LA Auto Show: An Electrifying Affair!
Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co are expected to bring light into the city of Angels. The LA auto show that opens to the press on Wednesday is set to host the revealing of a collection of new vehicles, ranging from Ford’s minivan-like wagon to a Mercedes Benz’s super sports car with a maximum speed of 200 miles an hour.
The two models most indicative of the Golden State’s vehicle sensibilities are likely General Motor’s Chevy Spark EV and Chrysler and its Italian partner Fiat SpA’s Fiat 500e. Regardless of the excitement around electric cars, battery-powered vehicles so far have struggled to be sold on a mass scale. Nissan’s Leaf has been offered in the United States for more than a year, and the company could sell only 1000 units each month, which is far lower than what the automaker had initially planned. The problem however is price! The technological advanced batteries make electric cars more expensive than gas-powered vehicles of similar size, despite getting incentives from government. Nissan Leaf can cover 80 miles before it needs to be recharged, making it suitable for short trips, not for the all-day jaunts, which is a part of many people’s everyday routine.
Chrysler and GM are building ahead as they have to meet California regulations according to which, auto manufacturers have to develop and sell at least some eco-friendly models that emit no emissions. Electric cars are one type of course, but vehicles equipped with fuel cells are also qualified under this category.
Ten other states have accepted California’s regulations. Hence, General Motor produced the electric version of its Korean-made subcompact car, the Spark EV, which is going to be offered first in California. On the other hand, Chrysler is going to unveil Fiat 500e in California first, before introducing it in other states.
Chrysler has led the US minivan segment ever since it introduced its first vehicle 3 decades ago. It is planning to add higher-end version of Town & Country as it sees its future in that segment. Chrysler and Fiat SpA Chief executive officer, Sergio Marchionne said that the automaker is determining whether or not the US brand needs both Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. Autodata Corp researchers say US minivan division slid to 3.7% from 7.9% in 2000. The new 2013 Town & Country will join Chrysler’s sedan and roadster line-up, and 300-sedan will be yet another value addition too, which will arrive in showrooms by June 2013. Town & Country Touring and Limited editions will be priced at $29,995 and $39,995 respectively.