The Buzz Is Back in Detroit

2011 Detroit Auto Show
Stan Honda | AFP | Getty Images
2011 Detroit Auto Show

It's rare when you see auto execs truly excited at an auto show.

Typically, they show the requisite enthusiasm, but for them the auto show is just another part of the job.

That makes the vibe at this year's auto show that much different.

There is a buzz about the auto industry you can feel as you walk the floor of the Detroit Auto Show. To quote Jim O'Donnell, who runs BMW North America, "They've got the lights turned up and it feels great." He's not alone in his enthusiasm. Before I interviewed GM's Mark Reuss, he said, "What a different feeling from 12 months ago."

A year ago, the auto industry was limping along with sales at a pace of 10.5 million annually.

There was genuine concern about when the buyer would come back to showrooms. A year later, they are coming back, thanks in large part to a slew of strong new models.

Go to the auto show this year and you will see new models with a level of fit and finish that will convince people it's time to buy. That's what's fueling the enthusiasm from auto execs. They have line-ups that will sell. Gone are the days where you'd walk the show floor and see a hand full of dog models.

Detroit Auto Show 2011 - A CNBC Special Report
Detroit Auto Show 2011 - A CNBC Special Report

And why shouldn't Detroit be beaming?

The Chevy Volt was voted North American Car of the Yearwhile the Ford Explorer won Truck of the Year.

Two exclamation points on a comeback that is just beginning. Yes, the buzz is back at the Detroit Auto Show.

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