New-car launches usually take center stage at the Detroit auto show, but this year much of the attention will be focused on the signals carmakers give about their prospects for 2009.
In the weeks leading up to the annual event, the so-called Detroit 3 -- General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler -- were involved in a battle for their survival.
Some automakers such as Nissan, Land Rover and Rolls-Royce pulled out of the show, while others downsized their participation.
Despite the gloomy market conditions and reduced marketing budgets, most big players including the European carmakers Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, still want to be there.
Detroit is, after all, the most important show of the year for the worlds biggest car market.
Among the key launches in Detroit will be the third-generation Toyota Prius gasoline-electric hybrid and Hondas second-generation Insight hybrid.
Audi will unveil a concept previewing the A7 four-door coupe, the latest model in a product offensive that aims to boost the brands sales to 1.5 million by 2015, up from more than a million expected in 2008.
BMW will show the new Z4 two-seat premium roadster while BMWs Mini brand will show a convertible version of its hot-selling second-generation entry-premium car.
Volkswagen will unwrap a concept for a mid-engine roadster that could become an image booster for the German carmaker, which is building a new plant in the US.