DETROIT (TheStreet) -- At the Detroit Auto Show, which opened Monday, the auto industry is showing the new cars that it hopes will help to pull it out of an automotive depression.

Clearly, the outlook is brighter than it was a year ago, when the show was a bare-bones affair that led off what turned out to be the worst year for U.S. vehicle sales since 1982. Now, General Motors and Chrysler have emerged from bankruptcy as far stronger companies than they were a year ago, when they were awaiting bankruptcy. And Ford (F) has benefitted dramatically from avoiding bankruptcy.

Fuel efficiency is the byword here, and Cobo Center is filled with all manner of gasoline-saving hybrids, electric cars and battery-powered vehicles.

On Monday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was in attendance, fittingly, since the federal government is the primary owner of GM and Chrysler. She called the show "historic" and said: "If we're going to be a strong economy, we have to stop the erosion of the base."

Here are some of the cars drawing attention:

The Chevrolet Cruze will get 40 miles per gallon. GM says it has more interior space than the Honda Civic. Already on sale in Asia and Europe, it will be also be built in Ohio.

Toyota FT-CH Concept -- If manufactured, this plug-in hybrid, aimed at younger buyers, will be cheaper than the Prius, which starts at $22,000.

GMC Granite Concept -- This is a smaller SUV concept car that would be smaller than a Scion XB and hipper. A GM exec called it "the automotive equivalent of an urban loft apartment."

2011 Toyota Sienna Auto Access Seat -- Toyota will offer a factory-installed, rotating, power ascending/descending lift-up seat, designed for anyone who needs help getting in or out.

Ford Focus is the symbol of the new Ford, with both fuel efficiency and manufacturing efficiency, built the same way in three continents. It will be available in 2011.

Ford Taurus -- The winner of the Edmunds.com Technology Breakthrough Award even has heated and cooled massaging seats and blind-spot and pre-collision warning systems

Ford Fusion Hybrid, voted North American car of the year by 49 journalists, is a midsized sedan that can get 41 mpg.

Ford's Transit Connect, voted North American truck of the year by 49 journalists, is basic, boxy and starts at $21,475.

Honda 2011 CRZ two-seater hybrid is smaller but sportier than the Honda Insight, which has been available for about a year. It will go on sale this summer.

The Cadillac 2011 CTS-V Coupe Tuesday has a 556-horsepower supercharged V-8 engine, as well as magnetic ride control and racing brakes. Production is slated to begin this summer.

The Cadillac XTS Platinum has top-of-the-line luxuries and a variety of technological features, including a plug-in hybrid power train. The new Cadillac concept car was unveiled Tuesday.

The Tesla Model S sedan is scheduled to be available to the public by 2012. An electric vehicle, it will have a range of up to 300 miles per charge. Tesla will announce a production site this spring. It was shown Tuesday at the Detroit Auto Show.

Lincoln MKX -- The 2011 version of the mid-size crossover will have a new 3.7-liter, V-6 engine, and its horsepower has been increased 15% to 305. It will also be the first vehicle to get the MyLincoln Touch communications and entertainment system, with upgrades of the controls and the driver's ability to personalize information.

Fiat 500 -- Chrysler will begin selling the tiny vehicle in the U.S. late this year or in 2011, with a goal of selling 100,000 a year. Even smaller than the Mini, the Fiat 500 will be built in Mexico, as Chrysler awaits development of a new line of cars to sell under its own name.

Subaru Hybrid Tourer concept -- The company's first hybrid is expected in 2012. Subaru has been short on details and has not said which production model will be upgraded, but the concept vehicle has all-wheel drive with an electric motor powered by lithium batteries.

2010 Camaro Synergy -- Chevrolet introduced its brightly colored Camaro Synergy Special Edition on Thursday. "Synergy Green continues a long tradition of dramatic Camaro colors," said Camaro historian Scott Settlemire. Synergy will be produced in limited quantities from February to May: Prices start at $26,790.

Chevrolet Volt -- The extended-range electric car will have a battery with a 40-mile range. For longer trips, it will have a gas-powered generator that provides electrical power. It is expected to go on sale in 2011. GM says it would cost about $1 to produce the electricity to drive 40 miles.

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