Geneva Show – March 2009

Unlike the first major Auto Show of the Credit Crunched era, Detroit, there was little evidence at Geneva 2009 of an industry in crisis: all of the significant players in Western European markets were in attendance (and the few absentees, such as Lada and Ssangyong are hardly going to be missed); there were lots of new models making their debut; plenty of concept cars in evidence, many on display for the first time; stands, although toned down a bit, perhaps from previous years, were still mainly quite lavish; and there were lots of people visiting. Indeed the Show was pretty busy, especially considering it was a weekday, from late morning until mid afternoon, but after that it emptied out quite a lot, and the last hour or so was quiet enough that I could get to take many of the photos that I had wanted to take earlier on. I never did get back to a few notable newcomers, though, as the show area is large and having covered 6 of the main halls more than a couple of times,  I ran out of time and energy.It will come as no surprise that the environment theme was everywhere. Just about every manufacturer was making big play of the improved credentials of their products, with all sorts of E85, bio-fuel and hybrid technologies on show. Lots of bold claims, too: Peugeot claimed to be the leader in the “sub 120 g/km CO2” emissions ranks, which is a claim that doubtless Citroen, Fiat, Toyota and probably others would challenge hotly. A (small) hall was dedicated to environmental displays (Hall 3, the “Pavillion Vert”), though I could not help feeling that whereas there is some really clever technology being developed, a lot of this is all marketing spin at present, and another round of doing things almost artificially to get under various tax breaks etc. If this is what it takes to allow us to continue to enjoy our cars, though, then I am all for it!

The other dominant feature of the Geneva Show remains a whole series of stands that show that money and taste rarely go together. A significant number of these (very costly) modified horrors feature throughout the show, and I have dedicated a complete section of the report in which your eyes will be assaulted with these abominations.


With their own stand, Fiat is trying to establish this as a separate brand. Three models on show, one based on the Punto (in its latest hotter Esseesse guise) and two on the 500.

A busy stand all day. This year, it was in an “L” shape, so when you had seen one side of it, and thought “that was not much”, if you turned the corner, there was as much again to see. One one side of the stand the 8Cs played a starring role. Despite the design now being more than a couple of years old, this remains one of the most popular cars at any show, and the comments you hear from everyone all centre on just how gorgeous it is. Having been privileged enough to encounter a couple on the road, actually the aurals even exceed the visuals in my estimation. Anywhere, here are the cars:

The other side of the stand showcased the new MiTo GTA. The initial press reports did the car no favours at all, but although it does look better in the metal, I have to say that I was not as impressed as I thought I would be. Somehow, it does not look quite right.
Behind it was an Alfa 1300 GTA from the 1960s, representing a link to Alfa’s heritage.
A full complement of 159s, Brera’s (Brerae?) and Spider, all in that distinctive show-special metallic red that Alfa use completed the display. This was the launch pad for new engines, but visually the cars look as before. No sign of the 147 (to be replaced late this year) or the GT, which rumour has is also on the way out.  

Unlike Paris 2008, the spectacular One-77 was on show not just for the Press, but for the paying public to see as well, and a dramatic sight it is. Still something of a prototype with blocked out windows, this looks far far better in the flesh than in the few computer-aided illustrations that accompanied its launch last October.

There were 2 other debuts, both variants of well known themes: the V12 Vantage and the DBS Volante.
From the existing range, three cars were on show: a DBS, a V8 Volante and a DB9 Volante, all looking fantastic, and from what I could tell, with better quality interiors than the rather disappointing ones that I inspected 12 months ago.
No sign of the Lagonda concept, and I am not exactly going to lose sleep over not having seen it!

Audi stands tend to be among the very busiest at any Show anywhere other than the UK, so this was the one I went to first of all. Although it is quite a long way from the entrances, within minutes it was indeed heaving, and it still was after the Show had closed and we were being told to leave! Celebrating 100 years of the marque, a 1939 racer was on show in the centre of the stand:

The new A5/S5 Cabrio was making its debut. Visually very similar to the old model, I still think this is the most elegant of the convertibles in its class, though the wheels on this S5 were absolutely not to my taste.
The new TT RS was also on show. Much has been written about the visual disaster of that rear spoiler, and I agree.
Also new is the A4 Allroad. A cynical marketing offering, for sure, but if this helps Audi to achieve their goal of overtaking BMW and Mercedes (and they are very close), then I can see why they have done it.  
A lone example of the R8 was on show, this one furnishing the new V10 engine. Impressive, for sure.  
The Continental Supersports was the predictable highlight of this stand, mounted on a rotating turntable at the end of the stand where those who were allowed to get up close could at least get a reasonable view.

