Detroit Auto Show: Wake-up call

Consumer Reports News: January 10, 2011 11:39 AM

Loyalty shows its face in many ways. For example, Porsche was a no-show at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) for a few years. Snubbed, if you will, by the German sports car maker, I’m guessing that when it came time for them to return to Detroit, show organizers wanted to prove that there were no hard feelings. So when the press conference schedule came out for the 2011 show, journalists swallowed hard and saw that Porsche was up first: At 6:00 a.m. for breakfast with its press conference starting at 6:30. No, I’m sure there were no hard feelings.

Glad to have Porsche back despite the hideous start time of the event.

I can’t wait to see how Detroit will greet Nissan if or when it comes back to the Motor City some day. Maybe they’ll ask the company to host a midnight showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

This year’s show suggests that the industry, and Detroit in particular, are on steadier ground than they have been for several years. I don’t anticipate people dancing in the aisles of Cobo Hall singing “Happy Days are Here Again” but industry reports suggest that 2011 may be a year of cautious optimism. This year’s extravaganza will showcase 30-40 worldwide debuts in addition to some North American models getting press coverage for the first time.

It might be nice to unveil all this hoopla during a slightly warmer month. Detroit in January far from like Key West in January. And we’d also really appreciate it if our hotel hadn’t over-booked its available rooms (some of our staff were unceremoniously shuttled to another hotel…even though we made reservations in October).

But I understand that this show is important to Detroit. According to the NAIAS Web site, the show expects to host approximately 5,000 international journalists from more than 70 countries.

Last year’s show saw public attendance jump to 715,000.

The show adds millions annually to the Southeast Michigan economy, with a hefty sum directly benefiting downtown Detroit.

Caffeinated beverages flow freely so journalists can keep up with the marathon day ahead of us. Yes, we started at 6:00 a.m. with Porsche and we go straight through to 6:40 p.m., ending with a big bash from Chevrolet. Stay tuned and enjoy the ride.

See our complete 2011 Detroit Auto Show coverage and follow our live updates on Twitter @CRCars.

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