7 Dec
Very little automotive excitement in the City of Angels

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If you want to discuss the depressing state of the auto industry, you need venture no further than this year’s LA Auto Show to see just how low the industry has sunk. Nevermind that halo lines like Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini didn’t even bother showing up, the lines that did had very little exciting newness to regale with pomp and ceremony. The number of worldwide debuts were very low, with an assortment of North American debuts to add (most had seen their birthing at Frankfurt back in September). Of all the debuts, Honda’s P-NUT (Personal-Neo Urban Transport) was the most interesting. Honda sees the P-NUT as not a small car, nor even a micro car, but a new category of ultra-compact aimed directly at the urban dweller. The P-NUT features a central driving position, a “Greenhouse” cabin design (for increased visibility), foldable rear seats and “clever interior space-saving solutions” (e.g. the windscreen serves as a HUD head-up display for the nav system and reversing camera) to maximize roominess in the vehicle’s tiny footprint. Wanting to maximize potential drivetrain technologies, the P-NUT’s rear modular engine bay has been designed to house three possibilities: an internal-combustion, a gas-electric hybrid system or a battery-only powertrain.

Other debuts shown in the gallery below include the production Cadillac CTS Coupe and its sister the CTS Wagon. The torque explosion that is the Audi e-Tron made its American debut (which we highlighted here back in September), and is now slated for release in late 2011. Yes, it will actually see production — altho how it will retain its supposed explosion of torque (3,319 pound-feet) without shredding its tires into confetti is beyond me. Also shown is Jeep’s Lower Forty Eight which was basically just a modded out Rubicon that debuted at SEMA.

The second gallery includes the other major debut, the Ford Fiesta. As you may know, of the 3 US builders Ford is in the best shape, and is actually quite healthy. Their Fiesta is currently the second best-selling car in Europe, and Ford is bringing it stateside in hopes Americans will show it as much love as their skinny-sneaker wearing cousins. VW unveiled its Up Light, a small concept that promises 70 mpg via a hybrid 65 hp TDI engine. Lastly, the Audi R8 Spyder also made its US debut, and as love all things R8 there’s plenty of pics below. Otherwise, very little to talk about this week in LA…

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