Speed versions of all three of the familiar Continental-based cars were also on show. No sign of the Arnage based cars, which are in the final throes of “production”
Along with Audi, one of the busier stands, but some of that may stem from the fact that the BMW stand is actually quite a bit smaller than Audi or Mercedes. After the “disappointment” of not finding the X1 Concept at Paris, it was on show here. Not sure I should have been too disappointed, really!

Of course, what everyone really wanted to see was the 5 Series GT Concept. In the flesh, it is quite an elegant car, but let’s be honest, despite all the marketing guff, this is no more than a hatchback 5 Series. There’s nothing radical about large hatchbacks, as Renault made them popular with the R16 in 1965, and just about every non-premium maker had one in their range until a few years ago. I did not hear anyone going weak-knee-d at this concept, but I did like it a lot more in the metal than I did in the pictures. Still would not buy one, though!
There were 2 models of the new Z4, which spent most of the day showing how the (clever) roof goes up and down. This is one new car that I never did manage to get photographed as it was always busy around it, and the stand is as far from the entrance as you can get, so I never made it back after closing time to try again.
The X6 seemed to be being ignored most of the time. Best thing to do with it, really!

Still at the prototype stage was this hybrid, based on the latest 7 series.
The rest of the stand featured familiar models, making much of the Efficient Dynamics features. These cars are all well known, and were impossibly busy to access with a camera, so I decided to save the camera battery for less familiar stuff.   

A regular at this show for the past few years, complete with signs saying that the cars will be available “very soon”, yet there is still no sign of them hitting the market. New this time was the BS4 estate, which complements the BS2 hatch and the larger BS6. No sign of the more attractive BC3 Coupe that has featured in previous years

Not one, but 2 Veyron on show. I expected the barriers around this stand to be packed all day long, but they were not. Have we all got so familiar with this car now that it has lost some of the “wow” factor? Not convinced by thye pictures of the latest edition, the Bleu Centennaire, I have to say that in the flesh, it did look rather good.

First European showing for the new SRX. Smaller and dumpier than the outgoing model, this is not for me.

Another showing for the CTS Wagon, which has some appeal from certain angles, but those thick rear quarter pillars will make reversing it more than a challenge, and the steeply sloped back end make this more of a “lifestyle” estate than a loadlugger.
A reminder of the BLS, in saloon and estate format. Sales are so slow that you are unlikely to see one other than at a show.
The CTS-V was not getting the sort of attention here that the Americans give it. They reckon it is a better car than the M5, but funnily enough, we do not agree, and I’ve never seen one on European roads. One look inside is enough to start the alarm bells ringing!

A mix of the former Daewoo products, and a lone American model, the HHR. This was the first showing of the production version of the Spark. I really do not like this. Looking rather like a squashed up Toyota Verso, with more lines and creases in the body work than you could imagine, it just looks like the stylist tried too hard.

The new Cruze, on the other hand, actually looks like a much better effort. The front grille still seems a bit awkward, but the rest of the styling is inoffensively near and the interior is a huge leap forward on the old Chevy Cobalt and the Daewoo Lacetti/Nubira that this car will replace. There was a more or less constant throng of people wanting to sit in it – but they all looked like the sort of customer that traditionally bought a Daewoo, which is probably not the progress that Chevrolet was hoping for.
The Corvettes were on a separate stand. 4 of them, including the manic ZR1 which the US press reckons can better a 599GTB, Mercedes SL AMG and 911 GT3 and the like!
The one stand where cost-cutting was rather evident. No special displays, or carpet even, just a collection of cars scattered around the stand, with the 2 Concept cars on turntables. I’d seen both of these before, but they are worthy enough to merit a repeat showing: the Chrysler 200C EV and the Dodge Circuit:

Among the production cars, there were a couple of the recently launched Dodge Journey crossovers and the laughable Dodge Caliber SRT, a car that even the Americans find hard to like. (there were also 2 Dodge Nitros, but those are so horrid that I just ignored them).
Big splash being made for the new C3 Picasso. Branded as “la spacebox” on all the nearby advertising hoardings, this really is a boxy design. It will go head to head with newcomers like the Kia Soul as well as the established players such as Modus, Meriva and Note. I don’t think the C3 would get on my list.

