US vehicle makers will unveil a couple of dozen production and concept vehicles during media previews Thursday and Friday at the 2003 Los Angeles Auto Show, The Detroit News said.

A key launch will be General Motors’ much-anticipated 21st-century version of a 20th-century icon – the Pontiac GTO, sourced from Holden in Australia, the newspaper said.

The Detroit News said that Ford would use the West Coast show to unveil a special low-emissions version of its Focus small car.

And LA-based Toyota would show two production vehicles from its new Scion brand aimed at a youth market the automaker calls the ‘net generation’, the newspaper added.

The Detroit News said the new Pontiac GTO, a rebadged Monaro coupe, would have a power plant considerably more brawny than the 290 horsepower engine in the original Holden.

The newspaper said the Focus PZEV would meet California’s partial zero-emissions standard using a new 148-horsepower, 2.3-litre, in-line four-cylinder engine. Under the PZEV standards, a vehicle cannot give off any evaporative emissions and its emission system must last at least 150,000 miles, the newspaper noted.

The Detroit News said the PZEV powertrain would be standard on all Focus models sold in California, New York, Vermont and Massachusetts from the first quarter of this year and would be introduced nationwide next year in all non-SVT Focus models.

Ford would also show off a supercharged Thunderbird roadster and a three-door sport utility runabout as ‘concept’ cars, the newspaper added, noting that approval from show attendees could put the roadster into production as part of Ford’s Living Legend model line.

Toyota’s Scion xB is based on the boxy bbX concept vehicle while the xA is believed to be a production version of the ccX, a lower-slung crossover type vehicle, the Detroit News said.

The newspaper noted that Scion goes on sale in California in June, but will be available nationwide within a year with prices starting at a youth-friendly $17,000 with a number of appearance and performance options available.

The Detroit News said other vehicles making their North American debuts in Los Angeles include the Porsche Cayenne SUV, seventh-generation Jaguar XJ, Mercedes-Benz Maybach, the 2004 Audi A8, 2004 Mitsubishi Evolution VIII and Ferrari Enzo.

A full show report from American correspondent John Rettie will be posted soon.