The Geneva motor show has a lot going for it. It's Europe's main automotive show in the first part of the year and, unlike other events, it is held in early March. People like to imagine that it foretells the coming of spring.
Another thing that makes it unique is that Geneva is, indeed, a neutral site. No single manufacturer or nation dominates. Everyone is allowed equal presentation, and that makes for an exciting show.
But there were a lot of questions at this year's show, which continues this week, and not many answers.
It's not often that war and peace play a part in the interests of global automobile companies. But during press days last week, there was a lot of discussion about the possible impact of war with Iraq. Even among the French and the Germans, it was obvious that the car companies did not always agree with their governments.
And if you wanted insight into the possible impact of a war on the automotive economy in Europe or North America, you could get as many opinions as the number of people that you asked. Of course, no one knows what will happen, but everyone has an opinion.
Meanwhile, there were a lot of vehicle introductions at the show. It seemed that there were more than usual. Lots of new product creates lots of discussion. There was plenty to talk about during the press days.
Block exemption, for example, is now part of the everyday vocabulary of the European automobile industry.
No one is quite sure yet of the ultimate impact of last year's rule change that allowed automakers to choose sales districts for dealers, restrict multibrand showrooms and supply most of the replacement parts sold through dealerships.
But the changes are making life more difficult for everyone, and they are bound to have a huge effect on the aftermarket as well as on new-car sales.
Whatever was going on last week in Geneva, it certainly wasn't business as usual.
There are plenty of issues - economic and political - and those issues are going to be around for quite a while.
But in spite of all the talk about politics and the economy, the cars were still the stars at Geneva. And as long as that continues to be the case, the motor industry's bright future will be assured, even though the industry takes its lumps from time to time.