By on March 7, 2013

 


The Geneva Auto Show is now behind us, which means today’s automotive journalists will finally stop tweeting pictures of how expensive a cup of coffee would be, if only it wasn’t being paid for by Audi.

It also means everyone’s supercar fix is over for the year. Indeed, after being dazzled by McLaren, Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini, automaker employees must return home to whatever mid-level version of their employer’s least popular model they call their company car.

If you missed Geneva, have no fear. I’m here to guide you through the highlights as you sit at home, presumably in a place where a coat hanger doesn’t cost $30.

For Porsche fans, Geneva meant the debut of a new 911 GT3, which angered purists by not offering a stick shift, drum brakes or a crank starter. Porsche justified its decision by announcing that “It’s faster with PDK,” which is German double-speak for “it’s cheaper for us to develop PDK.”

The Lamborghini world looked up from their lines of cocaine long enough to watch the debut of the Veneno, which – as Derek Kreindler pointed out yesterday – was undoubtedly designed by a young boy, probably after sharing some of that cocaine with the Lambo owners. (Predicted number of commenters angered by this: 4.) Fun fact: “Veneno” translates from Spanish as “poison.” Presumably, on the eyes.

McLaren also tossed its hat into the Geneva ring, releasing a production version of its P1 supercar. This involved taking the bronze-colored “concept” version shown in Paris and painting it yellow. Even though it was otherwise identical, we were all very excited.

Which brings us to Ferrari, who released the car shown at the top of the page, called the LaFerrari. Folks… the LaFerrari. If Juliet knew of this when she uttered her “rose by any other name” speech, she would have recanted. And vomited.

Interestingly, the decision to name it LaFerrari came from the top, Luca di Montezemolo, who undoubtedly decided on the name to punish the board of directors after they wouldn’t let him call it the Ferrari Luca di Montezemolo and airbrush a likeness of himself on the fender shields.

Of course, it wasn’t all supercars in Geneva. Volkswagen also had a busy show, releasing updated versions of pretty much every car in their lineup. Unfortunately, none of these revisions made the Tiguan any cheaper. Or masculine.

The biggest news at VW was the announcement that the GTD could come to the US after years of popularity elsewhere. Unfortunately, in Volkswagen’s typical “you win some, you lose some” world, it may also be accompanied by an electric Golf, which we sincerely hope is not built in Mexico.

Volvo also showed a revised product line, pulling the covers off new versions of the S60, S80, XC60 and XC70. Unfortunately, the brand didn’t show off a revised XC90, leaving the car to compete with the G-Wagen for the title of “oldest new car available.” Fun fact: since the XC90 came out, there have been four different iterations of the Chevrolet Malibu.

By the way, Volvo also revealed an updated V60 in Geneva. It’s a good thing for Volvo this car doesn’t get more coverage in the US, because if it did, the response would be unanimous: you gave us the C30 instead of this?

After lackluster sales of its 5 Series GT, BMW decided to try its hand at a 3 Series GT. This is the same logic that caused Lincoln to follow up its Blackwood pickup with a new truck called the Mark LT. It didn’t go well for them, either.

Alfa Romeo pulled the cover its new 4C sports car, but apparently forgot to pull the cover off the 4C’s headlights, which are shrouded behind a piece of plastic they probably got from whoever made the Chrysler Sebring’s interior.

We’ll miss Geneva, but our wallets won’t. That’s especially true for journalists who accidentally got Euros from the currency exchange, forgetting Switzerland has yet to abandon the Swiss Franc. Oops. Good thing Audi was paying for everything.

Doug DeMuro operates PlaysWithCars.com. He’s owned an E63 AMG wagon, roadtripped across the US in a Lotus without air conditioning, and posted a six-minute laptime on the Circuit de Monaco in a rented Ford Fiesta. One year after becoming Porsche Cars North America’s youngest manager, he quit to become a writer. His parents are very disappointed.

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54 Comments on “2013 Geneva Auto Show: A Selected Retrospective...”


