Bob Lutz speaking at the 2009 LA Auto Show
Amid the general hubbub of the press conferences and concept vehicle reveals yesterday, U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wandered her way through the Detroit Auto Show. Traveling with a lot of Michigan politicians – including Rep. John Dingell (D) and Rep. Fred Upton (R) – Pelosi visited automaker booths and checked in to see what the taxpayer money has been up to recently. The "investment" that the taxpayers made in the auto industry last year, she said at an event at the end
For many auto enthusiasts, the 2009 North American International Auto Show was the official beginning of the US economic downturn. Nissan, Infiniti, Mitsubishi and Porsche didn't even bother to show up for the once-prestigious event and Honda chose not to unveil any new product. A couple months back, the NAIAS organizers gave us some hope for the 2010 extravaganza when they said that the show would be better attended this time around. Well it appears that the show will at least be marginally bet
2009 Cadillac Converj concept – click above for high-res gallery
In my first column reality checking the Detroit Auto Show, some of you questioned my assertion that even Toyota's relatively high-volume hybrids are probably not profitable. Of course, Toyota has lowered the costs of its Hybrid Synergy Drive components over many years and hundreds of thousands of units. But I believe they're still too high for any Toyota Hybrid - even the Prius or the soon-to-come higher-priced Lexus HS 250h - to turn a profit.
This year's Detroit North American International Auto Show (aka NAIAS) was easily the greenest ever, greener even than the evergreen Los Angeles show two months earlier. Several automakers (most notably Nissan) were missing due to the weak economy, while others (Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz) were present but silent with no press conferences. That left room for the likes of Tesla, Fisker and a pair of Chinese makers to set up shop on the main floor and hype the media on their grand plans.
Photo of a retro fuel cell vehicle by jurvetson. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.
There are hundreds of vehicles on display at the Detroit Auto Show this year. Most of them were vehicles from past years, things we've all seen plenty of times. During our coverage of the new vehicles unveiled during the media preview days this past week, we hunted for everything that smelled even the slightest bit green or eco-friendly, then put together a list of 16 vehicles for you, our readers, to vote on. Voting closed on Friday and it is time to reveal the results. This is a very different
Sure, there were a few brands missing from the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, but we never got the feeling that things were bleak... until we went looking for ten cool wheels. After walking the floor twice, we were able to come up with nine. America's premiere auto show had left us walking in circles, one wheel short, debating whether an ugly wheel with internally-mounted calipers was cool enough to make the list. And it was then that the real tragedy of this show hit us: not the subtracted brand count
Click above for a gallery of the Johnson Controls re3 concept
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Saab 9-5 Griffin Edition
Click image above for live shots of the Cadillac Converj Concept