It may seem a little weird to say about an industry that has received more than its share of lumps of late but this year’s North American International Auto Show, jump-starting on Monday in Detroit, is shaping up to be pretty exciting. Why? Several reasons. First there is the raw data: The 2010 edition of the show will feature products from 61 manufacturers of equipment and parts, compared with 50 from last year. And industry experts are speculating that domestic car sales could top 11.5 million this year, a considerable jump from 2009’s 10.4 million in sales. Ford’s stock price hasn’t been this high since the beginning of Bush’s second term. So there’s that.
There are also more sublime reasons to look forward to next week’s event. Drivers will soon be able to download songs much easier from their souped-up radios. Chrysler will demo a tiny new electric car, the Fiat 500 (pictured here somewhere in Europe), which can go 70 miles before requiring a seven-hour re-charging. (It is not yet clear if that model will be available in the States.) They are, by the way, far from alone in thinking small. All of which bodes well for commuter vehicles in our less oily era. And as if you needed yet more news to get you pumped for the show: Nancy Pelosi!
Oh, and finally: local ’80s rockers The Romantics are headlining this year’s auto show. They play January 15 at downtown Detroit’s Cobo Center. That means if you start now you should have just enough time to tease your hair sufficiently, pack yourself into those buried leather slacks and re-learn all the lyrics to “Talkin’ in Your Sleep.” That’s cool and all but we have to ask: Ric Ocasek and the boys weren’t available?