The Paris Motor Show 2012, one of the biggest automobile shows in the world, has been thrown open to the public after two days of press previews.

Nearly 270 auto makers from 23 countries are participating in the two-week extravaganza, where big brands such as Lamborghini and Maserati sit alongside more practical vehicles from Kia and Hyundai.

The European car industry which has endured an 18-year slump, is pinning its hopes on no-frills cars at the show. However, premium brands such as BMW, Daimler AG and Audi are increasingly looking to the growing markets of Asia and South America.

"The greatest challenges will surely be the markets in southern Europe," said Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen's chief executive, in Paris.

"Markets such as Russia, China, India, the US or South America are all growing markets."

Limp sales figures aside, the event's top attractions include the Jaguar F-Type, the McLaren P1, and concept vehicles from Volkswagen and Porsche.

McLaren's new supercar is expected to cost $240,000 (£148,506). The McLaren P1 is expected to join the MP4-12C and 12C Spider roadcars in 2013.

The Paris Motor Show is open to the public from 29 September to 14 October, and organisers hope to attract more than the record 1,263,467 visitors who attended in 2010.

Scroll through the pictures for a glimpse of the latest offerings from the world's leading auto makers at the Paris Mondial de l'Automobile.

A Peugeot Onyx concept car at the Paris Mondial de l'AutomobileReuters
The McLaren 12C Spider at the Paris Mondial de l'AutomobileReuters
The new Ford Mondeo at the Paris Mondial de l'AutomobileReuters
The KIA Optima Hybrid at the Paris Mondial de l'AutomobileReuters
The McLaren 12C SpiderReuters
The Lamborghini Galliardo LP550-4, LP560-4 and LP570-4 at the Paris Mondial de l'Automobile.Reuters
Hostesses pose next to the new Maserati GranCabrio MC at the Paris Mondial de l'AutomobileReuters
The new Renault Clio at the Paris Mondial de l'AutomobileReuters
The Hyundai I-Oniq hybrid at the Paris Mondial de l'AutomobileReuters
A PGO Hemera at the Paris Mondial de l'AutomobileReuters
An Art Deco-inspired Rolls-Royce at the Paris Mondial de l'AutomobileReuters
Director General of Peugeot Maxime Picat poses next to a Peugeot Onyx concept carReuters
The Infiniti Emerg-E at the Paris Mondial de l'AutomobileReuters
A Bentley GT Speed at the Paris Mondial de l'AutomobileReuters
A Ferrari F12 Berlinetta at the Paris Mondial de l'AutomobileReuters
The Jaguar XF at the Paris Mondial de l'AutomobileReuters