For many auto enthusiasts, the 2009 North American International Auto Show was the official beginning of the US economic downturn. Nissan, Infiniti, Mitsubishi and Porsche didn't even bother to show up for the once-prestigious event and Honda chose not to unveil any new product. A couple months back, the NAIAS organizers gave us some hope for the 2010 extravaganza when they said that the show would be better attended this time around. Well it appears that the show will at least be marginally better.

NAIAS co-chair Doug Fox has reportedly told the Detroit Free Press that at least 54 automakers will take part in the show this year, up four from 2009. Fox also estimates that a couple more automakers may decide to join in on the fun, but nothing is official at this time. Also exciting is news that both Porsche and Nissan will participate in this year's show, though the extent of their presence isn't very clear. We do know that Nissan will, at the very least, participate in the Detroit show's 37,000-square-foot Electric Avenue exhibit, which features electric vehicles from 26 automakers. So far Porsche will only participate in a special event called "The Gallery," which will be held for holders of the American Express Centurion card. The invitation-only event will be held at the MGM Grand on January 10.

While it's nice to see that Porsche and Nissan are going to be active at NAIAS 2010, we're a bit disappointed at the level of participation. At least the show will top the down year that was NAIAS 2009, but it looks like we may still be a ways away from the grandeur of shows gone by.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]