"Some car manufacturers clearly didn't get the memo," said Andrew Clark in Britain's The Guardian. With America's Big Three automakers on life support, this year's Detroit auto show was supposed to be a "glitz-free, austere" affair, yet Mercedes, Bentley, and other luxury brands flew the flag with lobster risotto and skinny fashion models as if nothing had changed.

Pay attention to what really counts, said Shawn Langlois in MarketWatch. Hybrids, like the new Prius, and electric cars, including the Chevy Volt, are the ones generating buzz at this year's North American International Auto Show. When General Motors remains committed to delivering the game-changing Volt by 2010—even as it struggles to survive—it's clear that Detroit is steering toward a new, "electric future."

So maybe it's Washington that didn't get the memo, said The Detroit News in an editorial. Replacing a significant percentage of America's fleet with plug-in cars and trucks will put a tremendous strain on power plants and the electricity grid. Yet even as Detroit works "at lightning speed" on battery technology to make the switch possible, "the nation remains clueless about where the electricity will come from."