  • avatar

    The LaFerrari (is that redundant?) looks good, but Ferrari really, really needs to go back to its old school naming conventions. 6262cc V12, divide by 12, round it up, maybe add an “h” for the hybrid system… 522GTBh, anyone?

    Seriously, what was wrong with the old way?

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      I wouldn’t have minded something simpler like, say, “F70.”

      FYI It’s officially just “the LaFerrari”, not “the Ferrari LaFerrari”, just like the Enzo was officially “the Enzo Ferrari” not the “Ferrari Enzo” or “Ferrari Enzo Ferrari”, and “the Mazda3″ is not “the Mazda Mazda3″, as much as car guides would like it to be.

  • avatar
    european

    american shallowness strikes again.

    this guys main life accomplishments are … what?
    he OWNED an AMG Mercedes. Uh-oh!
    roadtripped in a lotus without a/c. Uh-oh!

    now he thinks he is relevant to write about stuff. any stuff!

    and maybe, just maybe, were you fired rather than you “quit”?

    not that i really care to know…

    • 0 avatar
      CoastieLenn

      Wow, Captain Grumpy Pants!!! You’ve contributed nothing to this thread… not even the reasoning behind your diatribe.

      Go infect another website, please!!

    • 0 avatar
      Tiddley_Wink

      Is the troll poll still active? If so, I think we have a new king. See this guy’s comment on Derek’s Veneno article yesterday.

      Get a life, dude.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Be cool, you didn’t care for one of Doug’s articles so what? Judge the man on his body of work, if Porsche were judged on the Panamera alone they wouldn’t even be worth a Wikipedia entry.

    • 0 avatar

      Ladies and gentlemen, the designer of the Lamborghini Veneno.

    • 0 avatar
      dts187

      “Porsche Cars North America’s youngest manager”

      What do you do for a living?

    • 0 avatar

      At least one of his accomplishments is that he’s writing for (paid) publication. That is non-trivial, even nowadays.

      What’s more, he’s doing it and you’re not. If you think you can do better… start typing.

    • 0 avatar
      jetcal1

      European,
      Please continue to post, I enjoy your posts.
      Many of the posts here are quite thoughtful,
      I like the contrasts inherent on yours.

      Sincerely,
      Jetcal1
      Another one of your loathed Americans

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Thanks Euro for your insightful critique of some of the most entertaining writing you will find in the business. It is refreshing to hear from you guys. Normally you don’t talk to us unless you want us to come over and save your asses.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      Anyone else notice the irony of someone who calls himself “european” feeling the need to comment on American shallowness?

      It’s a good thing he doesn’t capitalize “european”; if I had this guy’s intellect I wouldn’t have the self-esteem to capitalize my name either. This is clearly another one of those guys who’s incapable of producing something of value himself, so he feels the need to rag on people who do.

      From here on out, maybe I’ll call myself European-North-American, so I can spout off jingoistic nonsense about both sides of the pond.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      I agree this is ridiculous, I own a Crown Vic Police Interceptor, and my mom owns a Ford Taurus wagon. I enjoy big American iron. That doesn’t mean I’m qualified to write about cars.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        So what does qualify a person to write about cars? Is there some kind of car-writing lisence I’m not aware of? What’s the test like?

        I don’t know where you’re from, but as far as I know all that’s required to write about cars is the desire to do so, along with some kind of writing instrument. All that’s required to be successful at it is to have people interested in reading what you write. It looks to me like Mr. DeMuro’s doing fine on both counts.

        When losers baselessly attack you for doing what you’re doing, it’s generally a pretty reliable sign that you’re onto a success.

    • 0 avatar
      another_pleb

      I think that what the author was doing was deploying something that people from Europe, such as me, call irony.

      Everyone has a few fun facts about themselves which can include anything from unusual skills and hobbies to interesting experiences or possessions (unless they’re dead from the neck up).

