The global economic downturn is affecting other things than the availability of credit, the unemployment rate and the fate of the world's largest automaker. We had already heard that Suzuki was planning on skipping this year's 2009 Detroit Auto Show in January (Porsche passed on the 2008 show), but the small Japanese brand has now been joined by a few heavyweights that compete at the very high end of the automotive spectrum. It turns out that Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Land Rover are all three not attending this year's Detroit show, presumably because they don't have anything exciting to announce and the money could be better spent elsewhere.

What's surprising about this trio of top shelf brands missing out on Detroit is that we always thought luxury goods were least vulnerable to a crappy economy. Sure the middle class and poor get poorer, but the super wealthy usually have a few million stuffed under their mattresses to see them through. Thus, if not less expensive Land Rovers, at least Ferraris and Rollers would still be bought in decent numbers. Apparently that's not the case, as even the most expensive of autos are seeing sales slow and if they don't have a new production vehicle or concept car to show, then a trip to Detroit is the vacation nobody wants to take.

[Source: LA Times, Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty]