Paris motor show: fast and fun

  • What credit crunch?
  • Show a success
  • But hard times ahead
As the world's economic markets set off on another rollercoaster ride, the Paris motor show opened to launch the industry's latest designs.

With car sales falling and stories of factory cut backs appearing daily, you would have thought this would be a show dominated by doom and gloom.

In truth, it was anything but.

Whether that's down to blinkered optimism, the fact that the cars on show were commissioned long before the words 'credit' and 'crunch' became fashionable or just downright ignorance wasn't clear – but there was an enjoyable buzz about Paris.

Certainly the products on show didn't reflect hard times: an event with all-new Ferrari and Lamborghini launches will always be a bit special.

Reassuringly, though, some of the best-looking cars were at the more affordable end of the scale. Upholding home honour, the Renault Laguna Coupe looked far more expensive than it is, having more than a hint of Aston Martin about it, while the Citroen C3 Picasso is a masterpiece of packaging.

For all their freshness of design, though, there is an increasing staleness about some of the green brands that manufacturers are pulling out of the hat.

Now, these are so transparently marketing initiatives rather than green initiatives aimed at saving the planet that it jars – some manufacturers have been slow off the mark and are now taking the public for idiots.

That's much is brought sharply in to focus when you consider that some are shouting about 5% CO2 savings at the same show as the striking Honda Insight and potentially revolutionary Chevrolet Volt were being displayed.

Ultimately, that's an aside though. The show halls were awash with new cars and everyone was busy turning a blind eye to what lies around the corner. For car enthusiasts that's a good thing – even if this may be the last time for some time that the motor industry can indulge itself, as cut backs seem inevitable.

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