There were times at the Los Angeles motor show where it felt like the good old days of shows.
Such as trying to get up close and take a clean picture of the new Porsche 911 Dakar, by far the biggest draw of the show in the LA Convention Centre in the revitalised downtown area of the city.
It was very busy at Porsche all day, as people admired the most unlikely of 911s. We thought the famous old sports car had been sliced and diced every way possible into every niche possible but no, here was another. An unlikely 911 but a very welcome one. Kudos, Porsche.
The last rites for the motor show were seemingly read recently after the Paris motor show, but here we are just weeks later at LA looking at static cars in show halls. Following the recent trend of shows, it was undoubtedly quieter than in years gone by, yet the new metal count was greater than in Paris even if most of the industry’s biggest executives stayed away.
Most, but not all: Volkswagen’s Thomas Schäfer was in town. When asked for his view on the future of the motor show, he agreed with the general sentiment that the world is moving on from them, a change hastened by Covid.
“Obviously, it's not happening the way it used to happen, motor shows one after another, every city having one. Some of the central ones might still carry on. But it's all moving more like in Munich [an outdoor show in the city centre] and I like that a little bit more.
“I like the [Goodwood] Hillclimb, and stuff like this. It's interesting. Now, CES in Las Vegas is getting a lot of attention. The places to be and the format have changed. I don't think we will go back to the way it used to be, to be honest."
We best enjoy them while they last, then. Beyond the 911, the next biggest reveal came from Genesis and its X Convertible concept. Genesis is at the stage of its development where it constantly needs to be creating news and headlines to build interest, and this concept certainly does that. It’s nicely proportioned and, while clearly fanciful for production, showcases a brand fast growing in confidence and ability to make an impact.
Making an impact is something the Hummer EV did. Frankly, it’s an absurd creation, and a brand that was probably best left dormant. Far greater intrigue could be found in the Hyperion X1, a hydrogen supercar that looks the type of concept/prototype to be unlikely to ever a turn a wheel in anger, yet we wish them well as its design is a world away from the homogenised shape of zero-emission supercars we’re seeing more often.
We’ve already turned the wheel of the Hyundai Ioniq 6 and been impressed with it, but LA actually marked its motor show debut. It should do well for Hyundai. As will the new Toyota Prius for its maker, a car so radically transformed in this new generation into a truly desirable model that it feels inexplicable that UK buyers will be denied it. Maybe so few were sold before because it wasn’t the most desirable model, however impressive and efficient the tech?