New York is grey, wet and under a cloud. After yesterday’s slashing of the base interest rate, Wall Street stocks jumped, but this morning, as the Auto Show opens in the city, the screens have gone red again. 

President Bush is making rallying cries for the economy, but the whole of the city has one eye on the markets. As I was driven though the gridlocked streets this morning, the radio station was quoting the price of a barrel of oil as if updating the baseball results.

No surprise, then, that the NY show is quieter and more subdued than I’ve seen for the last few years.

The US economy seems to be teetering on the edge of a full-blown recession, so all the talk here of advances in lowering CO2 emissions and promises of future ‘clean diesel’ and hybrids is provisional.

If the US economy tips over, buying newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles will become a luxury. And shifting the metal will become the main concern of a beleaguered US car industry.