This city on the brink of a potential bankruptcy says it's ready to host this year's North American International Auto Show, which kicked off this weekend.
In addition to the unveiling of several dozen new cars, the Detroit show will feature a new Nissan display with a 150-foot halo, the largest Toyota display ever and a new 30,000-square-foot atrium.
Official press conferences begin Monday, and NAIAS -- among the largest auto shows in the world -- opens to the public on Jan. 19.
Mayor Dave Bing says his struggling city should draw inspiration from the automotive industry and the auto show, which have both bounced back from stark times during the recession.
"This has been an unbelievable transformation," Bing said of the auto show and renovations at Detroit's Cobo Center, where the exhibition will be held. "Cobo is ready for the world, and pretty soon, Detroit is going to be, again, ready for the world."
David Tillapaugh, Ford Motor's auto show manager, said the automaker is displaying a historic F1 pickup truck and will be emphasizing its truck lineup at the show.
"We continue to introduce new features, new technologies, and we have plans for the future that are really exciting," Tillapaugh said. "There are going to be some surprises at the show."
Borrowing a trick used by high-end luxury retailers and hotels, Nissan plans to pipe its own distinctive scent, called The Vert Oriental, into its display area, says Erich Marx, Nissan's director, Social Media and Interactive Marketing for Nissan North America.
A new auto show stand with a 150-foot-long halo that appears to float over a stadium seating-style stage will make its debut.
The new display, designed and constructed by George Johnson, will be featured at 10 other global auto shows this year.
A redesigned hatchback version of its Nissan Versa, called the Note, is expected to be unveiled here, as is a new midsize crossover concept vehicle that's likely to foreshadow the redesign of the Murano.
Toyota and Lexus also are going big at this year's auto show.
The 35,000-square-foot Toyota exhibit is larger than previous Toyota stands at NAIAS. With the additional square footage, Toyota has made way for 34 vehicles, such as the 2013 editions of the all-new Avalon and RAV4, as well as an assortment of displays that highlight the automaker's recent successes and promising future technologies.
But by far, the biggest new feature will be a 30,000-square-foot glass atrium, part of a $279-million upgrade of Cobo Center.