Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. pulled out of the Detroit auto show late last year. But southeast Michigan dealer Doug Fox wouldn't let the automaker go dark in Detroit.
Fox and his fellow local dealers ponied up to operate a Mitsubishi show display themselves, albeit with less glitz than usual.
"It's too important not to be here," Fox said via cell phone from the hall before the show started. "People pay attention to the Detroit show. We've worked hard to create a market here, and we just weren't prepared to sit this out."
Fox has spent about 10 hours a week away from his dealership in Ann Arbor, Mich., to work among the carpenters, electricians, carpet-layers and assembly workers at Detroit's Cobo Center, the show's venue.
Fox and the other dealers will erect a display far less glamorous than the multimillion-dollar exhibits that are typical of major global auto shows.
The local dealerships will provide their own vehicles for the display. Each of the five Detroit area stores will provide two people to work at the display during the show, which is open to the public Jan. 17-25.
Mitsubishi was not alone: Ferrari, Land Rover, Nissan, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and Suzuki also withdrew from the Detroit show, and Honda said it would have a diminished presence there.
Fox appealed for similar help from Nissan in a bid to keep that brand in the Detroit show. But Nissan declined to participate.