Brake still on spending but striking array of new cars sees optimism in overdrive
You can't beat optimism. And we need more of it. We should follow the example of the carmakers. They are putting on a show in Paris at the moment that heralds the future -- against a backdrop of three million sales being lost over the past five years.
At least that is the estimate of Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne.
And it raises a serious question for Europe's carmakers on how they are going to get people back buying when they either don't have the money or the confidence to spend it.
Cars are costly and lose value quickly, so you need real broad economic activity to generate sales.
Nonetheless the motor business put on a brave face and rolled out new car after new car at the show.
As you can see from the accompanying list they are giving it a real go.
From our point of view there are some really big newcomers that will be on our forecourts, chasing our money in the relatively near future.
We have featured all of them here over the past few weeks in some shape or form.
They include Ford's new Mondeo, which will, among others, have the famous 1-litre EcoBoost petrol engine.
Also coming is a heavily revised Fiesta.
Mazda are setting much store on their new Mazda6 family/fleet saloon.
This, of course, will be a major rival for the Mondeo when it gets here in February.
The saloon has more cabin room thanks to an extended wheelbase.
Its core engine will be the 2.2 litre turbo diesel engine, which they claim is far more fuel efficient.
The seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf is certain, if anything is certain in these times, to have its loyal following when it arrives early next year. (A GTi version was also shown).
Combining a lighter body (100kgs) with a more fuel efficient 1.6 litre TDi BlueMotion diesel, it manages to get down to 85g/km emission levels. That is a seriously low benchmark.
Jaguar had some of their thunder stolen with their new F-Type, the modern successor to the iconic E-type, after pictures were leaked well in advance of the show. Nonetheless it was a huge hit and will be a serious arrival here next year.
BMW is planning on developing 10 to 12 compact models based on its new front-wheel-drive platform.
Known as UKL, the Concept Active Tourer was displayed at the show. With a high seating position, it hints at a crossover based on a future 1-series.
The UKL platform will be the base for future BMW and Mini vehicles, with the first likely being the next-generation Mini Cooper (2014).
And BMW's front-wheel drive cars could be on the go around the same time.
On a positive note, BMW is reported to believe the premium small car market will become a real fast grower.
But for now, it is very much a matter of the old reliables. Such as Toyota's new Auris, which gets here in November.
Again it is much lighter, a bit longer and lower and wider. So there is more space all round. The Tourer estate version is due in June. And a hybrid Yaris is scheduled for early next year.
Kia's new 1.7-litre (136bhp) Carens seven-seater will make a welcome alternative for families and its new pro_cee'd made a big impression.
The new Range Rover also attracted a lot of attention.
As did BMW's i8 plug-in hybrid. This was updated for reprise in Paris. BMW call it the company's "new-generation sports car". It is due in 2014.
All four wheels on the BMW are driven -- the front ones by an electric motor, the rear two by a three-cylinder petrol engine.