Paris Auto Show: Revved Engines Over Reason

| About: Ford Motor (F)

There will be shiny metal and big promises about sustainability, not to mention supercars that can go to the moon and back on one tank of gas, while giving you a massage from the neck rest.

The Paris Auto Show, which runs from September 29 to October 14, is the first major auto show after the summer break.

Have fun with it. But also beware. And be aware. Hope - and hype - will abound. Wrote CNBC in a headline this morning:

"Struggling European Carmakers Hope for Paris Motor Show Boost."

Take heed: they don't deserve that hoped for boost. Don't buy an auto stock off Paris Auto Show afterglow.

Auto shows - especially Paris, the plum assignment for Wall Street analysts and journalists - breed excitement, but it's too often over cars that will never come to market. That snazzy roadster will never make a difference to the bottom line. Moreover, this year the destructive force of the European economy should not be lost (though it likely will) in the heady reports of existing cars with, uh, meaningful redesigns, like that perfectly shaped new cup holder.

Even though auto company stocks have not been strong, to say the least, the downside is considerable. Ford (NYSE:F), for example, which is expected to unveil the midsized Mondeo, was down .77% yesterday and is down more than 3% for the year, but out of the roughly dozen analysts who cover the stock, none rate it a sell.

That spells additional downside, so don't get caught up in the style-over substance excitement and buy, especially with Toyota (NYSE:TM) and Honda (NYSE:HMC) clawing their way back from a year-long tsunami-induced slumber.

Be careful of General Motors (NYSE:GM) too. They are expected to make a splashy debut of the Opel Adam, but don't let it goad you into buying the stock. With apologies to the Opel and Paris, GM is probably better off - according to Morgan Stanley and other sensible souls - shedding Opel altogether.

Forebearance is hard, though, as the media all but serves as the publicity arm of the auto companies. Don't be tempted, though even the normally staid Washington Post has, in the prelude to the show, already turned breathless with coverage plans. They are wound up, which can lull any trader (let alone an amateur) into action:

"To help you get up-to-date on all the coverage so far," they informed readers, "we've assembled this guide of the show - just as we're planning ahead for our own marathon of first-night reveals, 15-minute press conferences, and the wrap-up yet to come.

Your shortcut to it all? Bookmark our dedicated show page, stick with us as we tweet from @therealma, watch our latest videos on YouTube, and drop in every now and then at our Facebook page and on Instagram at `MotorAuthority.'"

You got all that down? Good, enjoy keeping track of the new cars. Just avoid the stocks.

Over the coming two weeks, amid all the jazzy cars that will (and won't) ever come to market, never forget the real determining factors:

Systemic European zone debt troubles, high fuel prices and a stronger Euro are all conspiring against car sales. Numbers look RIM-esque (RIMM).

Through August, sales are down 8.6 % on a year-over-year basis, with France down 11%, Italy 30% and Finland down an almost unimaginable 25%.

Ford has sunk more money into Europe, even as sales are atrophying like a veritable BlackBerry on wheels.

So have fun with the Paris Auto Show. It's always a hoot. But don't let reason get ahead of that newly revved engine.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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