Showrooms of Champs-Élysées – October 2010

There are lots of things to do in Paris, and on a sunny autumn day, as was the case for my recent visit, you might think that spending an hour in some car showroom just a day after having caught up with all the latest products at the Mondial de l’Automobile would be a slightly strange choice of how to spend a morning. Having enjoyed the special displays to be found in the showrooms of the Champs-Élysées  on previous visits, though, I knew that this would be time well spend and that there would be plenty to see and divert. l was not wrong!

Renault were celebrating the fact that they have had a showroom on the  Champs-Élysées for 100 years, and had a special exhibition of cars from their “Histoire et Collection” from the ages, along with some backdrops with contemporary pictures on them. This all amounted to the best display.

1973 Renault R5 TL

1992 Renault Twingo
1976 Renault R16TX
1899 Renault Type A – the very first ever Renault
1914 Renault Type AG, the famous “Taxi de la Marne”
This 2004 Renault vel Satis was adorned with the autographs of many famous movie stars, as it was used to celebrate a 50 year association between Renault and the Canes Film Festival.
1950 Renault 4CV. Can you imagine undertaking a rally in hostile terrain for thousands of miles in a car like this?
This 1966 R4L, the “quatrelle” as it was affectionately known would not have been a much more comfortable rally warrior, either.
The most imposing vehicle in the collection was this, a 1936 NervaSport. Before the second world war, Renault produced a range of very expensive luxury cars like this, one of 150 or so built in 1936/37. It looked absolutely fabulous.
A splendid display indeed.

The focus of the Toyota showroom was, unsurprisingly, around their Hybrid technology, with a mixture of concept and production cars on show.

This is very much a concept vehicle, showing how the family car of the future could evolve.

There were examples of both the production Prius and the plug-in hybrid car that will hit the streets soon.
The Auris HSD crept onto the market during 2010, and has made far less impact than the Prius.  
The lighting in here makes this the most difficult showroom in which to take pictures. At the front of the displays was an example of the latest CLS.

At the very back was the SLS AMG.
Other cars on show included the latest CL Coupe:
This is the smallest and most disappointing of the three French marques’ display areas, and because of its shape as well as size, always appears to be the most crowded. Even so, it was worth a few minutes, and these were the main display cars.

The Ion is poised to to enter production, and so small eco friendly cars set the set for the display, with the Ion itself generating a surprising amount of interest.

These vehicles date back to 1996, and look very similar to the Smart which would have still been under wraps at that time.
I wish this horror would stay under wraps. Seeing it again at the Motor Show was bad enough, but it would seem that Peugeot have built more than one of the hideous things.
Centrepiece of their display was this.
The most striking of all the facilities is the Citroen one, with a series of turntables on each floor, and a set of stairs which take the visitor up the front of the building where lots of light shines through the huge plate glass windows. Citroen took their 2011 range as the theme, and with several new cars to show, it is not hard to see why, though these were interspersed with some novelties.

DS4 in a particularly unpleasant shade of brown.

C5 estate in a matt finish that is allegedly going to be available to the public in 2011
New C4, a car that I find hard to like.
The Survolte concept car
DS3 R. I had a good look at this, and sat in one. I have to conclude that I do not like it. Many of the graphics are stick on and look like they will last ten minutes or the first car wash. That, of course, may be a good thing.
The Citroen version of the electric car is the C-Zero, and this one was encased in a special perspex cover, to make the point that it will be totally silent.
On the top floor, there was a regular DS3, also not really to my taste.
In the basement, there was an example of the successful WRC C4 model, which was proving a popular attraction, with lots of people wanting to take their picture next to the cut outs of the two drivers.
Further down the Champs-Élysées, I spotted a Fiat Group showroom, which houses cars from Abarth, Fiat, Alfa, Lancia and Jeep. There is not much space in there, but I did get a rather more peaceful seat in a Giulietta, and in the basement where there was a display of the TwinAir Fiat 500s, they also had an unusual sculptured plant pot.

Back upstairs. there was an Abarth Trofeo model.
Overall, an interesting diversion before resuming the more traditional Parisian sight-seeing.
2010-10-17 17:11:38

Leave a Reply

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