It's not easy to persuade our Los Angeles reporter, David Undercoffler, to come to a place where flip-flops are not OK but using your blinker is, but we managed to lure him to Detroit in early January with the promise of some Slows Bar-B-Q, a tour of our newest potholes and a chance to speak his mind about what he saw on the floor of the Detroit auto show. Turns out, we had him at potholes. But a deal's a deal.
HIT: Toyota Camry press conference
Before an overflow crowd that easily doubled what any other press conference garnered, Toyota pulled out all the comedic stops in a video introducing the 2018 Camry. James Marsden! William Shatner! That impressions guy who used to be on SNL! And then Akio Toyoda himself showed up in a great bit wherein a clueless woman laughed at the coincidence of Toyoda's name and Toyota's. This marks the second consecutive Detroit show in which Akio himself was on hand to play emcee (remember last year's LC debut? "Toyoda may be my last name but Lexus is my middle name." That's gold!). The whole production brought some much-needed warmth to a chilly downtown Detroit.
MISS: Toyota Camry
The press conference was going smoothly until Toyota lost the 2018 Camry backstage and brought out the sound guy's 2007 version instead -- or so it seemed. Seriously, go Google the two model years and compare them side by side. I'll wait. See? The front ends are far too similar for cars that have a decade between them. And the rear looks like Toyota copied off Nissan Sentra's paper. Making matters worse was an XSE model with a two-tone white and black paint job that's so ugly, if it got stolen in my hometown of L.A., it's just because the thieves are planning to repaint it for you.