The GT by Citroen made another appearance, tucked away at the back of the stand.
An earlier Concept, the C-Cactus was also staging a reappearance, this time in the “green” area of the stand, along with the more economical versions of the range, all showing how unpolluting they really are.  
First ever Concept Car from Dacia, the Duster, was rather a bold statement among the more mundane Logan and Sandero models.

A large stand, populated with all familiar models, and nothing new to see. Cuore, Trevis, Sirion, Materia Terios and even the diminutive Copen were all on show:

A new name for me. Another one of those “oh……” sort of ranges. Imaginatively called the dr 1, 2, 3, and 5 (I don’t think there was a 4), these are crude and nasty cars all of them, with truly terrible interiors. The website has an Italian url.

One of those stands that only the special few could actually go on. No sign of the 612 Scaglietti, but all the other current models were there. There were both a 599GTB Fiorano HGTE and the 599XX.

There was a California, but it was in black, did not photograph well and was always surrounded by the few people on the stand. A second example was on the Pininfarina stand, and I took my pictures there.
Only the 500 featured on this stand. The new 500C model constituted most of the stand cars, and there was massive interest in these models. The stand “hosts” were all wearing the most incredible dresses, made up of white circles about the size of a 5CHF coin all sown on some form of backing!

A huge stand, and one worth visiting repeatedly, as they were serving up free glasses of green or pink drink, which was refreshing. There were also scratchcard prizes, so I now have 2 Ka-branded tough plastic beakers!

Centrepiece of the stand is the Iosis Max Concept. This looks far better in the metal than it does in the pictures, and I have to hope that a slightly toned down version of this will make it to production in the near future.

New production car of most note was the Focus RS, shown in both blue and lime green, and the rally sport version of it was on show alongside in case we forgot the fact that this car has been successful in the forests and gravel of the world.
The new Ka is not yet a familiar sight on the roads, and there were 4 of them here.
The rest of the stand comprised familiar models, with just a 2.5T engined version of the Kuga being genuinely new.

This is one of the more ungainly supercars, for sure, even though it is unbelievably fast.

Several examples of the new Insight dominated this stand, but they did not seem to be capturing the same level of interest as the visually very similar Prius, which was not far away.

Last hurrah for the S2000, shown in “Final Edition” mode.
The second version of the Jazz was new last autumn, and every variant  of engine and transmission was on show.
The Legend has not been afflicted with the same gauche facelift as its Acura RL alter ego, thankfully.  
The CRZ Concept car made yet another showing. One day we may even see a production version, as long as it can survive the various culls of the more interesting products that Honda keep making.
Also on show was the FCX Clarity. Not because it has any prospect of going on sale in Europe, but simply as part of the technology and environmental message.
The ix-ionic concept is supposedly a very thinly disguised version of the replacement for the Tucson that we will see later in the year.

Production newcomer is the 3 door version of the i20, which joins the 5 door model which was launched last autumn.
A full set of the rest of the production cars were also on show, with several examples of the lauded i10 and i30 to the fore and the Sonata and Grandeur that struggle to capture buyers’ interest in Europe tucked away at the back.
New to Europe last autumn, but not destined for the UK market is the ix55, which is more familiar to the US market as the Veracruz.
The Essence concept car was the highlight here, with a choreographed display, which included showing how the purpose-designed luggage slid in and out of what looked like a rather small and impractical boot. An odd car, quite elegant in some respects, but oddly proportioned in others.

