Don't judge a book by its cover, or in this case, a car by its bonnet (am I doing it right, my non-American friends?). Automania has a cartoony look that, I would imagine, could turn off a number of players who think their Euro games need the most solemn of men staring at maps or tables of spice on the box cover. It is bright and colorful, which, I believe, is part of the appeal. This is a medium-weight Euro, and one that you can use to introduce non-gamers to worker placement games, though it has enough depth to entertain regular gamers as well.
Like I said, Automania is a worker placement game, where workers are placed on a grid in order to obtain parts, for the most part, to build cars. Each player has a player board with a "factory" in which three types of cars move through the conveyor belts and are eventually sold to market. What is interesting about this game is that there are two markets, and each has a randomly assigned list of demands. The American market, for example, might have a high demand for safety while the European market has a high demand for handling. On top of that, the markets give slightly different rewards, depending on if you are trying to accumulate victory points or money. Market supply can fill up, though, as boats are loaded with completed cars, so there is a bit of a race to get your cars in the markets that you want.
This is less of a review than mere impressions as I've only got two games under my belt, but I did quite enjoy Automania. It is a very solid worker placement game and I like the competition for the various markets. There isn't much here that is groundbreaking, but it is very well done. For some reason that I can't put my finger on, the game that Automania most felt like is Manhattan Project, though they aren't exactly the same.
I can update after I've played more, but I don't know when that will be with Christmas travels coming soon.