Detroit Auto Show: Post GM, Chrysler Bankruptcies The North American International Auto Show opens this week in Detroit. For Chrysler and General Motors, this is the post-bankruptcy auto show where the companies need to persuade potential customers that more than $60 billion in federal bailout money was well spent.
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Detroit Auto Show: Post GM, Chrysler Bankruptcies

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Detroit Auto Show: Post GM, Chrysler Bankruptcies

Detroit Auto Show: Post GM, Chrysler Bankruptcies

Detroit Auto Show: Post GM, Chrysler Bankruptcies

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The North American International Auto Show opens this week in Detroit. For Chrysler and General Motors, this is the post-bankruptcy auto show where the companies need to persuade potential customers that more than $60 billion in federal bailout money was well spent.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Frank, good morning.

FRANK LANGFITT: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: What are you expecting to see?

LANGFITT: And Ford, interestingly enough, is kind of seeming to try to separate itself from these other two. You know, Ford didn't go bankrupt, didn't take federal bailout money. And I was talking to an executive last week who said, you know, to some degree, they don't think of themselves as much of the Detroit Three anymore. They think of themselves as a different group of three, and that includes Honda and Toyota.

INSKEEP: Oh, they're the Detroit one, I suppose, or something to that effect.

LANGFITT: Think to that effect.

INSKEEP: Now, you mentioned General Motors. What are they going to actually put on the showroom floor, so to speak?

LANGFITT: And this is a segment, as they say in the car business, where you can sell a lot of units and where traditionally, GM just gets clobbered. So with all of this, you know, federal investment that we've all made to this company, if GM's going to profitable, the Cruze really has to be a success. So watch for that sometime later this year as they come out, see what the reviews are and see what the sales are like.

INSKEEP: So the Chevy Cruze is critical for General Motors. And then there's Chrysler. Now they've done some big, showy things at this auto show in the past. They sent a herd of steer onto the floor, if I'm not mistaken (unintelligible)...

LANGFITT: Well, that was actually outside. That would've really messed up the floor.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

LANGFITT: But it was outside of the Cobo Center, but it caught a lot of people's attention.

INSKEEP: OK. But what are they going to do this year? I mean, what other animals are they going to put on display, if any?

LANGFITT: Actually, you're not going to see any animals.

INSKEEP: Ah, I'm disappointed.

LANGFITT: Now, today, Sergio Marchionne is the CEO of Fiat, he now really runs Chrysler. He's going to be out on the floor today talking to reporters, trying to convince us and convince the people listening, you know, around the country that he can turn this company around. He did it with Fiat in Europe, and he's going to try to convince us that with Fiat technology, he can build small, affordable cars that people want to drive.

INSKEEP: Frank Langfitt's line is breaking up just a little bit, but we can hear you for a few more seconds, I think, Frank. I suppose it's no surprise that a number of congressional leaders, including Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, are going to be Detroit. Why would they not go check on their investment, I suppose? Or our investment.

LANGFITT: Well, exactly right. They are going to check on it. They're going to be looking at fuel efficient technology that the government is actually creating loans for. And they want to see if these companies are no longer going to be making gas guzzlers as they did in the past, and kind of becoming greener.

INSKEEP: Right. Frank, thanks very much.

LANGFITT: Happy to do it, Steve.

INSKEEP: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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