New production vehicle is the convertible version of the G37. I like this, and suspect it will drive well, as it is based on the Nissan 370Z like its sedan and coupe brothers.
Small stand here, with surprisingly little emphasis on the latest XF models. Both the 3.0 D and the XF-R were on the stand, but unless you looked hard, you would never have realised it. The 5.0 litre XK did get its own turntable and highlights.


Gone this was the elaborate pseudo “off-road” show, complete with waterfall. All there was to see, apart from a row of familiar models was the Wrangler on a few rocks.  
Show star here was the rather oddly named “No 3” concept. Now I’ve seen this for real, I can confirm that it is noticeably smaller than the Cee’d, and will be a Modus/Meriva rival. On looks alone, it beats them both.

There were three production versions of the Soul on show. I like this car, and it represents outstanding value for money like all Kia products.
There were several Cee’d cars on show, too. No sign of the convertible, but the familiar hatchback, estate and pro_Cee’d were all there, along with a prototype hybrid model.   
One familiar model, here, the CC8S.

And one newcomer, the Quant. Just odd, this. Very odd.
No sign of Lada. For years, the butt of all the jokes about terrible quality (until the Chinese showed up and decided to beat the Russians at their own game), and deservedly so too, but this time, nowhere to be seen. Thank goodness for small mercies!


One newcomer here: the Freelander Start/Stop.

Of all the stands that were barriered off to the masses, this was the one with the most packed rows of admirers. As it was next to the Audi stand, I was able to get my look before the hordes arrived, and I could see the latest creation, the Murcielago LP670-4 Superveloce. I confirmed that I do not like it!

A new version of the much derided Delta was on show, finished in an odd sort of matt paint, sporting a new 1.8 turbo engine.

The well known Ypsilon and Musa cars made up the rest of the display.
Several examples of the latest RX model were the highlight here. This is one of those cars which looks so similar to the previous model that it will take a trained eye to spot them apart.

The new Evora was the highlight here. I am still not convinced by the styling of this car, and wait to see how well it drives (we should surely be finding out soon?). More familiar offerings were on show, too.

A comprehensive display of the Granturismo and Quattroporte models, here. Not sure about the latest grille on the latter, but all the motoring rags reckon that the other changes have made this the car it always should have been, and it remains one of the best looking executive saloons around.

Two cars featured on this stand, both badged Zeppelin. One of them was rather elegant, and the other one is the current product. This tarted up 57S takes the already rather vulgar current models into a new league of “oh no……”

The 1930s models, however, was the one that everyone seemed to like!
Pride of place went to the new 3 model, with the MPS making its debut. Not quite as visually subtle as the previous model, it will be interesting to see if this helps it to sell better, or whether the Mazda badge remains something of a challenge for people when thinking about hot hatches.
There were several examples of the “cooking” models, too. With an improved interior to match the slightly more brash exterior, this looks like a worthwhile set of improvements to a car that,  when I tested it recently in the US, is somewhat underrated (by Europeans).
The rest of the Mazda range looks pretty good, too, with everything from the 2, through the latest 6, MX5 and CX7 on show.
A huge stand, and at the back, I found (a bit late in the day) that they were dispensing free cups of water and coffee. This was the first chance I got to see a production E Class in the metal. Not impressed by the pictures, it does actually look better when you see one up close, though the odd shaped front headlights will take a bit of getting used to.

The E Class Coupe was also on the stand, and this also looks better than all those countless slightly taped up spy shots suggested. It’s not pretty in the traditional sense, and that cursed bar down the rear side windows, which splits the bit that lowers from that which is fixed, remains awkward looking, but it is certainly not the design disaster I first though.
The McLaren SLR was there in Stirling Moss form. Sadly, this edition detracts still further from a design that I was never that bowled over with.
Among the comprehensive display from the vast range, I noted a few other models, including the G55 AMG, the CL63 AMG, and the much criticised CLC.
This was another popular stand, not least because they were dispensing free cups of water, and you got to keep the rather useful tough plastic Mini-logo-ed cup. Blaring loud music, the cars were swamped, so there is only one picture of the latest range. The show was a chance to see the latest Cabrio model and, launched for the show, the Clubman One. There was an example of the Issigonis Mini, with some publicity about that car’s 50th birthday celebrations at Silverstone at the end of May. Shame that this restored car was in a decidedly non-standard paint finish.

