By Jeff Gilbert

LOS ANGELES — (WWJ) People who live in the nation’s largest car market will now get a chance to see the newest vehicles that carmakers have to offer. Press days at the LA Auto Show are giving way to a public showing of cars, that could see nearly a million people wind through the Los Angeles Convention Center.”

VIDEO: Jeff Gilbert reports on high-end vehicles at the LA Auto Show.

“I think there’s a real sense of optimism in the industry,” said Scott Oldham, Vice President of Editorial at “Sales are good right now. They are on the march up. Everybody’s coming out with new product to meet the demand.”

While electric vehicles have gained a lot of attention, we’re also seeing fuel economy improve on most cars and trucks.

“That’s kind of a big deal,” said Jake Fisher, who heads the car testing team at Consumer Reports. “Because, actually making just normal, utilitarian, mainstream vehicles, or even luxury vehicles, more fuel efficient, is really going to do a lot more than just a couple of limited usage vehicles that are getting great fuel efficiency.”

A mass market, American brand, vehicle took home the Green Car of the Year Award.

The Ford Fusion was honored for its fuel-efficiency In three different packages. That includes a conventionally powered fusion, a hybrid and—coming early next year—a plug-in hybrid.

“This is a great testament to Ford,” said Dave Mondragon, Ford’s General Marketing Manager. “We’ve moved our brand from laggards to leaders in fuel economy.”

Ford is particularly proud of the 100 mile per gallon equivalent that the plug-in Fusion will get. But that vehicle’s time at the top of the fuel economy list was short.

“The Accord plug-in will have the highest fuel economy of any plug-in hybrid, period,” said Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel, who told reporters that the plug-in Accord will get 115 mpge

The LA show, however, is known for more than just green vehicles. Porsche models filled an entire hall. Jaguar and Land Rover showed new products, and Bentley Board Member Kevin Rose says Southern California is one of their best markets.

“In terms of exclusivity, only one car in twelve thousand in the world is a Bentley. So, it’s pretty exclusive no matter what way you cut it.”


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