What did you think of the North American International Auto Show this year? I asked Rhoda Miel, Plastics News' staff reporter in Detroit, and she gave me this report: "It was quieter in that there were fewer press conferences -- and the conferences themselves were lower in hype. The only places giving anything were Kia -- fish tacos and Coronas at the Soulster concept introduction, which I appreciated because it was the first food I'd seen all day Sunday (2 p.m.) though I skipped on the Corona -- and Fisker had champagne at its event. "But in other ways it was just as intense. There were still 6,000 media, but in this case, a lot of them weren't auto beat reporters, but rather were there to write about the 'great automotive meltdown' or 'death of the auto industry' and they knew absolutely nothing about the vehicles or the people running the business. For instance, the woman standing in front of me at the GM press conference who turned and asked me what a car was that was driving past her. 'That's the Volt,' I said -- only the biggest hyped car from GM in the past 10 years. She turns to me again: 'How to you spell that?' And there was also the guy who turned to another reporter as Jim Press, the vice chairman and president of Chrysler LLC was speaking and asked: 'Who is that?' "Another note: While Ford still had its stage in the adjacent Cobo Arena, where it always has its events, the stage was noticeably smaller. "But on the other hand, I got good news out of it, so I'm happy." That's the end of Rhoda's report -- but not the end of her reporting. Check out the Jan. 19 issue for her first batch of coverage, including a Page 1 feature on the Lincoln C concept car (featuring an innovative polycarbonate roof). There are also stories on Johnson Controls Inc.'s new foams using canola and soy oils; the Denso Corp.'s radiator end caps made from castor oil-based polymers; and the bioplastics used in Lexus's HS 250h hybrid sedan. There will be more to come next week, plus an excellent batch of Twitter posts (many with photos) from the show floor. Needless to say, I'm glad we had someone at the show who understands the auto industry, and wasn't just looking for a "meltdown" or "death" angle. What did you think of the show this year? The concept cars? The bioplastics?
How was the auto show?
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