Automakers struggle with the future in Los Angeles

DETROIT – Car manufacturers’ attempts to square what US consumers want against the clean vehicles regulators and investors demand will be on display in Los Angeles this week at an auto show that has moved away from calling itself just an auto show.

Automakers on Monday will begin previewing new models for the media at an event called AutoMobility LA, reflecting an emphasis on digital technology and new ways to get around, such as self-driving cars.

On Friday, the Los Angeles Auto Show will open to the public for 10 days, attracting visitors from one of the world’s most affluent and culturally influential metropolitan markets.

For now, self-driving cars are not ready for consumers, and sales of the battery-powered vehicles demanded by California regulators remain marginal and money-losing.

Profits are generated by gasoline-fueled sport utility vehicles and trucks.

Automakers caught between the petroleum past and the digital future will send muddled messages.

Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) will try to replace memories of the diesel emissions cheating scandal that tarnished its image with many California customers by promoting its $US40 billion ($F83b) wave of electric vehicles.

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