SAN FRANCISCO -- When car chiefs take the stage at the massive Motor City shindig on Monday, the requisite cheerleading and calls for an industry revival will no longer come off as desperate puffery.
That's because, with the North American International Auto Show just days away, 2011 already feels different. The economy is showing signs of life, consumers are coming back to showrooms, and auto makers finally have the wind at their back -- along with profits in their pockets.
"For the past couple of years, these shows felt like visiting a nursing home. Just stay quiet and keep the lights down," TrueCar.com analyst Jesse Toprak said. "This year, though, promises to be one of the most upbeat and jam-packed shows in a long time."