AUTO SHOW 2010: Is it too early to be optimistic?
Jan. 12, 2010.
there would have been more life in a morgue than at
the North American International Auto Show. Buzz
words such as "Eco" and "Green" so easy to fall off
the tongue were replaced with words like "economic
downturn" and "recession". Journalists ambled
around like desperate rats looking for a tidbit of
good food or good news.
This year the
only thing that stayed the same is the cold snowy
While the crowds
of media were visibly smaller, the cars were
visible. Leaner the attendance and the vehicles
were more accessible. Gone were the celebrities,
acrobats and live cattle, manufacturers focused on
their hardware - a welcomed change.
innovation as displays included explanations of
vehicle dynamics. More engine cutaways and less
give-aways - no one needs another keychain. Press
kits no longer cause back aches as most
manufacturers went the paperless route.
As my colleague
Lorraine Sommerfeld put it in one display of small
cars: "It looks like someone opened a bag of
Skittles here". Bright colours and brightened moods
- it seemed like the corporate folk have been
chastised into caring about theirs cars and the
consumers that buy them. From safety to storage,
vehicles are delivering performance and value for
the price range.
While some brands
like Porsche and Lamborghini were visibly missing,
other luxury and exotics still provided enough eye
candy and drool factor the car lover to enjoy.
The happiest of
all were the hundreds of labourers working the
show. Detroit has been hard hit and unemployment is
high locals were happy to have even a few days of
work even if it meant the repeated dusting of an
already spotless car.
content to have a good coffee and comfortable lounge
to relax in between the fifteen or so manufacturer
press conferences the first day and the handful of
others the second – making the media preview
effectively over in half the time of years gone by.
Where before the
Manufacturers aimed at being bigger, at this year’s
auto show they were determined to be the best. It
may be premature to be optimistic but it is always
better to look at the fuel cell as half charged
rather than half drained.