Auto shows kill for influence. Every one of them wants the best previews, the most important debuts.
Los Angeles used to have its show just days before Detroit. No chance - no one wanted to go to an auto show over New Year's.
LA moved to mid-November last year, to position itself ahead of Detroit, to steal some thunder.
So when Porsche chose to exhibit in Los Angeles last fall and give Detroit a pass this year, some wondered - if this the thin edge of the wedge? Is Detroit losing its lustre?
The official reason given by Porsche is that Detroit isn't their market, so why be here?
The real reason? Mark Phelan, an extremely well-connected Detroit-area auto journalist, told me that people he knows and trusts told him that Porsche was upset by the lack of media coverage afforded the face-lifted Cayenne at last year's Detroit show, and blamed the show organizers.
Yes, but the face-lifted Cayenne wasn't that big a story in the first place. And, they held the press conference in a meeting room downstairs from the main show venue, instead of on their stand like most carmakers do. The media are too busy (no no, not too lazy) at a show like this to wander off to a remote location for a story they know isn't that critical.
Phelan also notes that while Detroit may be organized by the Detroit Area Dealers' Association, it is a media-driven show. People he knows who measure media coverage from auto shows around the world say that the twelfth most-important story at Detroit gets more media coverage, locally, nationally and internationally, than the number one story out of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles may be where the car buyers are, especially high-end car buyers.
But for all its faults, Detroit is still Motor City.
So while LA may be a rising star, the Detroit auto show is still the super-nova.