      The fact that the author chose to mention a few of these before his more august accomplishments does not detract from the quality of this article.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    So Porsche took the time to develop a 7-speed manual and then decided not to offer it in the most enthusiast oriented version of the 991? Why are we supposed to tolerate the existence of suppository shaped sedans and SUVs with 911 headlights again?

    • 0 avatar

      Because they provide the income needed to keep Porsche independent.

      Oh, wait.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Well, they did … until the executive team decided that it would be more fun to play the stock market.

        • 0 avatar
          George Herbert

          They were not playing the stock market. They were attempting to resolve the eternal Porsche family feud (VW branch / Porsche branch) in the Zooom!s favor, asserting that no quantity of front wheel drive turbodiesels would change the inherent managerial superiority of rear engines.

          And failed.

          But, it was a worthy thing to try…

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Agreed on the 4C’s awful plastic headlight housings. What was wrong with clear acrylic of the concept…or any other normal car? The new look is too insectoid now.

    As for the 3 GT, it might sell better than the more expensive 5 GT, but that doesn’t mean it will sell a lot. Also, if it’s a “3″ GT, why is there a huge backwards black plastic “7″ slaped the front fenders just aft of the wheels? ;)

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    I like Doug’s writing but I have to question the site management as to its intended path forward. I started reading this place only recently and it really struck me how pedantic you were about disclosing the manufacturer’s contributions to your work product – full tank of gas, insurance, etc. Doug is making these somewhat funny references to Audi paying for everything, and yet I see no mention of Audis in his article. Is it because their lineup of glorified Q5 CUVs in Geneva is dull beyond pale? You hit BMW in your article for their brand new offering but you don’t mention all the tarted up Audis? Look at the site title, TTAC managers, and then ask yourself, where are you going with this?

    • 0 avatar

      The disclosures are still in place. Furthermore, this was a satirical piece riffing on the OEM junkets that are the reason most journalists attend the Geneva show in the first place, hence the Audi references without any Audi mentions…

    • 0 avatar

      Two important points here. One, Audi has never paid for anything on my end. In fact, I once had an A4 that was so unreliable, I would probably have to be employed as Audi’s global CEO for several months before we were even. Those lines were just a general comment on the media/OEM relationship, as Derek mentioned. And two- yes, Audi was spared because their Geneva offerings were just that dull!

      • 0 avatar
        motormouth

        Just like Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be just for one day of the year, Audi likes to release a new model every week rather than wow people once a year at Geneva.

        But that doesn’t make the Q3 RS any less of a waste of time and space.

      • 0 avatar
        ZekeToronto

        My inner pedant can’t help but point out that Audi AG was responsible for one of the least dull and most reported-on cars shown in Geneva. That’d be the one incurring all the criticism for having only 750HP.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    Every time I see a powerful exotic sports car, I keep thinking of the demographic it appeals to.

    A study of advertisement consumption suggests it is the young male who happens to be poor, uneducated, and lacking in social prestige and political power. They are the primary consumers of hyper-masculine advertisement, the ones that puts power, aggression, macho toughness, and craving for speed and danger as an escape and aspiration from their dreary lives.

    Whether its true or not, it does fit my stereotype of the Ed Hardy shirt wearing UFC/WWE/NASCAR fan driving a V8 Mustang, partying all night, and beating up LGBT’s for fun when he’s not working at Wal-Mart during the day.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/03/01/advertising_masculinity_why_ads_in_magazines_like_playboy_depict_men_as.html

  • avatar
    iMatt

    I’m curious as to why you feel having another electric car on the market is unfortunate? Additionally, what does it matter where it’s made? I understand you may have just been trying to be funny however it’s not quite clear, especially when you’re tone is so cynical to begin with.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    I found the article amusing. I have a serious question:

    Is there any truth to the widespread belief (reinforced by Doug) that made-in-Mexico VWs are lower-quality than ones assembled elsewhere? If so, where is the data?

    • 0 avatar
      european

      @friedclams

      why do you need data for proof? don’t you get it … this is a “satirical” article. because the author drove an AMG Mercedes, of course he knows that mexican built VWs are lower-quality. how could he not know?!?!?!? it just IS. you know?

