Predicting the Mood at the NAIAS

The North American International Auto Show, the biggest car show in the world, opens to the public on January 17, 2009 in Detroit.

Their latest press release hypes the appearance of two Chinese automakers: BYD (which debuted at last year’s show) and Brilliance Auto, BMW’s Chinese partner.

They’re also promising 700 vehicles on display. Exhibitors of interest include Fisker, MINI (surely the MINI-E will be on display?), smart, and the University of Michigan Solar Car team, fresh off winning the 2008 North American Solar Challenge.

Since Detroit has never faced more perilous times, and this is the Big Three’s turf, I can’t help but wonder what the mood might be like. Presumably by January they will know where they stand with the federal bail-out.

You might think that, no matter what, the Big Three won’t be the pride of the show—I mean, someone should be hanging his head in shame and embarrassment. But knowing them, and knowing the industry, I doubt this will be the case.

Any predictions?

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