Is Detroit on the Comeback?

Behind the glamour of this week's Detroit motor show, America's car makers are back in the financial mire. Should that worry us? Perhaps not, says Andrew English, but it ought to scare the Nesquick out of the US government

Published: 15-Jan-2007

There was dancing in the streets - well, the aisles - at the 100th North American Auto Show in Motown. But I couldn't help feeling that instead of John Legend or the Pointer Sisters, we should have been listening to I Can't Dance to the Music You're Playing, as recorded by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in 1968.

Perhaps it was glugging chocolate Nesquik for the first time in 40 years that took me back to childhood. Ludicrously overzealous security at Detroit's Cobo Hall forbade me from taking my flavoured milk into the motor-show halls, so I peeled off the top, drank the ghastly stuff and thought back to the days when we didn't care about the consequences of our actions. You just wanted to eat that snail, feed Play-Doh to the dog, drop ice cream down the tuba or push a car company down the stairs. All right, I lied about the last one.

But hell, we've been writing for so long about the death throes of America's big three car makers, a byproduct of healthcare costs, pension liabilities and Japanese competition, that you almost want to finish one of them off.

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