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Reporters' Notebook: 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show

By Automotive Staff | November 16, 2011
Reporter's Notebook is our live-coverage of what's happening on the show floor. No, not vehicle debuts and new car intros. We have that here. This is the show behind the show. What we see, hear, taste, and sometimes smell from the show floor. Want to know what it's like to be at the show? Here you go. Paragraphimage 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Proud new owner of a Nissan GT-R

Sure, she may need a bath, but I am now the proud new owner of a 2012 Nissan GT-R. The interior's a little too tight for my tastes, though.

-Jacob Brown Paragraphimage 8:45 a.m. Thursday, BMW Goes "Ghost Protocol" (Wednesday 4:45 p.m.)

Because the upcoming Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol involves a slew of BMWs making cameos, the movie's leading lady, Paula Patton used the opportunity granted at the auto show to plug the movie, talk about Tom Cruise, and introduce the i3 and i8 concept cars. My boss told me that of the pictures I took, I should use one of the more modest ones. Yeah, this is one of them.

-Jacob Brown Paragraphimage 8:26 a.m. Thursday, "Lambo Doors"

"Lambo" doors? Seriously? Didn't this phase end in the 90's? -- Jason Davis Paragraphimage 8:14 a.m. Thursday, Fun With Macro Lens!

Oh hey, Flying B.  Whatcha doin' just sittin' there? -- Jason Davis Paragraphimage 4:52 p.m. Ford's Ninjas (Noontime)

You can't see them, can you? But you know what? They're there. Right there, with all kinds of explosions and sounds and distractions. Diversions to the side of the stage, and when I looked back, the veil was unveiled. It's a Ford Flex, by the way. And the ninjas? Pop. Ninja smoke. --Jason Davis Paragraphimage 4:15 p.m. Mario Kart 7 ready for action

On of the most popular video games for Nintendo is about to release its seventh installment and greets guests and journalists alike as they enter the LA convention center. Mario and his red mushroom are getting ready to face off against other Nintendo characters as they race around the track chucking everything from banana peels to turtle shells at each other. The first installment absorbed hours of my childhood and I still believe they were spent very wisely doing so. --Trevor Dorchies Paragraphimage Wednesday, 3:45 p.m. Lexus LFA waving to the crowd

The $400,000 supercar assembled by Lexus is on display but on a pedestal and away from the crowd.  Since it's out of reach to the public all it can do is wave. Don't expect it to be as nice though when it's laying down some rubber on the Nurburgring. --Trevor Dorchies Paragraphimage Wednesday, 3:30 p.m. Gathering of the Audis

A few Audis took out break outside of the LA Convention Center after a busy morning. Audi is showcasing the S6, S7, S8, and R8 GT Spider over the next nine days and we expect them to command a lot of attention. Somewhere Tony Stark is smiling.  --Trevor Dorchies Paragraphimage Wednesday, 2:30 p.m. Enthusiasts Swoon, Start Saving Pennies for Porsche Driving School

The debut of the 2012 Porsche Panamera GTS and the 911 Carrera was nearly overshadowed by Porsche announcement that it is opening up driving school in Los Angeles. Yes, you read that right: a driving school on how to drive a Porsche sports car properly ala a track. Officially called the Porsche Performance Center, the driving complex is located in Los Angeles, California near the 405 and 110 junction. Adults and even children will learn how to drive Porsche vehicles on special tracks and handling courses even during inclimental weather conditions like rain (rarity in SoCal). Reaction to the news? We're already jockeying for who will sign up for the first class -- Joel Arellano Paragraphimage Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. Jaguar Does it Right

After Jaguar unveiled the XKR-S Convertible and C-X16 Concept, and Land Rover took the wraps off the two DC100 Concepts, it was time to relax. It's not unusual for the manufacturers to provide refreshments, such as coffee, a few danishes here and there, or maybe even a fruit salad. But Jaguar brought beer and, not shown, wine. No, that isn't my hand grabbing a cold one there, but suffice it to say, the line was only slightly shorter than the one for coffee we saw at the Starbucks kiosk earlier. Marketing is all about knowing your audience, so homerun for Jaguar.

