The North American International Auto Show opens to the public January 16, following a preview that has proved thought-provoking for press and industry invitees.

For many visitors to the Detroit Auto Show this year, it was an unrecognizable place. Gone were the high-octane launches of years gone by, the gas-guzzling Hummers - and some very well-known manufacturers. Instead, small vehicles dominated and the industry looked to the future on the Electric Avenue display.

Here, green-car hopefuls displayed their concepts next to global brands. Commuter Cars showed off its Tango EV, a novel dual-seat design where the passenger sits behind the driver. Korean firm CT&T showed three new models, promising that its C-Square electric roadster would be produced in the US by the end of 2010. Tesla, keen to prove the feasibility of its Roadster Sport EV, drove one vehicle 2,700 miles (4345 km) to be at the show - without a drop of fuel.

Today's industry may have been battered by the past year, but firms spoke to journalists with a note of optimism. Manufacturers revealed leaner, greener vehicles and even the SUVs that debuted were keen to champion their economic credentials.

"After the most amazing year most of us auto industry veterans have ever experienced, this year's Detroit Auto Show had a completely different vibe from last year's show," said Jack R. Nerad of automotive publication Kelley Blue Book ( "No one thinks the industry is out of the woods yet, but there was a collective sense of renewed energy to move forward."

Kelley Blue Book chose the new 2012 Ford Focus as the number one pick of cars and concepts unveiled at Detroit. It won first place for both "what it is and what it means," according to the publication. It is a new worldwide model with potential to be a bestseller, that draws on Ford's experience in the US, Europe, and Asia. It means - Detroit hopes - that US automakers are back.

The North American International Auto Show is open to the public at the Cobo Centre in Detroit from January 16-24 from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM. More information is available online at's 2010 Detroit Auto Show Top 10 List

1. 2012 Ford Focus
2. GMC Granite Concept
3. Volkswagen New Compact Coupe Concept
4. 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
5. Chevy Aveo RS Concept
6. 2011 Honda CR-Z
7. Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept
8. MINI Beachcomber Concept
9. Buick Regal GS Concept
10. Audi e-tron

Data from

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