As part of the iMIEV branding, Mitsubishi had one of those odd concept cars, where viewed from side on it is hard to tell the front apart from the back, the Sport Air Concept.

With the facelifted Colt and the rather ungainly Lancer Sportback both now on sale, there was nothing else new to see here.  

This is the centenary of the Malvern based manufacturer, and to celebrate, they had some historic cars on the stand as well as the latest Roadster and Aero cars.

The GT-R is now deemed to be “mainstream” enough, I guess, that it no longer merits its own roped off display. It was still attracting a lot of attention, of course.

Even more attention grabbing was the new 370Z, a car whose looks I cannot quite accept, but with its improved interior and new engine and chassis tweaks will doubtless be even better to drive than its rather fun predecessor.
Two examples of the Cube were on show, in advance of an on sale date in Europe later in 2009.
The Quazana Concept car did not appeal. Supposedly related to a new small crossover that will take over from the Micra, like the Qashqai did to the Almera, it was hard to see how something like this could be productionised without some pretty major change.
The QV200 vehicle that was also a concept was rather smaller, and narrowed than I was expecting. It looked somewhat like a replacement for the unlovely Serena of a few years ago.
At the economy end of the market, there is the new Pixo, a badge-engineered version of the Suzuki Alto. It joins the Micra and Note, both of which appeared in a rather odd shade of brown that would appear to be an “in” colour for 2009.
Highlight here was the Ampera, a close relative of the Chevrolet Volt. I was talking to one of the stand staff. and she was somewhat surprised when I said that I had seen the Volt already (she wanted to know where), and she then tried to tell me that this car is larger than the Volt (she is wrong!). Unlike the US shows, there was very little information on the clever technology associated with this car, it was just a static display car in a mirrored area.

There was some reference to the Insignia’s recent “Car of the Year” victory, but generally, this was a low key stand, with little else of interest. The Big News, assuming GM/Opel are still in business by then, comes with the new Astra which will doubtless one of the star cars of the Frankfurt IAA in September.

Two Zonda cars to see here. Ever more extreme, this brand has established quite a following in the few years since appearing on the market.

I was busy taking pictures of the latest model here, the 3008, when I was approached by a stand representative who opined that this car is really beautiful, is it not. I said that for me at least, it really is not, turned round and noted that she had gone, obviously not wanting to hear any more!

The 308CC, of which numerous examples in white or an odd chocolate brown colour, populated the stand is no oil painting, either. At least the presence of the cabrio meant there was less space for the ugly hatchback.
The RC Hybride concept was on show again, and there was also a hybrid version of the Prologue (which really does look the same as the 3008), giving a clue to Peugeot’s future emissions-controlling technology direction.
A large stand, with a part that everyone could access and a part that everyone could not. Two newcomers: the Cayenne Diesel and the latest 911 GT3. Guess which one attracted more attention?

Lots that was new to see here. Sadly, little of was appealing! A real show surprise was the debut of the latest Scenic and Grand Scenic models, which go on sale in July and May respectively. Draw your own conclusions about the styling, but it seems that the bland Renault face has been married with a rather featureless rear end reminiscent a bit of the Mazda 5.

The Megane Grand Tour was also new. Looking very like a 9/10ths scale Laguna, but presented in some very odd colours, there is nothing wrong with this car, but there is nothing to make it stand out, either.
The facelift for the Clio does stand out, and again, some of the bold colours help. Most of the changes are at the front, and they are not good. The very awkward break in line between the wing and bumper where they meet the headlight is just one of those styling schoolboy errors which should never have happened.
Then there is the Megane RS. Actually, in the metal this is marginally less disappointing than in the pictures, which made it look particularly bland. Even so, it is going to have to drive like nothing else if it is to capture the hearts (and wallets)  of enough people.
Maybe the new Kangoo BeBop will do that? A productionised version of the concept shown last year, this is the inevitable smaller model to slot in the range under the regular Kangoo now it has increased in size again.
One car on the stand did look appealing: the Laguna Coupe.
A reminder of Renault’s sporting prowess came from the latest Megane racer and Formula 1 cars, and the latest Twingo RS completed the line up   
The three Phantom-based cars were at the back of the stand, looking suitably imposing.