-Keith Buglewicz Paragraphimage Wednesday, 10:45 a.m. Blake Griffin's gotta do something with his free time

The NBA lockout is in full swing, and after this past week, it's likely to stay that way. It's probably a good thing then that basketball star Blake Griffin has a day job as a spokesperson for Kia Motors. Griffin dwarfed Kia's Michael Sprague during the press introduction of Kia's Optima race car, basketball-themed custom Optima, and Kia GT concept car. -Jacob Paragraphimage Wednesday, 10:25 a.m. Ford Examines Caddy Style

The car in the photo above is the Cadillac Ciel Concept. The two gentlemen admiring it? The one with his arms folded is Joel Piaskowski, design director for Ford, North America. The man standing next to him is Kemal Curic, also from Ford's design department. What exactly are they thinking? That Cadillac has scored big with its concept? That Lincoln had better step up its game to compete? That the Ciel is one hell of a styling statement? When asked, Piaskowski mentioned that the Ciel's nose was too blunt. OK, maybe. But we also know eye-humping when we see it.

-Keith Buglewicz Paragraphimage Wednesday, 1:15 p.m. What? Both Cameras Down?

Technology can be both a blessing and bane to a reporter. Case in point: cameras. While attending a pre-show media event courtesy of Chevrolet, I discovered in quick succession that 1) my camera's memory was corrupted (I blame politics) and 2) my smartphone battery redlined, then went flat within minutes after sampling the excellent buffet. Fortunately, a GM/Chevy staff phototag covered my back with a shot of the event's stars ala Chevy Volt (hiding); Chevy Sonic from SEMA, Chevy Spart, and the Camaro ZL1 convertible.

-Joel Arellano Paragraphimage Wednesday, 10:25 a.m. Yo quiero, Hyundai?

"As long as she has her bed, she'll just stay there," a reporter said to Hyundai's PR folks just before the launch of the 2012 Hyundai Azera. Then I looked down and saw that she brought her eight-pound helper dog. Just when I thought I had seen everything in Los Angeles, here's something completely new. Next up: Seeing-eye kittens at the Kia display.

-Jacob Brown Paragraphimage Wednesday, 10:02 a.m. The long, long Starbucks line

The Starbucks line. Remember what I said below about this show running on coffee? You probably thought I was kidding. At 10 in the morning, the line still wrapped well around the Starbucks kiosk. Let's hope they're well stocked. It could get ugly.

-Keith Buglewicz Wednesday 9:15 am, Patrick Dempsey "McDreamy" at the Mazda CX-5 Unveil Paragraphimage In case anyone wasn't convinced of the Zoom Zoom sex appeal of the CX-5, Mazda brought along "McDreamy." -Matt Askari Paragraphimage Wednesday 8:50 a.m, West Parking Lot, Los Angeles Convention Center - "Great Scott!"

Let's face it, the parking lot at the Los Angeles Auto Show is just as much fun to check out as the show itself. Most cars are press fleet cars sandwiched next to one another. It looks like a new car dealership. But sometimes, there's something completely different, something a little retro and way cooler than an AMG Mercedes-Benz or new Ferrari. This DeLorean is one such car. -Jacob Brown Paragraphimage Tuesday 7:03 pm, On the Way to the Belasco Theater in Downtown LA

Part of the fun of going to events surrounding the show is spending time in downtown, something us locals don't do much of regularly. -Matt Askari Paragraphimage

Wednesday, 9:58 a.m. Volkswagen Press Conference

See this photo? We're able to get it to you because we have a handy little thing called a "press credential." Some people don't have it. Such as the person Volkswagen just unceremoniously kicked out of the photographer's row in front of the seats.

Handy tip: If you're going to try to cover an auto show, make sure you're actually allowed to be there.

-Keith Buglewicz Paragraphimage Wednesday, 8:18 a.m. L.A Convention Center Press Room

Clearly, a rookie was in charge of ordering the coffee supplies: The lids are too big for the travel cups. This is a serious faux pas. I mean, auto shows RUN on coffee! Now what do we do? Risk spilling it on our nice shirts? This is a T-shirts-and-jeans industry, so it's not like we have a lot of nice ones, you know. Heads must roll.

And don't even get me started on the paltry 10-ounce cup.

-Keith Buglewicz Paragraphimage Wednesday, 7:31 a.m. L.A. Convention Center Press Room It's early morning here at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and our fellow automotive journalists are slowly trickling in to fill the limited spaces. Take a look at this room. Soon enough, every available desk, chair, and corner near a wall plug will be filled with media personnel desperately trying to meet deadlines a fraction of a minute before their colleagues. But for now it's fairly quiet and tranquil. I like it, frankly; it's the best looking (and best smelling) we're all going to be all day.

-Keith Buglewicz

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