The New York International Auto Show downshifts

G.M. and Chrysler have nothing to smile about, but the battered car industry slaps a happy face on one of its biggest annual events.

Published April 18, 2009 10:15AM (EDT)

There is no longer a dirt track to test-drive Jeeps and other mechanized playthings, but there is still an SUV section downstairs at the New York International Auto Show, and there are still attractive women explaining next year's models to wandering packs of male gearheads. The sign that greets visitors to this year's stripped-down version of the annual car show, which runs through Sunday, says, bravely, "Reinventing the ownership experience" and "Total confidence." Only the first statement is true. The U.S. government may end up holding the warranty on Chrysler and G.M. vehicles if those two automakers file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Join us for a brief tour of a smiling-through-the-tears show in the cavernous Jacob Javits Convention Center on the west side of Manhattan.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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By Sara Versluis

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Auto Industry Barack Obama Chrysler Great Recession