In front was the 200EX prototype, and sadly, I never took a picture. Although visually very like the Phantom, when you see it, it really is noticeably smaller (though it is still a big and aristrocratic looking machine). I rather liked it.

On a stand when the highlight is the body-kitted 9.3X, you know that finding new levels of interest will be hard.

The 9.X Air Concept was also on the stand. I have seen this car a couple of times now and on both occasions commented that SAAB really do need something like this to help them. Sadly, I doubt it will ever see production.

Show debut for the Exeo ST, a lightly modified version of the former A4 Avant, just like its saloon relative.

A complete set of the rest of the range was on show, with the Ecomotive range of economy specials looking down on a racing Leon.
One example of the new Yeti was on show. Although watered down somewhat from the Concept, I rather like this.

Also making its debut was the Scout version of the latest Fabia Estate.
Plenty of the current range were also on show, of course.
With only the forTwo in the range, that is all that featured on this stand, but the full gamut of Coupe and Cabrio models, with petrol and diesel power were there, along with an electric version.

If you like bold and a bit brash, these cars may well appeal. Very rare sightings on the road (I saw one at Prescott last year, the only one I’ve ever seen on the road), they are a show regular.

A large stand with lots of familiar cars on it, and the concept version of the new Legacy occupying a turntable in the middle. This is just as awful to see in the flesh as it was in the pictures. I truly hope that Subaru do not simply make this the production car.

The new Alto was making its presence very obvious here, with several examples on show. This looks like a formidable competitor for the also-Indian built Hyundai i10.

The Splash is a recent arrival to the range, and is now also a serious contender in the budget city car market.
The European Nano featured. The cars were locked, and there has to be a reason for this. They looked little different from the cars I saw a year ago, except for the headlight treatment, and these seemed to have the 4 bolts to hold the wheels on.

The latest Indica was also on show. Just think, we could have these as City Rover 2. What a thought!
The Prima was at the centre of the stand, and seemed to be attracting absolutely no interest at all from anyone. Wonder why?
One of the least covered launches was the new Verso. It’s not hard to see why, as it looks so like the old model just with the latest ugly Toyota corporate grille stuck on. It is in fact all new, and is bigger in all dimensions, so there is a bit more space in the third row of seats and bit more space in the boot when all seven seats are occupied. Otherwise, just dull.

The UrbanCruiser goes on sale shortly, and this did seem to be attracting a little more interest.
The new Prius, of which several examples were on show, were really popular. Regardless of what we all think about his car (and its stereotypical drivers), there is no denying that this car has really captured public imagination and there is no reason to suppose that the latest model will not do the same.
Toyota had a lot of display material about technology and the environment, and explained that they will have a variety of different technologies for different markets. To that end, they had an electric vehicle, based on the iQ and a Fuel Cell Vehicle, based on the old Highlander on show.
Of the current production range of more familiar cars, there was a single example of each of the new Avensis saloon and estate, and pictured here a Yaris TR and an Aygo that has had so subtle a facelift you may not spot the changes (the rear lights are the clue).   
Not surprisingly, the new Polo was capturing most of the interest here, with all 4 examples on the stand crowded out for most of the day. This really is the diminutive Golf now, especially when viewed from the interior. I know that it has been condemned as dull and unadventurous, but it will surely sell in large volume.

There was a sole Golf GTi on show, This is even more subtle than Golf V GTi was. I liked the interior, though, and doubtless it will be good to drive.
The facelifted Golf Plus wasn’t exactly capturing the crowds. Practical, but rather dull, just like the last one!
Centrepiece here was the S60 concept. I do rather hope that they built this as presented, as it could reanimate interest in what was once a competent mid-range exec, whose sales have all but stopped (it has just been discontinued in the UK as less than 1000 were sold in 2008).

Small facelift to the S80, but you’d have to look hard to spot it. I await with interest to see if the market thinks that a 1.6D is man enough for this large car…… and indeed if it is man enough!

A couple of examples of the D3 were complemented with the latest 507bhp twin-turbo B7. Whilst the engineering modifications may be impressive, the body kits and styling changes are not. To me, at least.

