By Chris Haak
Since we last reported on automakers pulling out of the January 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, there has been even more bad news for the show. As of the earlier article – written Friday, November 21 – Mitsubishi, Land Rover, Suzuki, Ferrari, Porsche and Rolls-Royce had all pulled out of the show. Porsche had not been at the show for several years, citing very low sales volumes in the Detroit metro area (as if the premier North American auto show was only important from a regional standpoint), but Rolls Royce, and especially Ferrari, always seemed to draw a crowd at their (well-enclosed stands). Still, those other automakers are fairly small fish in the whole scheme of things, although Mitsubishi revealed two vehicles (the production Lancer Ralliart and the Concept RA), and Land Rover revealed its LR-X concept at the 2008 show.
Then on Monday, Nissan announced that it was pulling out of both the Detroit and Chicago auto shows due to the economic environment. Nissan’s departure is a fairly big blow because it’s a full-line automaker unlike the other dropouts, and occupies a sizable chunk of floor space. Then today, Honda announced that it wil not be having any staged press events at the show in January. Honda is expected to still reveal the production version of its Insight hybrid vehicle, but will do so without the theatrics that accompany traditional press reveals. The fact that Honda – probably the healthiest automaker in the US market – has taken this step shows that no manufacturer is immune from the challenges faced in this environment. Continue Reading →