Why Day 1 of the show was just a bit odd

Hyundai's HCD-14 concept.
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DETROIT -- Day 1 of the Detroit auto show had its share of odd, confusing and sometimes cringe-worthy moments.

Sergio's tattoo: Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne has become a media favorite since his arrival in Detroit for his bluntness and colorful quotes. He ventured into TMI-territory Monday when questioned about production plans for various upcoming models. Marchionne responded, "I've got all my production start dates tattooed in private parts, and I can tell you it's getting crowded."

A Japanese mariachi: Toyota unveiled its Corolla Furia concept in a vivid orange hue, which Toyota Division General Manager Bill Fay said he calls "Fuego Furioso." Then a few bars of mariachi music played and Fay did a brief shimmy-shake on the stage before continuing with an otherwise serious presentation.

Hyundai's special delivery: Every year, at least one carmaker creates an overly elaborate setup video that falls flat. This time, it was Hyundai's turn. The video showed a female agent being assigned a mission of delivering an important package to Hyundai's chief designer, Chris Chapman, with the package being the HCD-14 concept.

The agent was seen on screen confirming that all of the vehicle's futuristic technology was operational, and then she appeared on stage after the car was unveiled. Then, when everyone wanted to hear more about the car, there was an awkward delay as the agent demanded that Chapman provide his signature, the date and his fingerprints before she would release it.

The UAW's "Lethal Weapon": Actor Danny Glover joined union members across the street from Cobo Center for a protest against Nissan. The UAW says Nissan is using fear to prevent workers at its plant in Mississippi from unionizing.

Lutz talks to a ghost: Bob Lutz, the former General Motors executive now working with electric vehicle maker Via Motors, conversed with a holographic version of inventor Thomas Edison about the future of battery-powered cars. Edison assured Lutz that despite slow sales initially, the dominance of electric vehicles is "inevitable." After stepping up to the podium, the 80-year-old Lutz quipped, "It's refreshing to finally work with someone older than I am."

You can reach Nick Bunkley at nbunkley@crain.com. -- Follow Nick on Twitter

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