      /sarc

      • 0 avatar
        BeyondBelief

        Is there still a place in the world where people are so unconfident in their sarcastic ability that they feel compelled to spell it out, 1998-style?

        Apparently the answer is yes.

    • 0 avatar
      jco

      I have personal experience with two different VW mkiv era Golfs. the one made in Germany held up well and needed only minor maintenance. the Mexican one suffered electric, mechanical, and cosmetic failures on such a scale as to call into question it’s viability as transportation.

      • 0 avatar
        european

        i love internet anecdotes. tell us more!

        • 0 avatar
          BeyondBelief

          I gotta couple troll stories. But enough about me, this thread is about you.

        • 0 avatar
          jco

          yes please, let’s talk more about how you didn’t like anything anyone else types on the Internet. especially obviously satirical posts.

          I mean, this is a moderated site, but nothing except self-restraint keeps you from saying whatever you want. I could type gibberish, but instead I chose to respond to someone’s question with personal experience.

          what do you drive? does it matter? Derek had a miata. I don’t know what Bertel uses to transport himself around Tokyo other than Shinkansen, is he not qualified to write articles?

          it’s easy to hide behind anonymity. why does your opinion matter? mine doesn’t, but I don’t pretend it does.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        Before Mexico gets all the hate, my German-built Passat was terrible. So there.

        Oh, and Ford builds lots of cars in Mexico; are they all bad, too?

    • 0 avatar

      Although I find european’s reply highly insightful, I’m curious about this myself and I always have been. The sheer amount of anecdotal evidence suggests we must be on to something, but real data would be nice.

      • 0 avatar
        Flybrian

        Dealing with used late-model VWs in a variety of age, models, and mileage, I can say unequivocally that Mexican-built VWs are simply inferior to VWs assembled elsewhere and – more tellingly – inferior to other manufacturers’ Mexican-assembled products (Dodge trucks, Ford midsizers, GM SUVs).

        I will also say that VW itself is to blame for the low-rent, garbage-grade, and generally unservicable interior trim pieces they insisted on using with these cars. Name anyone who owns a 2000-era Jetta or Beetle who hasn’t had problems with the following:

        *Dash scratches
        *Rearview mirror switch
        *Headliner
        *Overhead console
        *Door handles
        *Seatbelt retainers
        *Center Armrest
        *Interior fabrics seams
        And the list goes on…

        What’s most troubling is that things like glove compartment latches are things you’d think would’ve been mastered in, oh, I don’t know…1958.

        And the cost of replacement VW parts is borderline criminal. I bought a new glovebox lid for a Buick Terraza for $85 from GM; VW Jetta glovebox assembly? $250. On eBay. I don’t want to know what dealer’s want for it.

        • 0 avatar
          modelt1918

          You forgot to include the plastic pieces that hold the windows up that fails around every 6 months. It is a real thrill to be driving down the street and have your door window slam to the bottom of the door.

      • 0 avatar
        friedclams

        I bet the data is known to VW and under wraps.

        There is a corollary rumor that someone from the B&B stated: That VW’s Westmoreland, PA plant was shuttered when it was discovered that its cars had fewer defects than the German-built ones. That sounds like bull to me but it is a juicy story.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          That seems like revisionist history. The contemporary belief was that the quality of PA-built VWs was lower than Germany-built VWs.

          The real reason it was closed was that it wasn’t economical. Some say the plant was outdated from the start in its manufacturing processes. In addition, when VW sales dropped in the US after oil prices dropped, the factory was underutilized and unprofitable. I believe they also had some labor relations issues, as well.

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      Several years ago, VW came out with a memo from one of its CEO’s, vowing to improve the quality of their cars, that is, those made under license in Spain, Mexico and Eastern Europe– basically, it was an admission of quality control failures at those plants.

