By Nauman Farooq
Detroit, Mi. was once the most prosperous city in America. Back in the 1960’s it was home to the Motown record label, and of course it was home to the three largest car companies in the world.
Times sure have moved on, all the major record labels are now based in California, and while General Motors, Ford and Chrysler still call Detroit their home, these companies are no longer known as “The Big Three.”
Last year was especially tough for these companies, as sales of their trucks and SUV’s, which were once the lifeline for these companies, suffered tremendously, thanks to crude oil prices going as high as $147 a barrel (currently its back down to a more reasonable $40 a barrel).
The price of gas and the overall meltdown of the U.S. financial system lead to thousands of people losing their jobs and homes. Some are saying that this is the worst recession America has ever faced, even worse than the great depression of the 1930’s.
This had hit the American auto manufacturers hard and as a result they have cut down production on several models and closed down most of their plants for a month, if not more. If it wasn’t for the last minute government bail-out fund, these companies would have had to file for bankruptcy and thus would not have been at the 2009 North American International Auto Show (N.A.I.A.S.) held every January at the Cobo Hall in Detroit.
Thankfully the bailout was approved and they all made it to the show, but the question on everyone’s lips was, with several car companies bailing out of this year auto show, and the troubling times with domestic manufacturers, what will be the state of the motor show in the motor city?
To my surprise, I am glad to say, it is still an amazing auto show. The companies that didn’t show up (those are, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Suzuki, Nissan, Infiniti, Land Rover and Porsche), they are fools for not taking advantage by being at such a great show.
The companies that are here, they did put their best foot forward. The displays looked amazing, the cars really are the stars of this show, and the models (of the two-legged variety) were prettier than ever before.
Also thanks to the efforts of some dedicated Michigan dealers, some makes made a return to the N.A.I.A.S. even if it was in a smaller capacity. These include Aston Martin, Lotus and Bugatti.
The Italian design house Bertoni is here too, showing its spaceship-esque B.A.T. 11 concept car (for those wondering, B.A.T. stands for Berlineta Aerodynamica Techinca).
So for all those who come to the auto show to look at dream cars, this years show certainly won’t disappoint.
Thanks to the efforts of new car companies like Fisker and Revenge designs, you will also see some cars before anyone else on the planet.
Over the last few years, some Chinese car firms have been showing their stuff at the N.A.I.A.S. and this year is no exception. You might have to wait a few years before you can buy a BYD or a Brilliance in North America, but you eventually will, and you know something, their products are getting better and better each year.
So if you have been toiling with the idea of going to this years N.A.I.A.S., I hope this would be enough to convince you to go, trust me, you’ll have a great time. You can send me thank you letters for recommending the show later.