I haven’t posted much here lately because I’ve been pretty busy writing over on AutoBlogGreen and now also AutoBlog. Last week I covered the Detroit Auto Show and we got some unbelievable traffic. There were seven of us writing up all the stories from all over the show, and posting hundreds of photos. It was interesting getting such a close up look at how car makers deal with the media. GM really took a shine to the blogosphere this year, even inviting about twenty bloggers from various web sites to attend the show on their dime. They did encourage everyone to provide full disclosure that GM was paying for the trips, and given that most wouldn’t have the financial resources to cover something like this on their own, I can see why they would accept the offer. Fortunately, WeblogsInc (parent company of AutoBlog and ABG) covers our expenses and we have a policy of not accepting any paid junkets.
All in all the money and time that GM spent on bloggers this year was peanuts compared to what they and all the other companies spent on their displays in Cobo Hall, their hospitality areas and the parties they held all over town. There were over 6600 registered media at the show and all were welcome at the Firehouse after the show hours. The Firehouse is a bar across the street from Cobo, where for several years Chrysler has been hosting a party for media with free food and drinks served up by the likes of Dieter Zetsche and Emmitt Smith.
I got to meet and talk to a lot of interesting people and it was clear that in spite of all the problems of the domestic auto industry, there is still a hell of a lot of talent and enthusiasm, especially at GM. I’ve never been know as a fan of GM, but they really seem to be on the upswing right now. The production cars they unveiled here, the Chevy Malibu and Cadillac CTS are truly impressive, and the Volt concept is something truly special. When this car goes into production, it will be hugely important.
Ford showed some interesting cars but they don’t seem to be committed to actually building them. They still seem to be kind overwhelmed by the financial problems they’re having. Hopefully within the next few months Alan Mullaly will give the company some real direction and put the emphasis on creating great products. Chrysler, has some interesting stuff technically, but they seem to have lost their way lately with their styling. I think that next year will actually have some more interesting introductions from Chrysler.
Overall, it was a really good time and I’m glad I had the chance to do it. I did a lot of writing and photography and I have great hope for the future. From an environmental standpoint, there are some great developments coming. If you’re interested in reading more of the stuff I wrote at the show, just click on the AutoBlogGreen link on the sidebar.