L.A. convention center As the Los Angeles Convention Center prepares for this years L.A. Auto Show spectators will find a little less ‘flash’ in the showroom. Even though Southern California is one of their biggest markets, car makers like Bentley, Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini will be no-shows. For the consumer looking for the ‘green’ car, there won’t be many of them either.

Due to the worst automobile sales slump in decades, this year, the automakers will be focusing on affordable small cars and minivans. In fact, the main attractions is the redesigned Toyota minivan. Economy cars like the Ford ‘Fiesta’ and Chevrolt ‘Cruze’ will also be debuted in an attempt to win fuel-economy fanatics away from the Asian manufacturers. The car based SUV’s, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Tucson and the Mazda 2 will also join the lineup in an attempt to increase their sales.

For the show goer who still wants to see ‘flash’ there will be several pricey vehicles including the $245,000 Rolls-Royce Ghost, Porsche Boxster Spyder and the $375,000 Lexus LFA super car. There will also be the futuristic concept cars that often look great on auto show display stands but rarely make it to dealer showrooms. And for the green consumer, Toyota will stage the North American debut of its long-awaited Prius plug-in hybrid concept, first unveiled in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

After 93 years of major automaking plants in California , Toyota will shut down the last plant in March, 2010. This plant was a joint venture with General Motors, but GM pulled out as part of its reorganization after bankruptcy. Currently 4,700 people are employed there and Senator Feinstein has said that closing the plant could cost upward of 40,000 jobs. Corolla Production will now be done in Canada and Japan and Tacoma production will be moved to San Antonio, Texas. This will be the first time that Toyota has closed a major automobile assembly plant.

The automobile industry used to be very important to the state of California. California’s first plant was for General Motors in Oakland from 1916-1964. The Willy’s- Overland automobile factory was in Maywood, California from 1928-1954. Ford had a plant in Long Beach from 1930-1959. Chrysler had a plant in City of Commerce 1032-1971. Studebaker has an auto plant in Vernon from 1936-1956. General Motors opened another plant in South Gate 1936-1982. General Motor’s had plant number 3 in Van Nuys from 1947-1992. Nash had a plant in El Segundo from 1948-1955. Ford’s 2nd plant was in Milpitas 1955-1983. Ford’s 3rd auto plant was in Pico Rivera from 1957-1980. General Motor’s 4th plant was in Fremont 1962-1982. And then Nummi, the re-opening of the Fremont plant under both GM and Toyota from 1984-2010.

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