In terms of new model debuts, this week’s Paris motor show is probably the quietest since the global financial crisis erupted a decade ago.

The death of the motor show, you might think. Or perhaps car makers seeing the show-stopping all-new BMW 3 Series on the itinerary and giving up the fight for a share of the coverage there and then.

The reality is anything but. What the lack of new metal in Paris reflects instead is the havoc manufacturers have faced in trying to meet the deadline for new WLTP real-world fuel economy tests.

Car makers have had a tough enough time getting their existing models through the test, without any shiny new ones. The likes of the Renault Clio, surely a home run for Renault at its home motor show, and the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 were once set to be stars at Paris.

The WLTP tests have instead taken many popular cars off sale – sometimes for short periods, sometimes permanently – as manufacturers have struggled to get bloated ranges through the limited testing facilities available.

Talk of WLTP, and the yet more pressing issues of Brexit and trade wars between the US and China, will instead dominate the Paris show halls – each a far greater threat to the industry's status quo than even Dieselgate.

One thing, though. However tough times might be – with trade-war-triggered profit warnings from the likes of BMW and Brexit doomsday statements from pretty much every key automotive player in the UK - this is an industry that always endures, and from which great new cars emerge.

We’d bet you’ll have to look no further than the Geneva motor show in March 2019 for evidence, as WLTP delays ease to create a bumper crop of new models. 

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