Last year's North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), or Detroit Auto Show as it's more commonly known, was something of a somber affair, faced as it was by the bleak prospects of the industry in late 2008 and early 2009. That sense of foreboding--accurate as it was--also hamstrung the show, causing many manufacturers and exhibitors to pull their displays. Things may be different this year.
Things are looking better, even if they're not completely healed, with 55 exhibitors signed up already exceeding the 50 that showed last year. The slight resurgence in exhibitions could be an indication that the Detroit show isn't as dead as some of the more pessimistic pundits had it last year, and that it will continue to have relevance to the industry for at least the near future.
Not that the NAIAS show nor the industry thinks that the tought times are over. "No one is naïve enough to think the industry does not have challenges moving forward," said Doug Fox, chairman of the 2010 NAIAS. He went on to say, "Certainly we are encouraged by the growth but, in the larger picture, these companies year after year validate the view that if one is going to showcase product and plans, Detroit is a major draw and a necessary stop on the international circuit."
So far, manufacturers confirmed for the 2010 NAIAS show floor include Acura, Audi, BMW, Bentley, Jaguar, Tesla, Subaru, all GM, Chrysler and Ford brands, Maserati, Toyota's full stable, and returning to the show this year is Nissan, though they're over in an area of the floor among the Chinese carmakers and X Prize contestants along with Mitsubishi.
The 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show is just over, but already we're gearing up for our coverage of the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, so as always, stay tuned for the latest from our people on the show floor and the unveilings from the manufacturers as soon as they happen.