For the world's carmakers the show must go on, and at the Geneva Motor Show the emphasis is expected to be put on showcasing green technologies and the industry's longer term prospects while individual companies worry over their very survival.
As C02 legislation tightens and companies are granted massive sums to speed up research into greener vehicle technologies, the 79th Geneva Motor Show will host a plethora of electric and hybrid vehicle concept cars, housed for the first time in a dedicated "Green Pavilion".
"There will be a green focus. It will be a welcome diversion from the financial crisis," said analyst Rebecca Wright of financial and economic analysis and forecasting specialist Global Insight.
But makers of luxury brands will also be out in force when the annual show opens to the media on Tuesday, with the public following on Thursday, with new models ready for launch even as they seek to adjust to the new austerity.
"Manufacturers will try to put on a brave face and say that it's business as usual," said Nomura International analyst Michael Tyndall.
"Companies are cutting capex, which puts future programmes at risk. The cars we'll see at Geneva will have been developed over the last few very profitable years for the industry,"
Amongst the debuts will be the Mercedes E-Class Coupe while BMW has its Progressive Activity Sedan - a cross between a saloon, an estate car and an MPV - with which to turn heads.
Porsche will unveil its Cayenne Diesel and Aston Martin will show the DBS Volante, while Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti is due to have a big presence.
"If conspicuous consumption is out of style, I'm not sure carmakers will have had time to react," Tyndall said, noting that a dearth of credit is likely to prove a major problem for a sector that relies heavily on it.
There will be no shortage of smaller model launches either, with manufacturers seeking to capitalise on government schemes to promote less-polluting cars.
For France's Renault, the new Megane Coupe will be the star turn of the show, but it is also unveiling a new Clio, while Volkswagen will exhibit a new Polo.
Green concept cars
At the greener end of the spectrum, futuristic concept cars will dominate the show as the race to meet toughening emissions reduction targets gathers pace.
Geneva is the first major European show to take place since the EU tightened up the rules to call for an 18 percent drop in global-warming gases from new vehicles within the next six years.
The generous support packages already pledged by some governments will also ensure manufacturers are keen to push their green credentials.
"Government bail-out money is under the guise of creating more fuel-efficient cars - I think that's to make it more palatable to taxpayers. In that light carmakers will be keen to focus on fuel-efficiency," said Tyndall.
Comarth's 3-seater electric "city car" will be unveiled for its world premiere, while E'Mobile will display a lightweight urban concept vehicle developed by a Swiss university, as well as Protoscar's electric sport cabriolet.
And a consortium made up of the UN environment programme, the International Energy Agency, the International Transport Forum and the FIA Foundation will launch the "50 by 50" initiative aimed at making cars worldwide 50 percent more fuel-efficient by 2050.
But while visitors to the show stand considering the design lines of Saab's new 9-3X and the convertible version of the Fiat 500, the industry has to battle on with the unprecedented crisis that has already sparked production cuts, job losses and government bailouts, and looks set to lead to a major structural overhaul.
"It's a well-subscribed, and well-located show that is always popular," said Global Insight's Wright.
"But a lot of the glitz and glamour will be gone as it just wouldn't be appropriate."
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