After three long and tumultuous years, there's a far different feeling about the Detroit Auto Show, aka the North American International Auto Show. For 2012, you could say, the buzz has returned. For automakers and auto fans, it's long overdue.
At this year's show, there will be two primary stories: fuel efficiency, and whether several brands can roll out new models to turn around their fortunes.
Ask any auto executive and they'll tell you gas prices are going back up. Nobody's foolish enough to suggest a target price, but several have told me they are preparing for $4 a gallon gas to hit sometime later this year. As a result, we'll see the auto show spotlight shine on small cars, hybrids and more fuel-efficient engines.