Full steam ahead as wave of new models to light up Europe's roads
Frankfurt Motor Show Special - Big focus on electrics, hybrids, crossovers – and super performance cars
THE news, for the first time in years, is good. Most observers reckon Europe's car market is stabilising after five years of plunging sales.
However, it is going to take some time. Some executives at Frankfia believe high unemployment and low lending indicate it will be a long, slow return.
Volkswagen sales chief Christian Klingler said: "The European market has bottomed out."
Renault chief Carlos Ghosn said Europe should "see the end of the tunnel next year".
Ford of Europe's Stephen Odell said: "We are at bottom. It does feel like we're running along the bottom."
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said it could take another one or two years before the European car market recovery picked up speed.
Citroen Managing Director Maxime Picat also forecast a gradual market recovery in Europe next year.
They spoke as they and their rivals show just how varied and splintered the market demands have become. From fast supercars to frugal hybrids and electrics there is no doubting the breadth of product. So many brands now are showing electric cars, one wonders where the markets will be for them.
Its two-seat 4C goes on sale this month. It has minor facelifts its MiTo and Giulietta.
Its most striking car the Nanuk high-performance diesel sports car is a real in-your-face concept. The 5-litre diesel V10 produces 544bhp and Audi claims it has excellent on-road and of-road ability. Its 700bhp Sport Quattro plug-in hybrid concept could go into limited production with a 4-litre V-8 petrol and electric motor. It can do 0-100kmh in 3.7 seconds with emissions of 59g/km with a 50km electric only range. The facelifted A8 was also shown. As was the smart looking A3 Cabriolet which is longer, wider, lower and lighter.
Is showing performance-focused S versions of its V8 Continental GT and GTC models. They use 521bhp version of the brand's twin-turbocharged 4-litre V8 – an increase of 21bhp up on the standard V8.
What a change here with the German marquee showing its i8 hybrid (next year) and i3 electric (here later this year costing around €30,000). The 4-series coupe (succeeds the 3-series Coupe) sits alongside the M4 concept; the X5 (with a rear-wheel drive version for the first time, and plug-in X5 hybrid are also being shown.
The i8 has an electric motor and 3cyl petrol engine; it develops 362bhp but can manage 2.5l/100km (113 mpg).
Huge show for Citroen as it reveals the concept that will lead it towards more affordable, practical C-line motors to target the likes of Skoda. The Cactus is expected to be on sale from mid-2014. As an example of its practicality it has "airbumps" skin on the sides and bumpers. These resist scratches and reduce the impact of small bumps so you don't have expensive repairs.
Its stablemate Peugeot as we'll see later is moving upmarket.
The Renault-owned brand's Duster gets a facelift.
Introduces the 458 Speciale. Has the marquee's most powerful naturally aspirated V-8 engine (596bhp).
Shows latest variation on a theme of its seven-seat 500L Living minivan.
Striking new badge Vignale for its mid-sized Mondeo and a an S-Max concept. The Mondeo Vignale models, with their individual styling, will cost up to 15pc more.
The Civic Tourer puts them back in the estate market. Goes on sale early next year 2014 with a forecast the Tourer will account for 20pc of Civic sales.
Its new i10 is longer, wider and lower. On sale soon. Hyundai planning a huge number of new and updated models – reportedly as many as 22 - over the next few years.
The C-X17 concept shows their intentions for a SUV/crossover to tackle the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. It is designed to explore the company's modular aluminum architecture which will be integral to a crossover and a compact saloon in late 2015. Show coincides with big job announcement for Britain.
Shows its Niro concept which is regarded as a potential rival to the Nissan Juke, Opel Mokka, Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 etc. Also its eye-catching Soul motor.s
Introduces diesel-hybrid versions of the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. Hybrid powertrain combines V6 3-litre diesel with electric motor to reduce fuel use by 26pc. Begins production next year.
This Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse is the fastest version of the Gallardo. Has the same 562bhp V10 as the race car, does 0-100kmg in 3.4secs. Top speed 320kmh.
The LF-NX hybrid concept hints at a compact SUV/crossover to take on the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1.
The Mazda3 makes its public debut.
Shows off its stunning S-Class coupe, a plug-in hybrid version of its flagship and the new GLA crossover.
The replacement for the CL is 5005mm long, 1958mm wide on a 2945mm wheelbase and doesn't have a B-pillar.
The plug-in hybrid goes on sale late next year. It has a 3-litre V6 petrol and 80-kW electric drive. The GLA compact crossover will battle with the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 when it goes on sale next year.
The all-new X-Trail has been finally revealed with sales expected here early next year. As the next-generation Qashqai (early next year too) will not have a seven-seat version, the X-Trail will be the only seven-seat SUV as such.
Also shown the Friend-Me concept – a chance to see how cars of the future might look. This is from the same school that began the spate of crossovers such as the Qashqai and Juke.
Stunning Monza gullwing coupe concept highlights how much Opel want to change their styling. It is about the same size as the Insignia and probably forecasts what the next saloon will look like. Its battery power is extended by a range-extender engine that runs on compressed natural gas. Hosts a major swathe of connectivity too.
The new 308 hatchback is the biggie as it continues its move upmarket. But it has it super-performance RCZ R (1.6-litre 270bhp engine) version of their sports coupe on show as well as the 308 R concept (270bhp), the 208 Hybrid FE, and the facelifted 5008 and 3008.
Has the €700,000 918 Spyder hybrid its most expensive model on the stand. It has a V8 4.6-litre petrol engine and two electric motors to power out 887bhp but fuel consumption is just 3.3l/100km (86 mpg) with emissions of 79 g/km. Goes on sale later this year.
Is showing concepts that pave the way for the next Espace people carrier and mini Twingo. New Espace will look much more like a crossover.
Publicly unveils the Leon ST station wagon. Goes on sale later in the year.
Excited about its new Rapid Spaceback hatch. It's shorter and snappier-looking than the current notchback.
The FourJoy will become the new four-seat Smart to be built by Renault and due on the forecourts next year. While the FourJoy has no doors, roof or tailgate it isn't far off being the essence of the production model.
The WRX concept makes its European debut but may not come here.
Has its iV-4 concept believed to be the way its new small compact SUV – smaller than the SX4 S-Cross – will go. Again a 2015 target for the Juke.
Going strong down the electric route with is e-Golf and e-up! (and a van concept version) it also has the Sportsvan concept which will be the basis for the next Golf Plus mid-2014. This is 83mm longer than the Golf, but 224mm shorter than the estate.
Also here is the high-performance Golf R, a massively powerful 296bhp motor.
Lot of excitement about the Concept Coupe as it reveals a whole new styling for he brand. Has a 400bhp plug-in hybrid power base – a 2-litre petrol engine and an electric motor to drive the rear wheels.