Electric Cars Expected To Be Detroit Show's Highlight

The North American International Auto Show opens this week in Detroit. The beginning of the week is reserved for media previews. It opens to the public on Saturday. Electric cars are likely to be the center of attention.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

That oil is needed to fuel many of the cars that will be on display this week at the Detroit Auto Show.

NPR's Sonari Glinton previews the country's biggest auto show, as automakers hope to put recent trouble behind them.

SONARI GLINTON: The international auto industry is about to put on a show - a really big show - apologies to the late Ed Sullivan. The spotlight will be on fuel economy and new technology.

In the starring role, The Chevy Volt, with supporting roles going to Nissan's electric LEAF, Ford's new all-electric Focus and...

Ms. REBECCA LINDLAND (Automotive research director, IHS Automotive): Toyota is bringing out their new Prius and alternative body styles are expected as well.

GLINTON: Rebecca Lindland is the auto analyst and, for our purposes, the critic. She says what you probably won't hear, the bad stuff that happened last year, especially for Toyota.

MS. LINDLAND: The word recall will not be uttered at their press conference.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GLINTON: Lindland and other industry watchers are hoping this year's the auto show is kind of a snoozer - just a regular year, especially in terms of sales.

Ms. LINDLAND: So as the economy starts to recover, the industry should start to recover as well. So this year's going to be significantly better and hopefully a little bit more stable than last year.

GLINTON: At least that's the hope. The show opens for previews today and to the public on Saturday.

Sonari Glinton, NPR News, Detroit.

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