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NAIAS this year: Lean and green

Posted by Bill Sluben on January 25, 2010

Thoughts from the Detroit Auto Show that I attended this year.  The bling is no longer king…the mood is hopeful but still somber.  Compared with my only other attended show in 2001, the 2010 Detroit Auto Show is much more straightforward.  The product (as it should…always!) speaks for itself.  Gone are the musical performances, fancy food and over the top content (think the circus meets a fashion show in year’s past).  In are exotic concept sportscars with a proposed $100,000+ price tag that will probably never be built. 

Nick Carey of Reuters about nails it with his assessment:  

 This year is different. Fear has been replaced by guarded optimism that 2010 will be better with U.S. sales expected to stagger back to recessionary levels above 11 million vehicles after plunging 21 percent to 10.4 million in 2009. But the Detroit show, which traditionally marks the start of the season to promote upcoming models, has been muted. "This is a much more sensible show, really gearing to what people are going to buy," said Dave Champion, senior director for automotive testing at Consumer Reports magazine. In one jarring break from the recent past, Fiat SpA (FIA.MI), which took control of Chrysler last year, was the
only major automaker to bring in female models to pose next to
its cars.
 "The theatrical stunts that were a common feature at past
auto shows are gone," said Doug Fox, chairman of this year's
auto show and a Nissan dealer. "And I don't know if they will
ever come back."
 Denuded of showmanship, questions remained at the show
about GM and Chrysler's prospects, while low-cost rivals Kia
Motors Corp (000270.KS) and Hyundai Corp (011760.KS) plan to
add to 2009 market share gains.

Of note:  the new Buick Regal GS, the Cadillac V


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