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Detroit, Michigan<br />
USA<br />
January 15, 2010<br />
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The Charity preview evening at the North American International Auto Show at the Cob center in Detroit. <br />
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The gala is the biggest party of the year in a town that lives and dies by the auto industry. The event saw men in tuxes and women in gowns that were eye-catching. In all between 7,000 to 8,000 attended the event.<br />
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The Charity Preview benefits 12 local children's charities and has raised more than $79 million since its inception in 1976. The 2009 event raised $2.6 million.<br />
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Following a disastrous year that saw GM and Chrysler LLC forced into government-led bankruptcy. U.S. auto sales plunged to 39 percent below a peak in 2005 during the recent ill-founded economic boom. The big, unanswered question here, however, is what the U.S. economy will do following its longest, deepest downturn since the 1930s.<br />
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Chrysler's exhibit on the convention floor was  dramatically scaled back from previous years. Chrysler's appearance, on the other hand, was more of a car wreck, critics said during press previews.