The São Paulo Motor Show, running until Sunday 20 November, is notable for its new, spacious, modern and fully air-conditioned exhibition hall and for a large number of launches, restyles, creativity and trend setting.

Exhibitors have made a real effort to raise the morale of low-spirited buyers weighed down by the political, economic and unemployment stress affecting the country. The subliminal message: the worst is over.

Among high volume players, the highlight is Hyundai‘s first compact SUV. The Creta – production has started at the automaker’s Piracicaba plant in the state of São Paulo ahead of sales from January 2017 – is surprisingly roomy due to being based on the compact-medium Elantra’s platform. The South Koreans revealed little of the mechanical details other than 1.6- and 2-litre engines, no prices yet.

The new Renault Captur (a refined product derived from the Dacia Duster and with no ties to the French Clio), Chevrolet Tracker (restyled) and Cruze hatchback were publicly shown for the first time.

There was also one of the rare world firsts for this biennial exhibition, the Brazil-designed Honda WR-V crossover on the Fit (Jazz) architecture. Wheelbase is 2.5cm longer than the Fit’s. Interior and other specification details will have to wait until next March.

The Kwid, the new, high roof compact from Renault, could be fully seen inside out, yet doors were locked. This arrives in the first half of 2017 powered by a one-litre, three-cylinder SCe engine making its Brazilian debut in December in the Logan and Sandero and these will also be offered with a 1.6-litre, 16-valve four, both flexible-fuel engines.

The new mid-size Nissan Frontier pickup will come first from Mexico next March redesigned from the ground up, engine included.

A surprise was Hyundai’s Creta STC concept pick-up, jointly designed in South Korea and Brazil and similarly sized to the local double-cab Fiat Strada and VW Saveiro. Production is believed to be certain but the factory did not comment on that.

Volkswagen showed a concept convertible, the T-Cross Breeze, with a shape to be adopted for its first compact crossover. It will be the second product after the new Gol in 2018, using similar-architecture as the new German Polo due to debut in Europe next year. Saveiro and Voyage will follow.

The design studios of the various makes based in Brazil drew attention. VW itself with a modern re-do of the 1980’s Gol GT, Citroën’s C3 City Ryder, Peugeot‘s 208 Pyrit, Nissan’s March Midnight, Renault’s Duster Extreme and Troller T4Xtreme, plus others.

KIA did not display the long-awaited Rio, production is commencing now in Mexico, preferring to shine the spotlight on the Cerato.

BMW flew its X2 from the Paris Salon to São Paulo Expo’s 90,000 square metre hall. As a concept, the crossover impressed the Brazilian public as well. It will become BMW’s seventh model assembled in Brazil in 2018.

Brazilian brand D2D presented the Jugo buggy and smartly-designed Sky convertible powered by a Chinese Chery engine.

Show organisers expects 750,000 visitors to the 29th São Paulo show.