The Geneva Auto Salon is a small show in a small city of a small country. The show is big because it is an annual confab of automakers where shoulders are rubbed, mergers are planned, policies are set. The cars are mostly decoration. A top topic in Geneva was how to meet rigid EU emission limits. “There is a growing awareness that conventional hybrids and slow-selling battery cars simply won’t be enough,” Reuters reports from Geneva. (Read More…)
Full disclosure: While my business-class compatriots were living it up in Geneva, I was sitting at home in Ohio, waiting anxiously for the Fed-Ex-mishap-delayed arrival of something called a “Modern Eagle NOS Brazilian” and letting my three-year-old son watch The Lost World in HD. I’d forgotten that there was a part where the T. Rex bites a hapless civilian in half. “There’s meat inside people, if you’re a hungry dinosaur and you can’t find a ‘ceratops to eat,” the boy opined upon seeing the scene. Oh, well. Nature, red in tooth and claw, and all that.
It’s reasonable, therefore, that I might be personally bitter about the latest auto show and my failure to snag a seat on a charter flight to same. No surprise there. What is surprising is this: the people who went weren’t excited about the product either. Sure, they took Facebook pictures of their triple-seven sleeping pods and eighty-euro mystery dinners, but when it came to the actual rolling stock, the lack of enthusiasm among the professional enthusiasts could be viewed from space. Assuming, of course, you have an Internet connection in space and are willing to use it to read auto blogs. The closest thing to a universally acclaimed car at the show was a diesel version of a sporty hatchback. That’s like getting worked up over Diet Dr. Pepper.
The responsibility for this dismal state of affairs can be clearly laid at the feet of three companies. Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini were given a chance to render automotive equivalents of Miss Alex Morgan in steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber. Instead, they chose to give us Honey Boo-Boo’s mother, Snooki, and Janet Reno in a Predator mask, respectively.
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.
All of you who talked smack about the New Jeep Cherokee, take note: Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne believes in this car, so much that he predicts Chrysler selling more than 800,000 Jeeps worldwide in 2013.
The volks who worry about Volkswagen being incapable of directing its big band of brands should make a trip to Geneva. Today, the boys from Wolfsburg launch a barrage at all target groups.
Aimed at the “blogger who drives mother’s old Celica and googles for super car pics” segment, Lamborghini delivers more bull: (Read More…)
The Ford EcoSport, launched last year into the wilds of South America, is being unleashed upon unsuspecting Europeans at the Geneva Motor Show. Handheld nerds already have been given an EcoSport preview at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. (Read More…)
BMW executes on its plan to bring at least one new MINI to every show it graces. In Geneva, it is the MINI John Cooper Works Paceman, a.k.a. the MINI with the maxi name. If we believe the press release, the car “combines mouthwatering sporting flair and inimitable style to usher in a new dimension in driving fun.”
What’s more, “the new model sees the compact Sports Activity Coupé concept wrapped up in an extra layer of muscular proportions and dynamically stretched lines.”wait, there’s … (Read More…)
Unlike other car companies that perfected the slow reveal to a tantalizing and sometimes agonizing strip-tease, Infiniti had sworn to keep its EMERG-E study fully clothed until it bares all at the upcoming Geneva Auto Salon. This plan was toast on Saturday night when pictures purloined from an official Infiniti press kit appeared “on the Internet,” as Carscoop claims.
“Don’t ask me how” those pictures got out, sighs Yokohama-based Infiniti spokesperson Nathalie Greve. (Read More…)
Boxy cars are a divisive subject: bring up the Mk. 1 Scion xB, and people will either swoon with desire or faint with disgust. The Heuliez Mia looks to wade into the middle of this controversial segment, offering a huge amount of space in a weird, box-like form. With only a 80km-100km range at the starting price of €18,000, the Mia’s electric drivetrain will doubtless self-select out the anti-cubists, limiting its appeal to fans of the impractically practical. In dense urban centers, however, there will always be an audience for small-but-spacious people movers. But can the Heuliez compete with Asia’s proud tradition of automotive cubism?
Longtime auto observers know there’s a fine line between a clean, subtle design and a boring car. What might come as a surprise is that Subaru is the brand currently exploring the liminal zone between nice and narcoleptic. After all, when was the last time Subaru design was accused of understated elegance bordering on the hopelessly anodyne? But Subaru is already abandoning its rough-and-ready, quirkily-styled roots for Audi-junior positioning, and this Hybrid Tourer Concept captures those aspirations brilliantly. Too bad Subaru’s most pressing design challenge is improving its plastic-fantastic interiors.
If Peugeot’s “Five by Peugeot” concept is Jaguar-inspired, this SR-1 concept clearly takes its cues from Old Blighty’s other famous sportscar builder, Aston Martin. Have the Anglophiles taken over at Peugeot, or is this just a jab at Renault, which is required by the terms of its state-ownership stake to not produce cars that are inspired by the designs of non-French marques? Though we’d like to think of this as proof of the superiority of private ownership, chances are Peugeot’s designers just like Aston’s styling. God knows it’s hard to blame them.
Sometimes you feel like a BMW… and sometimes you don’t. Volvo has caught wind of this, and offers the 2011 S60 in hopes of adding the Bavarian-ambivalent market to its solid Swedophile base. What Volvo seems to have forgotten is that part of the BMW appeal is that the brand can be successfully marketed without resorting to worn-out terms like “naughty.” At least it could, once upon a time.