There was a distinctly threadbare feel to this year’s Mondial de Paris – more no-show than show.

The number of carmakers who baled out of the event was akin to the mass exodus from the Detroit show post Lehman.

Ford, Opel, Nissan, Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler, Volvo, Bentley, Rolls-Royce among others were conspicuous by their absence leading to the inevitable debate: are motor shows dead?

Not quite. Senior executives still believe the patient is still breathing although there is a question mark over where and when. European and US visitors possibly do not go to motor shows to buy cars anymore but at least brands can stay on their radar by being present. Emerging markets such as China (or has that now emerged?) and India, maybe Africa are a different story. Much will be new to car buyers in such places.

Detroit has taken the bull by the horns and moved from its show from the frozen depths of winter to the more sultry summer in a bid to boost attendance. In the UK, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is gathering pace as a showcase – an altogether more interactive event.

But, back to Paris, if the backdrop was threadbare, the embroidery was not that that outstanding. Frenchmakers, of course, tried their best with the launch of such models as the Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV and some interesting battery work on DS electrified models where the hardware has been placed below the floor with no loss to interior space and no increase in ride height. There were concepts such as Peogeot’s eLegend while Renault had some oddball takes on autonomous drive with the EZ Ultimo.

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Of the others, perhaps the new BMW 3-Series was possibly the most important unveil and Mercedes took the wraps off an updated B Class. There were plenty of updates and variants – the all new Kia Proceed shooting brake particularly notable.

Stars of the show? The appearance of footballer David Beckham on the Vinfast stand while Robert de Niro was announced as the face of Kia’s eNiro EV advertisement campaign. That just about sums it up.