Explaining Southern California's economy

LA Auto Show: 9 can't-miss concept cars (and one concept bike)

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

The Lexus LF-CC hybrid concept car on display at the LA Auto Show. Unlike some concept cars, this one isn't so out-there that it won't ever see production, in some form.

LAAS2012-Toyota FUN VII-Concept

Matt DeBord/KPCC

Toyota's FUN-Vii concept car at the 2012 LA Auto Show. It's exterior is literally ever-changing. Like a rolling mood ring, it can display a variety of looks.

LAAS2012-Mercedes-Ener-G-Force-Concept

Matt DeBord/KPCC

The Mercedes Ener-G Force concept car struck Motor Trend editor Ed Loh as looking like something that rolled straight out of the video game "Halo." Where are the plasma blasters and force-field generators?

LAAS2012-Lexus-LF-LC-Concept

Matt DeBord/KPCC

The Lexus LF-LC concept car terrifies the LA Auto Show with its completely grotesque front end. That's A LOT of jutting chrome grille, folks.

Lexus concept car front end

Matt DeBord/KPCC

Ugliest. Concept car. Front end. Ever.

Acura NSX concept car

Matt DeBord/KPCC

The Acura NSX concept car at the LA Auto Show. It proves that Acura can keep pace with Lexus when it comes to aggressive designs that might actually be adapted to cars consumers can buy.

LAAS2012-BMW-i8-Concept

Matt DeBord/KPCC

BMW's brings its i8 Spyder concept car to the LA Auto Show. Plug-in hybrid powered, sleek and shiny, it could wind up turning into an actual production BMW someday.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

The BMW I8 concept Spyder draw a crowd. The two-seat hybrid has a top speed of 155 mph.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

There's a tire someplace on that wheel (it the thin rubber strip around the "Tron"-like wheel. It would also be wise to avoid potholes. At all costs.

LA Auto Show - 8

Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Honda's electric concept car EV-Ster on display at the LA Auto Show. It's a rear-wheel-drive all-electric convertible roadster. Also, it looks like a kid made it out of Legos.

LA Auto Show - 9

Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

The interior of Honda's electric concept car EV-Ster. Do you see a steering wheel? I don't.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Nissan's Hi-Cross concept is a smaller crossover SUV that could very easily be seen on actual roadways in the future.

LA Auto Show - 6

Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

A single piece of glass spans from the windshield toward the back end of Nissan's Hi-Cross concept car. You'll be able to count every single star in the sky.

LA Auto Show - 4

Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

It's called "Hi-Cross" because the vehicle provides drivers and passengers with a high position relative to the road.

LAAS2012-Prius-Bike

Matt DeBord/KPCC

The Prius Parlee concept...bike! According to manufacturer Parlee Cycles, it's has a "monocoque carbon-fiber frame, built-in smartphone dock, countless wind-tunnel-tested aerodynamic tweaks and its unprecedented mind-powered shifter." Mind-powered! Is this the most conceptual concept at the whole LA Auto Show?


The 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the public on Friday and runs through December 9. If you're planning on swinging by the L.A. Convention Center to check it out, you'll want to do some drive-bys of the concepts cars.

What's a concept car? It's a dream machine, and some crazy experiment in futuristic design. They're an auto show staple, although in recent years the automakers have been exploring a new...concept when it comes to concept cars: concept-to-production. This means that the concept car on the show floor is pretty close to what consumers will be able to buy right off dealer lots.

That said, there are still plenty of out-there rides at the L.A. Auto Show. We've got 12 you can't, can't, CAN'T miss in the slide show above.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter. And ask Matt questions at Quora.

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Live-blogging the LA Auto Show

BMW Offers Previews Two New Electric Concept Vehicles

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Update: I spent a some time talking about the show with Larry Mantle on Airtalk this morning, with Eddie Alterman of Car and Driver and Ed Hellwig of Edmunds Inside Line. Check it out.

I'll be roaming the floor of the Los Angeles Auto Show for the next two days, checking out new cars, green cars, concept cars, and the business of cars in Southern California. I'll also be tweeting, so if you want to follow me, check out my Twitter feeds, below.

Look for photos, insights, and even some video. The LA Auto Show is the first big car show for the global industry, kicking off a season that runs for months and travels around the world.

The industry has taken its share of lumps over the past few years. The financial crisis nearly killed both Chrysler and General Motors — and seriously threatned Ford — but the Big Three are back, racking up profits quarter after quarter. 

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