On the Road to Recovery?

Columbus Boulevard Deadly Crash
JR Smith

Mosey on into the Silicon Valley International Auto Show this weekend and you won’t see much in the way of concept cars. In years past, automakers displayed their "what if" designs on turntable pedestals for the whole world to see.

But in 2010, times are tough. Money is tight. Pricey concepts got the ax.

We could only find one concept on the floor of the McEnery Convention Center: a revamp of the already-revamped Camaro. But we did find something this year that was in short supply last year: optimism.

Automakers are feeling much better about 2010 and without jinxing themselves, suggesting that perhaps the worst is behind them, economy willing.

GM’s CEO Ed Whitacre, Jr. came out this week with a prediction that his company will actually make money this year. That would be monumental for GM which hasn’t seen a profit in five years and just emerged from bankruptcy this past summer.

Ford surprised Wall Street this week with news that its sales surged more than 30 percent last month. They're counting on one new feature to help retain that growth: MyKey.

The automaker is starting to make its MyKey technology standard in many of its vehicles. MyKey lets parents regulate junior’s driving. The key you give to your teen can be programmed so he or she can’t go above 80 miles an hour.  It can govern the volume of the radio. And it will remind your young rebel that they must buckle up first. It’s like big mother watching over.

The Auto Show runs through Sunday at the McEnery Convention Center in downtown San Jose.

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