      VW has, for many years,had terrible reliability ratings at non-partisan Consumer Reports; anyone who has OWNED a Jetta or Golf knows how often they break down– which makes one wonder if the Europeans have a different definition of “reliable and well made”!

      An article at USA Today summed it up quite well: “VW stumbled badly in the 1970s and ’80s with products buyers couldn’t relate to after decades of mechanically simple and durable rear-drive Beetles and Microbuses. Owners of more finicky front-drive Rabbits and Quantums reported electrical problems, blown engines and fragile window regulators and windshield wipers. That, combined with rising prices, almost forced VW to leave the U.S. market.” http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/autos/2004-05-11-vw_x.htm

      • 0 avatar
        LeeK

        In this very month’s Consumer Reports, Volkswagen garnered a 62 score in their Brand Reliability Report Card, higher than GMC, Chevrolet, Volvo, Mini, Buick, Chrysler, Ford, Lincoln, Jeep, and Dodge. They were 16 out of 26 brands, and one point below Hyundai and Cadillac. Audi was separate at 70 and number 7 overall on the list.

        The article you posted from USA today is nine years old. No one denies that VWs of the Golf/Jetta Mk IV era were wretched. But VW improved quality and reliability dramatically. So did the rest of the market. The way some people see the world regarding VWs, it’s a wonder we don’t pass hundreds of broken-down Beetles, Passats, Jettas, Golfs, and Touaregs on the side of the road each day on our way to work.

        Fifteen years ago Hyundai reliability was horrendous. They changed. VW has shown a similar turnaround, but you wouldn’t know it by the constant reprisal of the Conventional Wisdom that “all VWs are bad”. The facts are otherwise.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Not all of us were raised in an atmosphere where everyone gets a trophy for participating and average looks like an achievement. 16th of 26? How formidable! Next time something awful occurs, I’ll think of your vigorous defense of VW, and laugh!

          • 0 avatar
            LeeK

            The point is all of the stories posted here are anecdotal, from UVA girls with Jettas that have burned out light bulbs to the stern warnings (often from you) that anyone who owns a VW is a fool. Again, from Consumer Reports to True Delta, the evidence is otherwise.

            You don’t see these kinds of assaults on Chrysler, GM, or Mini products, which score at the bottom of the same sets of measurements. Why always with VW?

            PS. I own three Hondas, and two VWs. All have been reliable. The CR-V I have has had a clutch master cylinder go out, radiator cracked and leaking, electric locking system failure, the gas struts on the hatch are shot, and it burns oil regularly. But this is expected over the life of a 1999 car. I think it’s a great car.

            Laugh all you want at me, but my anecdotal experience with my Hondas is that they have had less quality and reliability than my VWs, which to date have been flawless. I know of course that isn’t true in the aggregate, but I could go on a CR-V quality rampage if I wanted to. It makes about as much sense as all the other rantings here about VW quality.

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    Isn’t that kind of like asking whether Beijing fake Rolexes are better quality than Shanghai ones?

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    There’s nothing like the personal taste of an insulated isolated corporate exec to make focus groups look as wise as Solomon. Some people should never be allowed to name a car, such as any of Henry Ford’s progeny, (every model’s name must begin with an “F”) whatever coke snorting pillock is picking names out of a hat at Lambo, and now Luca de Montezemolo. Luca baby, just stick to leading the Scuderia to another year of getting their asses beat by Red Bull, its what you’re good at.

  • avatar
    motormouth

    So much for Audi, the best coffee at the show was offered by Volvo and Toyota. Respective vehicle lineups not withstanding.

  • avatar
    roadscholar

    Doug rocks. Dear Mr. di Montezemolo, please, please, hire La Roux for your La Ferrari advertising campaign. Oh wait…I forgot…you don’t need to advertise….never mind.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Okay, from all the articles, I get the impression that the Geneva show exists because it’s a great place for the high rollers to have a skiing vacation and the high prices keep the riff-raff out, while the cars keep the auto journalists off the streets. Does this mean that the Detroit “International” auto show should relocate to Aspen?


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