empty gas tank
A hundred years after the first Motor Show opened in chilly Detroit, the climate has changed and heat is on the city’s Big Three car makers.
This year, the unseasonably warm climate has not only made the city’s snowploughs redundant: it also works as a live advertisement for the US car makers’ chief rivals Toyota and Honda, which are both here to show off their hybrid cars.
With concerns about global warming high on the political agenda, their strategy seems to be working.
Last year, Toyota’s sales in the US soared 12.9% while Honda’s rose 3.5%, in sharp contrast to Motown’s own which saw American drivers deserting in droves.
US ANNUAL CAR SALES*
FORD – 2.9m, down 8%
GM – 4m, down 8.7%
CHRYSLER – 2.4m, down 5%
TOYOTA – 2.5m, up 12.9%
Ford sales fell 8%, GM dropped 8.7% and Chrysler slid 5% in 2006, so this year a further 100,000 Motown jobs are set to be axed.