At the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month, luxury was in the air.
Pricey new Bentleys and Maseratis glittered - including a Maserati 2014 Quattroporte with a $132000 price tag; US Cabinet Secretaries and dignitaries rubbed shoulders; and many of the well-heeled attendees ponied up for a $300-a-ticket black-tie charity ball.
But in a city that is slowly dying, the glitz didn't extend much beyond the Cobo Center exhibition hall.
General Motors Co and Chrysler, which along with Ford Motor Co gave the Motor City its identity, survived near-death experiences after filing for bankruptcy during the financial crisis.
Now, Detroit itself is edging closer to a similar precipice, only unlike the automakers, its chances of getting a federal bailout are almost nonexistent.
The story of Detroit's decline is decades old: Its tax revenue and population have shrunk and labor costs have remained out of whack.
But the city's budget problems have deepened to such an extent that it could run out of cash in a matter of weeks or months and ultimately be forced into what would be the largest-ever Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy filing in the United States.
Image: Audi shows off their R8 during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 15, 2013 in Detroit.
Text: Nick Carey, Bernie Woodall and Karen Pierog, Reuters