Fear-mongering reached new heights in the automotive world on the eve of the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, with naysayers predicting more somber processions and hushed voices than the average state funeral. And while the show did prove somewhat subdued, it was far from dead. Now plans for renovations at Cobo Center are sparking new hope for next year's show.

The Michigan state legislature enacted a plan late last week to let the city of Detroit regain control of the aging Cobo Center and to use hotel and liquor taxes to fix its main problems - notably a lack of space and a leaky roof. With a $299 million cap on the cost of the expansion, there's still room for a lot of improvement.

And that has excitement rising over the potential return of carmakers absent this year, reports the Detroit News. Electric vehicles will be bigger than ever, with an expanded track in the Michigan Hall basement facility.

Brands like Fisker, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Land Rover and some of the other manufacturers that skipped the 2009 show will find a planned doubling of an American Express-sponsored private event an enticing proposition, especially since this year's event of just 200 people saw the sale of two Maybachs, a Lamborghini and a Fisker.

The whole mix of upgrades and expanded and returning exhibitors means there should be more cars on show in 2010, and more cars means more visitors, which means more revenue and more interest from the car manufacturers.

Union concessions on wages and worker requirements are also helping to lower the cost of putting on the big show, but it will really be the return of key exhibitors like Ferrari and Rolls Royce that make or break the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.