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It's another winter of discontent in the Motor City, with automakers still reeling from bankruptcies, new fuel and safety rules, and a world that cares roughly half as much about buying new cars and trucks as it did 18 months ago.
Still, as we plumb the depths the 2010 Detroit Auto Show this week, the predictions of gloom are at least being cut into bite-sized pieces. General Motors seems to finally be rid of its underperforming brands. Chrysler's sending out greetings in Italian. Ford's electrifying nearly everything it can touch. Toyota is coming to grips with its own problems at home and in the U.S. Around the rest of the world, the Europeans are thriving, relatively speaking. The VW juggernaut rolls on with the added weight of Porsche, and though the luxury brands are hurting, there's no talk of any ditching the U.S. market entirely--as there was in the 1990 recession.
There are even bright spots. Ford's quality is getting widespread notice, as are its hybrids--illustrated with its sweep of the 2010 North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. Hyundai and Kia continue to grow in a way that puts fear into the smaller Japanese brands. And mighty Subaru--yep, mighty--keeps posting monthly sales records while sales droughts hit nearly every other brand.
If you can't find it in your heart to brave a Midwest winter, we're ready to help. High Gear Media is reporting live from Detroit, armed with cameras and voice recorders and really comfortable shoes to make sure you don't miss a beat. Our coverage from Cobo Hall starts here--bookmark this page and stay with us as we update you throughout the show, and as we update all the links to all of our coverage which you can access over the next several pages: