Detroit -- The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), one of world's most prestigious of its kind, opens Sunday in Detroit as a deepened economic recession inflicts deep woes to automakers worldwide and overshadows a possible recovery of US ailing auto industry in the near future.
The absence of some big names from the show, including Nissan, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Ferrari, Land Rover, Rolls-Royce and Porsche, serves as a reminder what a trying time the automakers have to endure. The missing companies pull out of the event to save cash in order to outlast the economic slump.
The past year saw a global decline in auto sales. The Detroit Three-General Motors, Ford and Chrysler LLC -- which have long wallowed in financial troubles and edged towards the brink of bankruptcy, have suffered most.
After having enjoyed a brief moment of record selling of vehicles in January, 2008, GM, for example, has ever since experienced a free fall in sales and profit, which helps bring the giant to its knees in seeking rescue from the government.
Despite all the dreadful news for the industry, NAIAS 2009 may be seen as a trend setter for the future of car making as it features a host of debuted hybrid and electrical cars from most of the participating automakers, in an answer to calls for producing eco-friendly vehicles.
On the opening day of the show in Detroit's famous COBO Center, which will run through January 25, more than 6,000 journalists from around the world packed the main floor to witness GM's rolling out 17 new and upcoming cars and crossovers -- including four global premieres.
According to NAIAS sources, eighteen manufacturers and industry press conferences are scheduled throughout the day. NAIAS 2009 features eighty exhibitors and introduces nearly 50 new models.
Two of China's auto companies, BYD and Brilliant Car, also displayed their new products, including some green cars, on the main floor for the first time.