Car manufacturers are planning to put on a “united front” at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which launches later this week. It is thought there will be a big “green” focus to deflect attention from the industry’s wider troubles.
The show, which has been surrounded by controversy due to numerous car marques pulling out, has made “best in class” fuel economy its central stance, in a bid to re-ignite the car industry.
Nissan, Porsche, Land Rover, Mitsubishi Motors, Suzuki Motor and Rolls Royce have all skipped the Detroit auto show, saying they need to cut marketing spend as car sales continue to fall globally.
Mike Jackson, an analyst for AutoNation, says: “After the early withdrawals, it’s obvious to see that this isn’t the usual auto show. Marketing has been reduced to the bare necessary with the cars and some graphics, but no extravagant spending and increased focus on green credentials. I have seen a better mood at funerals.”
Professor Garel Rhys from the Centre of Automotive Industry Research, says: “The message coming from Detroit seems to be emphasising on green vehicles, rather than horsepower, which is a great way to connect with consumers.”
The Detroit Three – Ford, Chrysler and General Motors – will be under close scrutiny at the show following the offer of a $17.4bn (£11.6bn) bailout fund from the US government at the end of last year.
GM and Chrysler are due to present viability plans to the US Treasury on February 17, hoping for a second batch of government-backed loans.