The 2009 North American International Auto Show was a bit of a disaster. The very difficult and uncertain economic conditions resulted in several high-profile automakers dropping out of the exhibition. Among the absent automakers were Nissan, Infiniti, Mitsubishi and Porsche, and a quick jaunt around Cobo's main floor revealed the empty spaces left by those big-time players. The future of the Detroit Auto Show is already looking brighter, however, with the approval of a much-needed overhaul of Cobo Hall, and more good news is coming in the way of a full main floor.

Detroit show organizers aren't yet ready to tip their hand as to which automakers will be attending the show, but among those likely to return are Nissan and Infiniti, as Japan's number three automaker is just too big to stay out of the North American International Auto Show two years in a row. The Detroit Free Press reports that Porsche has been unhappy with the lack of major media coverage at the L.A. Auto Show, and the German automaker could turn to Detroit to get its media fix. Porsche could also find itself sharing space with its new parent, Volkswagen.

While Detroit looks bring back some automakers that were lost last year, North America's biggest auto show could also bring in some newcomers. Fiat's partnership/ownership of Chrysler could mean that Fiat and Alfa Romeo models wind up parked near the Chrysler booth. India's Mahindra group, which is looking to sell trucks and SUVs here in the States, could be another option, as could China's BYD. We're really looking forward to this year's NAIAS, and it will be nice to once again see a full main floor. Another Detroit January, on the other hand, is something we can do without.

[Source: The Detroit Free Press]