The 101st Chicago Auto Show is taking place under a cloud of uncertainty that is hanging over the auto industry. Not only is there a major global economic downturn, but with peak oil having either already occurred or about to, the future of the IC engine is uncertain. The cash strapped auto manufacturers find themselves without the wherewithal to fund the research for alternatives. These are difficult times. In addition to that, governmental pressures are pushing manufacturers in directions the markets may not be leading. This isn't a good time to be an automaker. It certainly isn't a good time to be an automaker looking for a bailout. So as the Chicago Auto Show takes place, who is in the best shape (relatively speaking) and which manufacturers are in the ICU? Even though Toyota has lost money recently, they still have cash reserves and a product lineup as complete as any manufacturer. In addition they are ahead of the curve on hybrid technology which is the bridge to the future of personal transportation. Honda is a survivor and Audi/Porsche/Volkswagen are in relatively good shape, as is Hyundai/Kia. BMW remains a stand-alone company in part because of excellent well-positioned product and also because the Quandts maintain their ownership; if they feel pinched financially would Porsche pick BMW up? Daimler, with a new Mercedes E class and the Smart brand, appears to be hanging on. Distressed, but possibly not down and out, is Ford, having sold a chunk of Mazda and dangling a 'for sale' sign on Volvo; they may pull through. And Nissan has announced another round of job cuts just yesterday. General Motors is weak; they have decent product, but are really squeezed finacially and Bob Lutz is retiring. Chrysler is close to receiving last rights, with nothing but the Jeep brand worth much to any outsider. Just recently, Jim Press called for Chrysler dealers to order more cars, in order to keep the company afloat until the next round of bailout cash can been be doled out. The Fiat deal may be of some interest, but the last time Fiat sold cars in the US market was a generation ago, and it certainly didn't leave this market on a high note. Looming large in any discussion of the auto industry, and potentially capable of sucking up any who falter, are India's Tata and the amorphous visage of a nascent Chinese industry. This makes Chicago, the show where more production premiers occur, a place of uncertainty this year. ------ I have an opportunity to cover the Chicago Auto Show media days this year and thought it might be nice to share what I discover with fellow BMW enthusiasts. I'll update this thread in the next couple of days and try to cover the types of cars that this group would enjoy. If I hear any scuttlebutt or see odds & ends that appear interesting, I'll include those as well. Thanks for letting me post. I hope you enjoy it.