Folks from other parts of the globe probably think its a flaw in the American character that we look for winners and losers in most aspects of life. We do it because were competitive.
But in assessing winners at an auto show, theres a lot to consider.
For example, at the Tokyo auto show, Toyota starts with a big competitive advantage. Its the largest producer in Japan and has the biggest footprint at the show, especially when you include keiretsu members, such as Denso, which has floor space across the aisle from Toyota.
Toyotas leadership presence in Tokyo included a concurrent global marketing communications conference for its executives. Toyota also brings scores of overseas journalists to Japan to see the show during media preview days and learn more about the company.
And for several years, the automaker has had an evening reception for other foreign journalists that includes face time with Toyotas top honchos, such as President Katsuaki Watanabe.
Clearly, Toyota is the industry leader in Japan.
But if you measure buzz, then Nissan came out ahead this year.
Forget all the mandatory corporate boilerplate about electric vehicles and hybrids and such. The 2009 Nissan GT-R was the most anticipated and most ogled hardware during media days, at least by Japanese journalists.
Some reporters were so enthralled by the car that they reserved themselves seats at the press conference five hours before it started; and this after Nissan had revealed the car to a select group of automotive reporters two nights earlier.
Thats not to say there werent other good-looking cars. But when auto writers treat a car like a rock star, it ought to win something.