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Good Show, Detroit

After last year's Detroit Auto Show, this year's annual auto salon could only be an improvement. Recall that last year, Detroit's carmakers were begging for government assistance. Every carmaker was watching sales crater. Even Toyota (TM) was watching sales fall. It was a decidedly maudlin affair. With carmakers going into a year of austerity, car lovers were left begging for the usual array of new eye candy.

This year is a bit of a different story. Sure, the car market is at a low-water mark, but sales are ticking up, and there seems to be a sense that things have bottomed out. The carmakers are now looking for some buzz. They have some hot new models, some good concepts, and of course a few bombs.

The theme continues to be green, clean, and at a minimum more efficient. Ford (F) showed off its new Focus, which is really the company's world car. General Motors had a handful of new models ranging in size from the new Chevrolet Aveo subcompact to the Cadillac XTS concept, which will eventually replace the DTS as its biggest sedan.

For green machines, hybrid king Toyota showed off the FT-CH hybrid concept, a fastback, four-door coupe that's far more interesting visually than the Prius. Honda (HMC) is going to take another swing at the Prius (the Insight has been a flop) with the CR-Z hybrid. And let's not forget Tesla Motors' Model S sedan, the prototype for an all-electric looker that will take aim at the luxury sedan market with serious green credentials in 2012. Volkswagen had a hybrid version of its New Compact Coupe concept car. For the rest, check out Bloomberg BusinessWeek staff writer David Welch's picks and pans from the show.

Click here to the best and worst of the 2010 Detroit auto show.

Welch is a reporter for Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek in Detroit.

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