been hybrids, so this a an enormous deal. Toyota bought 295,201 automobiles final yr in accordance with this text. I’m engaged on a brand new article on Toyota, however I wrote this text concerning the firm 2 years in the past. Mainly, a hybrid is a gateway automobile to a plug-in automobile that introduces the thrill of electrification to a lot of customers who’re afraid to purchase an EV or perhaps a plug-in hybrid.

Lastly, I attended a roundtable by Motor Tread on Chinese language automobile producers coming into Mexico and hoping to make use of that as a base to enter different North and South American markets. Under I’ve pasted a hyperlink to Motor Development‘s documentary. I plan to jot down extra on this topic sooner or later.

All photos by Paul Fosse until acknowledged in any other case.

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