JOHN YDSTIE, Host:
NPR's Jason Beaubien reports.
JASON BEAUBIEN: Peter DeLorenzo is a bit like the Detroit auto industry itself. He's getting a little bit older. Some say his product is past its heyday. But dressed in bright Hawaiian shirt, he overflows with self-confidence.
PETER DELORENZO: It's the most influential site of its kind on the Web because our audience is made up of the heads of the companies.
BEAUBIEN: DeLorenzo was born in the storied automotive town of Flint, Michigan, to an automotive family. His father was a public relations executive at General Motors.
DELORENZO: I sort of grew up in the business in the heyday of Detroit, when they were dominating the U.S. market and everything was great.
BEAUBIEN: DeLorenzo says Detroit's biggest problem is that for two decades, GM, Ford and Chrysler let their quality go down the tubes. But he contends that the U.S. automakers are now making cars that are as good as or better than the imports.
DELORENZO: Detroit definitely has got the message. They are definitely bringing out good products. Can they bring them out fast enough? That's another issue. Can they get people to buy them or consider them? That's the billion- dollar question.
BEAUBIEN: The site Autoblog has far more information. Automotive News updates its Web site multiple times a day. The Detroit Free Press, Automotive Digest and Edmunds.com all cover the industry extensively online.
(SOUNDBITE OF CAR ENGINE)
BEAUBIEN: Ray Wert, the Detroit-based editor of Jalopnik.com, is covering the event. Jalopnik was launched two years ago and takes a hipper, more flippant approach to the auto industry. Wert says he reads Autoextremist, but he describes DeLorenzo as an insider looking in on the industry.
RAY WERT: In many ways, the Autoextremist is kind of like a columnist. He is a weekly read, but if you want your daily news, you go to other sources.
BEAUBIEN: Jason Beaubien, NPR News.
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