Models are back in Detroit

Amy Wilson is retail reporter for Automotive News
Models are back in Detroit, and I'm not talking sheet metal.

Outside of the booths of exotic brands such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, the presence of willowy female models had become scarce at the Detroit show in recent years.

This year, the exotics are missing from Cobo, having moved to a display at the nearby MGM Grand casino. But the leggy ladies are still here, this year populating the stands of more mainstream brands such as Chrysler, Audi and Mercedes.

To be sure, Detroit still doesn't live up to the wilder reputation of some of the international shows - and that's OK.

At my first auto show in Paris in 2000, I was caught by surprise by the sometimes outrageous antics. I approached the Delphi booth, heard the Ricky Martin music and wondered what the heck was going on. Oh, just a troupe of dancers in the shortest hot pants I'd ever seen jiggling to "Livin' La Vida Loca."

What did that have to do with auto parts? Nearly 10 years later, I still can't make the connection. But every half hour, as the music started, the Delphi stand was packed with male show-goers. Maybe some really did stick around to talk shop.