A smaller but surprisingly less depressing North American Auto Show features a shaken industry seeking a fresh start

The GMC Granite Concept:  Seth Fletcher
The 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit was quieter, smaller and shorter than in years' past. But it was not, however, depressing, and considering the smoldering wreckage that is the automotive industry, that’s quite an accomplishment.

At last year’s show, it was far from certain that Detroit’s Big Three would still exist in early 2010; they’re still with us. Ford and GM are building impressive new cars. Chrysler, which essentially had nothing but repainted versions of existing models on display, is another story. And this year it became obvious that the growing call to electrification won’t fade away anytime soon; nearly every automaker has now announced plans (some credible, some less so) for the launch of hybrid or pure-electric vehicles in the coming years. Altogether, the show gave the impression of a shaken industry thrilled for the chance at a fresh start.

See the gallery for a look at the highlights