Media days at this year's Detroit auto show had a lot less wattage than previous years. But that was to be expected.
There were fewer stands because some automakers stayed home. Some displays were a lot leaner. They weren't exactly pipe-and-curtain affairs but were nowhere near as elaborate as they have been in other years.
Understandably, General Motors and Chrysler cut way back because they didn't want to make it look as if they were frittering away their government loans on something as silly as trying to market and sell cars. It was almost sackcloth and ashes.
And there were wide open spaces in the middle of the floor where there used to be stands ... even though a couple of Chinese automakers, a local college and a supplier were able to move their displays from the basement to the main floor.
There also seemed to be a lot fewer journalists. Apparently, fewer overseas journalists got a free ride to the show on some automaker's tab.
I'm also told that the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, which puts on the show, tightened up the criteria for getting press credentials. So there were fewer analysts on the floor and fewer industrial spies masquerading as reporters.
I'm not complaining.
There were plenty of new products and concepts that will be important for the future of the industry and the nation. And focusing on the products is a good thing.
So, here are the top five reasons that the 2009 North American International Auto Show was the best one yet:
5. With more space and fewer people, it was easier to see the vehicles.
4. You could get from place to place faster.
3. Even with half a foot of snow on the ground, it makes the Detroit show seem like the leaner Los Angeles show.
2. No one ran over my foot with one of those stupid press kit bags with wheels.
1. No one complained that Cobo Center needs to be expanded.