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L.A. Auto Show to Get a Lift With New Schedule

The event will run in November starting in 2006, avoiding a conflict with the bigger Detroit show.

June 22, 2004|John O'Dell | Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Auto Show, penalized for years by a late December run that put it in conflict with the bigger North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is about to get new life.

Organizers have negotiated new dates with the Los Angeles Convention Center that will move the show forward to late November starting in 2006, creating a four-week gap between it and the Detroit show, which is held the first week of January. As a result, major automakers will be able to schedule more product launches for Los Angeles, increasing the scope and importance of the show.

"Our potential has been held back by our dates in late December because manufacturers also were preparing for Detroit and found the logistics too difficult" to do major product launches at both, said Andy Fuzesi, general manager for the Los Angeles Auto Show.

"They weren't able to use the same major exhibits here that they were preparing for Detroit, and they weren't able to schedule top executives to be in Los Angeles to make presentations when they had to be getting ready to do Detroit a week later," he said.

The most recent Los Angeles show featured just five world debuts of new vehicles, compared with 40 world debuts at the Detroit show.

The schedule change isn't expected to affect public attendance: The Los Angeles show is one of the largest in the country and regularly draws 1 million or more spectators during its 10-day run.

The new dates will move the show closer to the California International Auto Show, held in Orange County each October. But show co-Chairman John Sackrison said he expected to feel little effect. The California international show, although valuable for consumers, has never won the level of industry interest that the Los Angeles show commands.

Automakers are happy about the change.

Mike Anson, spokesman for Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America, said, "Hyundai has a lot of new products coming out in the next few years, and we're really looking forward to the new opportunity to debut some of them here in Southern California," where the company's U.S. operations are headquartered.

Automakers "have been asking us for years" to increase the time between the Los Angeles and Detroit shows, Fuzesi said.

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