More than 5,000 journalists are descending on Detroit this week to participate in the North American International Auto Show. Thousands of auto executives are coming to find out what car companies plan to offer the car-buying public.
Everyone wants to check out the displays of electric, autonomous and plain old gasoline-powered vehicles -- and chat up the executives -- to see what the future holds.
And what an interesting future it promises to be. The auto industry is not unlike it was a century ago. Radical innovation promises to change everything.
All the more reason to come to Detroit. Indeed, for nearly three decades it has been imperative: If you want to see what's going on in the car industry, you must be in the Motor City in January.
And on Tuesday, Jan. 10, we'll kick off the 41st Automotive News World Congress. One of our keynoters, Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., will address the gathering just as his uncle Henry Ford II did in 1976 as our very first speaker. That's a lot of history.
This year the battle seems to be between electricity and gasoline. Certainly a corporate average fuel economy target of 54 mpg is a great incentive to promote electric vehicles, but we're a long way from knowing who will win and who will lose in the battle of the powerplants.
This is a particularly exciting time given the potential for relaxed regulations. What's more, the next occupant of the White House seems to be comfortable micromanaging the business of domestic manufacturers -- something we haven't seen since World War II.
It's an exciting but confusing time in this business. No one knows how it will all shake out in the next few years.
If you are in the auto industry, you have to figure out a way to get to Detroit this week. Of course, if you can't make it, you can read about it in the pages of Automotive News or at autonews.com -- and you can watch it all unfold on Automotive News TV.
Whatever you do, keep your eye on Detroit to get a glimpse of tomorrow.