Exotic Cars Dominate In Geneva As Affordable Ones Go Missing.
“This year’s show also suggested a policy change in the use of female models to woo the media”
GENEVA, Switzerland – Supercars are making the headlines at the annual car show here but that’s just another way of saying the industry doesn’t have much that’s very exciting for the real world.
The star of the show, or rather the preoccupation, was not a car at all.
The big takeover by France’s Peugeot of General Motors Europe’s Opel-Vauxhall caught all the headlines. A merger of two companies with bland, weak brands that are commodities that need to be sold on price, doesn’t bode well. Anyone telling you that merging these two companies won’t result in huge job cuts, probably has inside information showing the deal will fall apart soon. The industry’s track record on mega mergers is not good. Think Daimler-Chrysler and BMW/Rover.
This year’s Geneva Show also suggested a policy change in the use of female models to woo the media. This is usually a fixture of the show but not this year. World Woman’s Day came on the 2nd press day, and this may have been significant. The show’s organizers say this was not a change in policy, but is purely a decision made by the manufacturers.
As far as new cars were concerned there were no breakthrough mainstream products or nifty new technologies that normal people might buy. There was a notable lack of any progress with electric cars for the masses.
At the last big European car show in Paris last October, the abundance of battery-powered cars with improved range like the Renault Zoe and Opel Ampera E, led to claims the electric car age had started. Here in Geneva though, mainstream new electric cars were thin on the ground. The hype now has to catch up with affordability.
There were exotic new concept electric cars, including the Chinese Hybrid Kinetic Group’s Pininfarina designed H600. Another China concept was the Techrules Ren – a 3-seater hybrid, powered by a 25Kw battery, 2 front electric motors, 4 rear ones and a turbine range extender. The driver sits centrally.
New exotica included the Ferrari 812 Superfast, the Aston Martin Valkyrie and Mclaren 720S. Hands-down winner of the ugliest car award was the Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet SUV.
Porsche unveiled a new station wagon, the Panamera Sport Turismo.
There were yet more new SUVs, including the Subaru Crosstrek, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and the renewed Volvo XC-60, which this time comes with a plug-in hybrid option.
Here are details of some of the debutants –
Ferrari 812 Superfast is powered by a new 6.5-litre V12 petrol engine that unleashes 800 hp, and Ferrari said it is a mid-front-engined sports car. Maximum torque is 718 Nm @ 7,000 rpm. The car will blast from rest to 60 mph in under 3 seconds, with a top speed of 211 mph.
Aston Martin Valkyrie is a single seater is powered by a 6.5-litre V12 producing about 900 hp. Yes that’s right, single seater.
McLaren 720S looks pretty similar to previous models but the company said it shows a bold new design language. The 720S will sit above the more basic Sport Series and form the cornerstone of McLaren’s line-up. The 720S is powered by a 710 hp version of McLaren’s twin-turbocharged V-8 engine enlarged to 4 litres. The car’s top speed is 212 mph and accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in under 3 seconds. 2.9 seconds.
Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is the company’s first station wagon.
Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet SUV has a 6.0 liter V-12 twin-turbo engine producing 621 hp. Price? Probably over $300,000. Ugly.
Moving on to cars normal people might buy, the new Kia Picanto goes on sale soon. Engines include a 64 hp 1.0 litre 3-cylinder and an 84 hp 1.25 litre 4-cylinder one.
Opel-Vauxhall Crossland is the first joint vehicle with Peugeot. This compact SUV replaces the Meriva minivan.
Range Rover Velar is aimed at the Porsche Macan. Trouble is, it might take down the stable mate Jaguar’s F-Pace at the same time.
Subaru Crosstrek is based on the engineering of the new Impreza.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross – hard to believe this renowned SUV maker hasn’t come up with a compact one until now.
Volvo XC-60 this time comes with a plug-in hybrid option.