The Week in Reverse

January 13, 2006

No single image can adequately convey the Detroit auto show's importance to TCC and to the shoe manufacturers that make tons of money off us each year. A safe bet would be 20 miles of walking during the three press days of the show, 3GB of photos, easily 10,000 words of copy and at least 36 hours of reporting, writing, editing and posting. But hey, you won't hear us complaining-at least we didn't show up in the same outfits as Cadillac's stunning showgirls like we did last year.

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Better yet, we didn't have to perform the dancing girl/Dance of Seven Veils thing put on by GM's Buick division for the Enclave concept car. Uh, can we get some more couscous with that press kit?

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GM loves a big show - and so does Chrysler. This year's oddity at the show was that the GM press conference came off well. Using a local marching band set the right tone for an all-American event like the return of the Camaro, though we could have done without GM stuffing the press area full of Camaro car club fans.

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We're a little happy that Chrysler's galaxy-of-stars approach to press conferences fell flat, especially since we weren't included in the story giveaway that landed on the print-mag covers while TheCarConnection actually broke the story of the Imperial concept. But David Spade saved face for Chrysler's scattershot approach, and its blizzard of press for the Aspen SUV finished off the auto show with a welcome snowstorm inside, rather than outside Cobo Hall.

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For pure showmanship, Chrysler and GM may take the stage. But for sheer one-upmanship, Toyota certainly clobbered everyone with the opening OEM press conference of the press days. The new LS, in a word, is stunning. And the stream of details from the press conference seemed more at home at CES than at Detroit: hard-drive media server; a reclining chair with an ottoman; and eight forward speeds. In a show where product was king, Toyota checkmated its competition on the first move.

The Governator ran into trouble with the law, not to mention the working end of a suture kit. Fifteen stitches couldn't have scarred his reputation more than the revelation that Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger probably drove illegally on state roads without a motorcycle license. Though he won't be charged, the accident just feels like one of those Dukakis-in-the-tank moments that forced linguists to coin the phrase "jump the shark."

And finally this week, increasingly pumpkin-headed rocker Axl Rose is suing a Beverly Hills car dealership for not getting him into a Lambo Gallardo. Will a countersuit be filed on behalf of music fans to keep Rose from releasing Chinese Democracy - or would that be pointless?

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