This specialist does to Jaguar what Alpina does to BMW. Sort of.

A rather pretty 2 seater coupe, one example of which was finished in bright salmon pink. Not perhaps the most subtle colour choice. A nice looking car, anyway, and by all accounts, it drives rather well. A sort of exclusive alternative to a Cayman, though somewhat more costly.

Unlike their early offerings, which had their own body styles to cover Opel mechanicals, the current cars are little modified  Holden Commodores.

A huge stand, with all manner of modified Mercedes

Two different models, here. They have it sussed in the looks department, but quality issues look like they still need some attention, judging by the difficulties that the stand staff had on simple things like shutting the boot lid!

This maker of rather off-beat, and costly creations had three different designs on the stand this year. Odd, all of them.

Eclectic collection of small vehicles on this long established French coachbuilder’s stand.


The ERA. Hmm……..
Not really a specialist manufacturer per se, but certainly not familiar to Europe. The cars on this stand, badged Samand constitute Iran’s contribution to the world of motoring. Looking at the quality of them, they may have been better off in the old Hillman Hunter-based Peykans!

A very varied display of designs here from this much respected design house.

The One-Zero was another of those long exotics that several people decided to show off all the same time.

A second opportunity to see some of the current Pininfarina designs that are in production, with an example of the Ferrari California unspoiled by hordes of excitable children and their parents as seemed to be the case on Ferrari’s own stand. Not sure that grey is the best colour for this rather controversially received design, either.

Show-casing a potential city car design, as seen also at Paris, there was quite a lot of interest in what looked like a design that could both be put into production and which could sell.


Two very different offerings here: a modified Fiat Abarth 500, called the E2  and the iChange
Franco Sbarro’s wild creations have been a feature of the Geneva shows for over 30 years now. This year the stand feature a wide variety of different vehicles

A lone, road-registered Tesla Roadster was occupying a stand in the “Pavillion Vert”. A second one was to be found on the Brabus stand.

Growing in stature, this German marque offers traditional looking sports coupes and roadsters, with powerful BMW engines under the bonnet.

I hardly know where to start here. Not for those with a weak disposition, any of them!


If ever there was a mis-named company, this has to be it. Truly awful, everything!

Compared to some of the other offerings in this section, perhaps the modifications here are not too bad, but they still all spoil the original designs.


Not only were all the offerings on their stand truly terrible, the price tags had to be seen to be believed. Bad taste, it seems, is far from cheap.
So, it was a good show. I spent 10 hours there, from when it opened to a few minutes after it closed, so I definitely got my money’s worth! As I sat on the train on the way back to Zurich, I had three hours to review what I had seen, and to try to reach some conclusions. Picking out the worst vehicle of the show is totally impossible as Desecration Row had just too many contenders. From among production cars, even that is hard, are there is much that I do not like visually that is coming on to the market at present. So I decided to concentrate on the good bits: of all the concept cars, the Ford Iosis Max probably edged it over the Volvo S60 and the Kia No 3. Among the new production cars, I rather liked the Fiat 500C.  I know  it’s not a true convertible, but nor was the Nuova 500 in 1957, and this goes back to the design ethos of that that bit closer than the hatch model. The new S5 (though not with those wheels) is very elegant and would drive well, for sure, so I liked that.  Several of the newcomers would doubtless be a blast to drive, like the new Golf GTi and the latest Abarths, several would be very practical if rather dull like the new Polo, some have that little bit of “je ne sais quoi” for a reasonable price, like the Kia Soul. Although neither was new here – having seen them both at Chicago – and they were not featured on turntables, the two cars I decided I would most love to drive, and own are both on the pricey side: the V10-engined R8 would surely be an excellent compromise between plaything and a car you can live with every day, and then there is the Jaguar XF-R. I loved the white one at Chicago, and I loved the pics of the red ones that the press drove. In black, as it was at Geneva, it looks almost even more subtle. The Good News? Well, it’s a similar price to my S6, so it has to be a very real contender in 3 years time. Yes, for me, the Jaguar XF-R is the one that really did it above all else.

2009-11-30 02:52:48

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *