Detroit's North American International Auto Show is supposed to be an annual celebration of the automobile -- a cornucopia of concept dream machines and gleaming production sheetmetal all unveiled at over-the-top, glitzified extravaganzas.
Boy, have times ever changed. The 2009 Detroit auto show is taking on the trappings of an expensive funeral, the only thing missing from the cars will be the orange flags used to keep the procession moving along. Several automakers, including most notably Nissan and Mitsubishi, have decided to strike Detroit off their calendar altogether.
And of course, there are the trials and tribulations of the bruised and bloodied Detroit Three. Like a trio of soldiers charging into a hail of gunfire, their futures remain frightfully uncertain -- even with the recent cash infusion GM and Chrysler recently secured from the Bush administration.
The past year has had more downs than ups with the changing economy that forced many Americans to give up their beloved trucks and SUV because of over inflated gas prices. This strained many manufactures to rethink how trucks and SUVs play in a world that is forced to conserve energy. SUVs are shrinking in size and gaining better mileage while trucks are become the work horses that the average Joe needs to get their jobs done. So what does this mean for us? It means slim pickings for new debuts for 2009.
So while the bite in the January air will probably seem a little more frigid and most of the pomp and circumstance of shows past won't find their way to the Cobo Hall floor this year, as the cliche goes -- the Detroit show must go on.