A slew of significant new models from a variety of automakers have fallen behind schedule, or so it appears.
At least a dozen vehicles expected to go on sale later this year in the United States have yet to make their formal world debut at an auto show, which is unusual.
Historically, automakers use the Detroit show in January, the Chicago show in February or the Geneva show in March to introduce most vehicles planned to go on sale that year. It gives the media several months to write stories about the new products and create buzz.
What's going on this year? In some cases, the launches may simply be delayed.
"The economic situation of the last two years has slowed things down in the 2010 and 2011 model years," said John Wolkonowicz, senior auto analyst at IHS Global Insight. "Some programs got delayed."
But holding off on a splashy world debut at an auto show gives an automaker a few more months to sell the current vehicle before potential buyers are distracted by the "new" model.
Missing from action so far are the Ford Explorer, Infiniti QX56, Volkswagen Jetta, Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Charger, Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Scion tC. In every case, the carmaker has announced plans to launch the vehicle sometime before the end of 2010.
Meanwhile, industry analysts are fairly certain that the Honda Civic, Lexus GS, Scion iQ and Toyota Tacoma will arrive in showrooms this year.
But none of the 12 have turned up at an auto show yet.
What does it mean? Some regional auto shows later in the year may see important debuts, or carmakers could be planning to skip big-deal auto show unveilings altogether -- another sign of the times in a changing industry.