I arrived in downtown Detroit yesterday afternoon to be met by ultra-clear blue skies and sub zero temperatures.

Our hotel is just a few minutes walk from the Cobo exhibition centre, so I wandered down the street in order to pick up my press pass early.

Even that short walk in the bright sunshine told you most of what you need to know about this extraordinary city. The wide, boulevard, roads are very lightly trafficked and there are plenty of clear patches of ground that bear witness to demolished buildings.

There was a genuinely eerie sense, on this Sunday at least, of a city that’s been stripped of its people. If you want a sense of just how grateful people are that the automotive circus still comes to Detroit in the freezing New Year, when our Delta flight landed, the captain thanked the media onboard for attending the show.

Opposite the Cobo hall is a venue called the Fire Station, which was being prepared for the incoming media hoards by a handful of workmen. Watching them tidying the place up and putting out the hoardings gave the strong flavour of slumbering, icy, streets only being jumped out of hibernation for a couple of days.