Europe's carmakers face a fresh fight from cheaper Asian rivals, industry analysts believe.
This week's Geneva Motor Show is introducing some of the brand names that might be familiar sights on the streets of London and Paris in coming years - such as China's Brilliance Auto and BYD Auto.
The Indian maker of the £1,250 Nano "people's car", Tata Motors, also hopes to eventually crack the European market, Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata said in Geneva yesterday.
India, China and South Korea all have brands set to step up the battle in Europe against makers such as Volkswagen and Renault.
Profit margins are already low in Europe due to the popularity of small cars and diverse tastes, but carmakers looking to grow through exports to emerging markets now face increasing traffic coming the other way as plants in India, China and elsewhere step up production headed for Europe.
"It has been nice in a way, because Western carmakers have been going into emerging markets for their growth," Philippe Houchois, an analyst at JP Morgan, said.
"Eventually carmakers in emerging markets will come to the West to return the favour."
Western firms have helped develop markets in countries such as China where Brilliance Auto, for example, works in partnership with BMW.
The Chinese company now has its sights set on Europe and expects to have distributors covering the main European markets by the end of this year selling its lower-priced saloons.
It aims to compete mainly with South Korea's Hyundai but also with some Japanese and French brands, Hans-Ulrich Sachs, chief executive of Brilliance importer HSO Motors Europe, said.
"It won't take us as long as Hyundai did to get to where it is now in Europe," added Mr Sachs, who helped launch the South Korean brand in Europe nearly two decades ago.
Analysts say in five years, the new entrants could chisel out a niche in Europe. "In a three-year view, there's no risk, but in five years, yes," Mr Houchois said.
Ashvin Chotai, an independent, London-based automotive analyst, agreed that the drive into the market would be slow, but said some European brands were more exposed than others.
"The impact will be gradual but companies such as PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault, Fiat and Ford currently appear vulnerable."
In addition to emerging brands, Asia's big, established carmakers such as Honda and Hyundai are also on the move, using plants in China and India to boost exports to Europe.
Honda has been exporting most of the Jazz/Fit small cars that it sells in Europe from its export-only factory in China and has boosted capacity to 50,000 units a year.
A new car from Toyota is expected to be built in India initially and is likely to be exported to Europe.
Korean carmaker Hyundai exported nearly 60,000 Atos, Getz and i10 cars to Europe from its Indian factory in 2007 and that figure is set to surge this year after it opened a new plant to double its annual capacity in India to 600,000 cars.
About half of that is earmarked for exports, mostly bound for Europe, Hyundai chief executive Kim Dong-jin said in Geneva.
Nissan has factories in Britain and Spain but also imports cars from Mexico, Japan, and South Korea. Indian exports to Europe are next on its list.
"Nissan is not sleeping," European senior vice president Brian Carolin said, citing among other plans the company's intention of building a £1,500 car in India for sale also in other emerging markets.
One European automaker hoping to play the same game is France's Renault, which is showing its South Korea-made Koleos crossover vehicle at Geneva.