Geneva Car Show Lacks Notable Mainstream Launches.
But Take-over Turmoil, Election Threat Will Add Tension.
A lack of exciting new mainstream cars means the annual Geneva Car Show will be a lacklustre affair this year, but corporate developments might liven things up a bit as PSA seeks to clinch the takeover of Opel Vauxhall.
Automotive chief executives might feel the need to restrain the usual hype and bluster in their speeches too, as sales momentum slows in Western Europe, while potentially explosive elections in The Netherlands, France and later Germany, threaten to jeopardise the euro single currency and ultimately the European Union.
The political and economic ramifications of the “wrong” election results would usually be dismissed as impossible, but with the British Brexit result and the ascendancy of Donald Trump to the White House, automotive industry nerves are jangling.
After the Paris show last October, hailed as heralding the age of the electric car, new battery powered mainstream cars are thin on the ground in Geneva, with the next big event, the launch of the Tesla Model 3, awaited towards the end of this year. There will be many new interim technology hybrids, like the Lexus LS 500h.
Land Rover will add to its Range Rover line-up with the new Velar, said to be a rival to the Porsche Macan. Porsche is unveiling a new wagon, the Panamera Sport Turismo. There are still some companies without a full range of SUVs and Mitsubishi launches its Eclipse compact 4X4. Volvo has redesigned its XC-60 in the same category and added a plug-in hybrid. Subaru’s new SUV is called the Crosstrek.
Exotic cars will be in abundance, led by the new Ferrari 812 Superfast, the new McLaren 650S, and the Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet SUV.
But it’s slim-pickings for mainstream products.
“There is no big bang coming from Geneva, after the Paris electric mobility game-changer,” said Professor Stefan Bratzel, from the Center of Automotive Management in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany.
“We see weak demand in 2017 in Western Europe, although at the moment we don’t have much evidence. But I don’t see that many new products that will make a big impact on volume,” Bratzel said.