Update 10/12/08 - We have been contacted by the agent for Alfa Romeo in Australia and the marque will NOT be in attendance at the 2009 Melbourne Motor Show.
After a lacklustre turnout by manufacturers at the 2008 Sydney Motor Show and the announcement that next year's Brisbane and Adelaide motor shows have been cancelled, Aussie car fans could be forgiven for thinking that the world's automakers have all but abandoned this great sunburnt land of ours.
But fear not, my fellow countrymen, for the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce has announced that the 2009 Melbourne Motor Show will feature packed halls and manufacturers galore - many of whom haven't graced an Australian motor show for quite some time.
The VACC has confirmed that Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Bentley, Peugeot, Porsche, Lamborghini, Lotus and Renault will be setting up shop at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre on February 27. Motor show regulars Ford, Holden, Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Volkswagen will be there too, as will contingents from Hyundai, Kia, Isuzu and Suzuki.
The renewed interest by the European manufacturers signals a big vote of confidence in the Melbourne event and it's comforting to know that the world's most prestigious automakers don't really view Australia as some kind of automotive backwater - an impression felt by many at the Sydney show. While it's unclear whether the strong showing at Melbourne will spell the end for Sydney's own motor expo, Melbourne's superior facilities and greater floor space certainly makes it a far more attractive venue for automakers.
Motor Show director Russ Tyrie was also optimistic about the strong return of manufacturers to Melbourne:
"Exhibitor interest proves that many major marques are taking a positive view of our automotive future, despite the tough times of recent months," he said.
"We still have a few potential exhibitors to be confirmed, but those already booked in will ensure a first-rate show for dedicated car enthusiasts and prospective car buyers alike."