Detroit Auto Show Opens

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A much subdued Detroit Auto Show opened its’ doors this week. And one could almost hear a collective sigh of relief that the industry was still alive.

After a year of bankruptcies, bailouts, mergers and closures automakers from around the globe are focusing efforts on smaller more fuel efficient offerings as well as a hybrid and electric models.

Sales forecasts are for the U.S. to sell around 11.5 million vehicles this year up from the 10.4 million in 2009.

Concerns of $80 oil, high gas prices, a questionable economic recovery and unemployment at 10 percent still have industry executives worried about the impact they will have on auto sales. While gas is closing in on a $3.00 per gallon national average some speculate it would need to get to $5.00 a gallon before consumers start to worry.

A sign of the times might just be the so-called “Electric Avenue” a display showing vehicles from many different manufacturers, rather than just one. Nissan’s only real presence at the show is here where they have their recently debuted “Leaf” on display.

“This is what happens when you don’t have the money or the product that you did in the past” said Rebecca Lindland, director of research at IHS Global Insight.

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