We've already seen the North American International Auto Show, but despite the introduction of so many new models and prototypes in Detroit last month, a host of new models for the European market will be presented in Geneva this week.
The Geneva motor show seems to be the end of winter in Europe. European automakers have been saving their new products since the Frankfurt motor show last fall, so there will be lots to see from new and old players. Executives from all over Europe and other parts of the world will be there. The economic turmoil in Europe hasn't diminished, and many markets are trying to figure out whether they are out of a recession.
Costs aren't dropping in western Europe even though many manufacturers are using eastern European countries as a source of lower cost labor.
Like the United States, western Europe is trying to figure out how to make labor costs competitive with those of increasingly aggressive companies in Asia and particularly China. There are no answers yet. As European automakers struggle to make their costs competitive, those that export to North America also must worry about the weak dollar.
Unlike in the United States, the competitors in Europe are separated by single-digit differences in their market shares with no clear winner. Everyone is fighting to get the last order.
And as if there aren't enough challenges, there are always discussions about European Union issues that threaten to throw everything into a cocked hat.
Even so, Geneva will continue to be the beginning of spring with lots of new products, once again proving that product is king and nothing else is even a close second.
We have all survived another winter, and with Geneva comes another round of automotive launches, each one with a flourish and great expectations.
The challenges facing executives are formidable. There is no silver bullet, and there are no easy successes anymore because there are no bad cars. They all died along with their manufacturers.
Geneva is the beginning of the spring. In America, they call it the spring selling season, but not in Europe. It's just spring.
By this time next year, some careers will have ended, and others will have been born.
That's why the automobile business is always so interesting.