On Monday at 1pm UK time the 2012 Detroit motor show will begin. For me, it’s a hugely exciting event in hugely evocative surroundings; so much so, that I’d go so far as to say it’s my favourite motor show of the year.

Why? Well, for starters, its January date signals the start of another non-stop year of new car launches and industry buzz. It may only be a couple of months since the Tokyo motor show, but a new calendar year always makes Detroit feel that bit more significant.

It’s also a show where you can genuinely judge the mood of the industry and individual car makers. Sure, just like all shows there will be local bias, but there’s something about the Detroit show – big enough to attract most car makers, not so big that all the launches blur in to one – that gives you time to pick up on nuances in the show halls.

Frankfurt, Geneva and Paris tend to be chiefly about the new metal; Detroit has launches with a wow factor, but also runs at a pace you can genuinely keep up with, allowing you time to take in what you see, talk to the industry heads and really cultivate opinion.

This year I expect a show of overt vibrancy, mixed with shadows of caution from an industry seemingly doing well but which knows it stands, with much of the world, in a precarious place. There’s upwards of 40 launches of note, with three sticking out in my mind. That should certainly be enough to keep the Cobo Halls buzzing for two days.