FCA were being funny with their SUVs, though. One important mission in LA was also to launch an all-new Jeep Compass to the Americans (it was glimpsed in Brazil a few months ago) but they refused to show it on the same day as the Alfa, evidently to avoid any clash. A Jeep negating an Alfa? Don't think so. And it's a vital car, anyway. Threatens to be their best-seller. It'll be made in four countries and sold in 100-plus. My sneak view made it seem desirable and funky, though as this is written it still hasn't been officially unveiled.
Mazda had the fourth significant SUV, the CX-5 they say introduces new design forms and will spearhead a rising demand for clean diesels in the US. More diesels were sold in the US last month, says their website, than the combined total of sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Even in Japan, it seems, demand for urea-treated diesels has reached eight percent of the market.
VW sought to continue the revival of its US fortunes with the launch of - you guessed it - a big America-only seven-seat SUV called Atlas, and Mini showed the 20cm longer Countryman (how big can a Mini get?). Oh yes, and Ford introduced Americans to the Ecosport B-segment SUV, which looked diminutive yet curiously right against all those trucks.
There was some relief from carry-alls, provided by cars of other shapes. Liverpool's BAC Mono was there, now launched in the US with its 305bhp 2.5-litre engine and 525bhp/tonne. Across town in the famous Peterson Museum, Jaguar Heritage unveiled the first of nine "new original" XKSSs, meant to replace the nine 1957 cars earmarked for the US market and incinerated in the infamous Brown's Lane factory fire that year. Mercedes showed a super luxury "Mercedes-Maybach" version of the mighty S-class Convertible (soon to be followed, as you might have guessed, by a Mercedes-Maybach SUV).
Acura, which spells Honda where we come from, had a very progressive new Android-based digital dashboard called Precision Cockpit, that avoided the usual confusion of touch screens by offering the driver a console-mounted dished touchpad which showed - as you looked at the screen straight ahead - where your finger was in the switchgear. This would eliminate hard keys, we were told.
Another fascinating sidelight was the remark by Mini boss Peter Schwartzenbauer to the effect that a battery-powered Mini was coming (in an existing body shape) and that by the time it hit the market in 2019 there would have been a big breakthrough in battery technology that would make electric cars much easier to own and use. Salvation for electric cars is close, he suggested.
However for now, in LA at least, the whole world seemed to be raised on its wheels, to have a short rear overhang and a powered "liftgate", and it looks like staying that way for quite a while.
This year, the show has been renamed to fit with the times; the new name is Automobility LA, but we’ll stick to Los Angeles motor show for simplicity. See below for the major stars we’ve predicted for this year’s show, but stick around for more; this year’s LA show looks to be a good one.
Some of the reveals will have happened overnight, but we’ll be bringing you all the information around – and some extra to boot – from the show. Our team in LA are ready and waiting with their notebooks and pens.
Your team covering Los Angeles from our Twickenham office are Sam Sheehan covering the news desk, Jimi Beckwith on the live blog and George Hawkins in charge of social media, while we have Steve Cropley, Matt Burt, Mark Tisshaw and Rachel Burgess reporting from the show floor.
We’ve already seen Jaguar’s I-Pace concept yesterday, which started the show with a bang, as well as the Lamborghini Huracán rear-wheel drive Spyder late last night. Still to come are plenty of reveals, including the all-important Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Mazda CX-5 and more.
Los Angeles motor show 2016 - the cars
The 2016 LA motor show is now up and running. We look through the key cars on show there.
More cars will be added to this list as information is released, so keep checking back for the latest.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Alfa Romeo’s mid-sized SUV has been revealed in top-spec Quadrifoglio form with 503bhp, borrowing the turbocharged V6 unit of the Giulia Quadrifoglio.
Audi A5 Cabriolet
Audi has already shown its drop-top A5 ahead of LA, and it's even revealed the model's full specifications. UK pricing, however, is yet to be confirmed, so all we've got to go on the German starting figure - £43,800.
Cadillac CT6 PHEV
Cadillac will show its plug-in hybrid version of the CT6 at the LA motor show this year.
The electrified BMW 7 Series rival is tipped to be another Cadillac to make it to the UK market, in the hope that its hybrid powertrain will shift more units than the current petrol-only CT6.
Cadillac’s striking Escala concept made its world debut at the Pebble Beach show in August, but LA will mark its first entry into a mainstream arena.
The four-door concept is built on the rear-wheel-drive platform of the CT6, but ditches that car’s saloon boot for a liftback design. It’s powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.2-litre V8.
Jaguar’s first EV model made its debut in LA as a near production-ready concept. The model, which has been revealed in full ahead of the show looks on course to make production in 2018.
The 2017 Jeep Compass was revealed in Brazil last month but will be first presented to the public at the LA motor show.
As a sharp-looking rival to the Nissan Qashqai, it has the potential to send Jeep’s European sales surging. It’ll come in both two and four-wheel-drive forms.
Mazda's all-new CX-5 model inherits the look of the CX-9 and retains a line-up of four-cylinder engines. Inside, there's new infotainment and a more premium cabin design.
Mercedes-AMG E 63
The new E 63 is Mercedes' most powerful series production four-door. In S guise it's got 603bhp, enabling it to reach 62mph in 3.4sec. It's been shown in pictures ahead of LA, but it won't go on sale in Britain until the first few months of 2017.
The Mini Countryman was revealed well ahead of the LA motor show, but we think it'll put in a first public appearance at the show this week.
Based on the same UKL1 architecture as the recently launched Clubman, the new Countryman is set to be considerably larger and more spacious than the current car, and it will be available with a hybrid powertrain.
Nissan Rogue: Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition
Nissan's Rogue: Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition is a special-edition X-Trail (as it would be badged in the UK) is heading to the LA motor show this year, with a nod to a particular film franchise. Nissan hasn't released much information on the special-ed car, but will be releasing details closer to its reveal date.
Rezvani Beast Alpha
The Rezvani Beast Alpha - yes, the name is genuine - will be revealed in LA. We know that because the brand has released a single teaser image that shows the coupé's unique sidewinder door opening.
The car is claimed to produce 500bhp from its 2.4-litre Honda-sourced engine.
While it won't be coming to Europe, the VW Atlas could be one of the brand's most significant cars in decades. It arrives following the Dieselgate scandal as a US-focused SUV charged with restoring the brand's image there.
A facelifted e-Golf, which was hinted at by VW boss Herbert Diess at the Paris motor show, looks on course to land in LA, offering a zero-emissions driving range of up to 300km (about 186 miles).
By comparison, the current e-Golf can travel up to 118 miles on a single charge, and costs from £31,680.