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The 2021 LA Auto Show is technically not a competition. No official show awards are granted at the LA Auto Show, but the real prize for automakers is gaining the eyes of potential customers through media buzz or just elaborate exhibits. Specifically, this year’s show is laser-focused on EVs. Here are some of the big winners and some potential losers.

Winner: Subaru wins hearts and minds with Solterra EV and lots of dogs

the front of the Subaru exhibit at the 2021 LA Auto Show
Subaru exhibit at the 2021 LA Auto Show | Andrew Beckford/MotorBiscuit

Subaru easily had one of the most creative exhibits of the 2021 LA Auto Show. We would not be surprised if the automaker hired Disney Imagineers to create the immersive display.

To tug at heartstrings, Subaru brought back its famous “puppy pen” for visitors to spend quality time with plenty of four-legged friends.

However, the draw of the exhibit is the new Subaru Solterra EV. The Solterra is Subaru’s first global EV, and it can be a potential game-changer for the automaker. The Subaru exhibit was among the most crowded, and our stories on the Solterra are among our most visited.

We’ll consider that a win for Subaru.

Winner: Fisker Ocean SUV makes grand debut and bold promises

Fisker Ocean SUV at the 2021 LA Auto Show
Fisker Ocean SUV | Andrew Beckford/MotorBiscuit

The Fisker Ocean SUV was teased for months, but Fisker kept details close to the vest. Specifications, availability, and other information were withheld. The one fact Fisker Inc. did reveal was the Ocean’s starting price of under $40k. That tidbit was enough to keep the automotive industry interested despite delaying more details due to the global pandemic.

Finally, the electric SUV made its debut at the 2021 LA Auto Show. The CEO received several ovations as he explained the three different trim levels of the Fisker Ocean along with their ranges and prices.

Some experts believed that the Fisker Ocean might have been vaporware. That could still be the case. However, based on the reaction from its debut, Fisker’s SUV might be the real deal.

Winner: Hyundai & Kia

The Kia EV9 Concept car on stage during its debut at the 2021 LA Auto Show
The Kia EV9 making its debut at the 2021 LA Auto Show | Andrew Beckford/MotorBiscuit

Subaru and Fisker both made waves at the 2021 LA Auto Show. However, we think Korean automakers Kia and Hyundai made the biggest splash. While technically the same company, Hyundai and Kia each had unique concept vehicles to reveal.

The Hyundai SEVEN EV concept car is among the most impressive on display. The SEVEN featured one of the most forward-thinking approaches to mobility relative to any other vehicle on the show floor.

The SEVEN’s interior is essentially a luxury living space that passengers can lounge in while the vehicle takes them to their destination.

On the other hand, Kia’s EV9 Concept has a bold exterior design featuring faceted body panels and a boxy silhouette. The EV9’s interior is more “traditional” and less like a living room.

It is doubtful that the EV9 will ever see production. However, that does not seem to be the point. The EV9 is more of a “preview” of things to expect from future Kia EVs. Expect to see elements of the EV9 make their way into other upcoming vehicles.

Losers: BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and VW skip the 2021 LA Auto Show

A massive vinyl sign for the LA Auto Show being hoisted onto the LA Convention Center
LA Auto Show signage | LA Auto Show

Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz were all complete no-shows at the 2021 LA Auto Show. Skipping this event is a missed opportunity for those brands. We are all aware that the global chip shortage is making it difficult for automakers to meet production goals. However, nearly all automakers have a plan for the EV future.

The auto show would have been a perfect opportunity for Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and VW to showcase their plans in the biggest EV market in the country.

Will the winners and losers change at the 2022 LA Auto Show? Possibly. Either way, Subaru, Fisker, Hyundai, and Kia all have significant momentum going into the next year.


2021 LA Auto Show: Kia EV9 Reflects The Future Of SUVs