Hope provides a new focus
AT last . . . a small chink of light at the end of the tunnel.
Geneva was perceptibly livelier than most other shows over the past 18 months. There was hope – the great elixir of motoring. And coming on the back of increased purchasing figures for February here, there is some substance to back the hope this time around.
As our pictures show there were plenty of debuts – the Ford Focus (hatch and estate) dominating interest not just because it is due here for next year but also because it is a world car in the true sense of the word and as such will test the buoyancy and response of so many economies.
The wagon is the fifth vehicle to be revealed from Ford new global C-segment platform that will underpin at least 10 vehicles around the world and account for two million vehicles by 2012.
Volvo showed off their new S60 (here by August), Audi their MINI rival the A1, Kia their Sportage, Nissan their new Juke, Seat their Ibiza, Opel the new Meriva, and many many more.
The new Volkswagen Sharan debuted as well. It has a new platform, twin sliding doors and a seven-seat configuration. In amongst the ‘conventional' launches were the phalanx of concepts, alternatives, electric cars and hybrids.
Honda's new CR-Z hybrid 2+2 coupe (here later this summer) was there as was the Lexus CT200h (early next year) hybrid which will rival the Audi A3 and BMW 1-series.
More and more automakers are rolling out hybrids or electrics - even Aston Martin showed off its Cygnet while Toyota had its Auris hybrid on hand. Porsche said its 'electric SUV the Cayenne was “a milestone on the way to electric mobility” even though it can only manage 4.5km in pure electric mode. BMW's new 5- series was there but even they say they are working on a hybrid that automatically switches to electric mode once the car leaves the highway.
Audi, Nissan, Chevrolet and Mitsubishi all have various hybrid and electric vehicles in the pipeline, mostly with modest sales figures in mind.
Opel is pushing its lithiumbattery powered fully electric Ampera hatchback, introduced two years ago at Geneva. PSA (Peugeot-Citroen) plans to launch the Peugeot 3008, a plug-in hybrid with diesel as well as the Citroen DS5 Hybrid as part of its goal to have one million cars in its fleet below 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre by 2012. Saab relaunched itself as it focuses on restarting production and filling its distribution chain - but says hybrid solutions will be part of all vehicles in the future.
As we said at the start, where there is life there is hope. And there was life in Geneva.