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The Warsaw Voice » Society » April 7, 2010
Geneva Motor Show
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The Future Is Now
April 7, 2010 By Bartosz Grzybiński   
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The Geneva International Motor Show, held every spring, is one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the world, showcasing new trends in car design. This spring, Geneva oozed optimism.

The Geneva show is one of the "big five" world motor shows, the other four being Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Detroit. Although the Geneva show is not the largest as far as exhibition space and the number of exhibitors and visitors are concerned, it is considered to be one of the most prestigious motor shows in the world. Due to space restrictions, Geneva only shows the best products without any unnecessary pomp or gimmicks. For years, car manufacturers have picked the Geneva show as the place to unveil their latest offerings. Maybe it is the neutrality of Switzerland or just the spring weather that makes them optimistic. The reasons why producers choose to come to Geneva are many, but the goal for each exhibitor is one and the same and that is to captivate audiences and make them spend the rest of the year talking about the exhibitor's car or prototype as the fastest, most beautiful and most environmentally friendly of all.

Geneva regularly witnesses the birth of new design trends, the wildest ideas and state-of-the-art technology. The show is the first opportunity for a wider public and industry insiders to rate concept cars. This year, nobody left the show disappointed. Among the 100 world and European premieres, 16 were cars with electric or alternative drivetrains, so everybody could pick what suited them best.

New or redesigned models were unveiled in each market segment. Premieres in the small car segment included the new Audi A1, the Seat Ibiza ST, sporty versions of the Renault Clio, VW Polo and Skoda Fabia, and the new Nissan Micra. The brightest stars among compact cars were the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, the hybrid Lexus CT 200h and the third-generation Ford Focus. In the mid-range segment, visitors were particularly impressed by the new Volvo S60, and in the executive segment the new BMW5 stole the show. New arrivals among minivans included the Volkswagen Sharan and the second-generation Opel Meriva and Mazda 5. There were many new SUVs, including the Mitsubishi ASX, Dacia Duster, Nissan Juke, Mini Countryman, Kia Sportage and the new-generation Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne. Last but not least, there were sports and luxury cars such as various models of Bugatti, Bentley, Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini.

The show satisfied conservative fans of traditional design and engines as well as automotive environmentalists. A pronounced trend that emerged a few years ago and keeps gaining popularity are hybrid cars. The leader in this department is Japan with Honda and Toyota, but hybrids are now commonplace with all manufacturers. Interestingly, even typical sports makes such as Ferrari, which until recently vowed to remain faithful to combustion engines, have announced plans to design hybrids. A hybrid Ferrari? Unbelievable...

A closer look at the Peugeot SR1, 5byPeugeot and Mercedes F800 concept cars shows the direction in which the car industry will develop. The future looks bright and the future is now.

  • The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is one of the most beautiful compact cars and such cars constitute a major part of the European market. This year, Alfa Romeo turns 100 and the Giulietta is a tribute to the brand.
    "The new Giulietta was designed to satisfy the most demanding customers in terms of performance and safety," said Bogusław Cie¶lar from the Fiat Auto Poland press office. "Once the car is put on the market, it will be available in four engine versions, all complying with the Euro 5 standard and fitted with a Start&Stop system. The car will be available in Polish showrooms as of May."

  • Honda focused on ecology at Geneva and unveiled a hybrid coupe called CR-Z. "The hybrid powertrain combines a high-performance 1.5-liter gasoline engine with an electric motor," said Magdalena Kędzierska, PR specialist at Honda Poland. "The flexible design of the IMA hybrid system makes it possible to combine it with a six-speed manual transmission so that the car can take full advantage of the torque, with fuel economy at just five liters per 100 kilometers. This is the follow-up model to the Honda Civic and Insight and we will start selling it halfway through this year."

  • Mercedes-Benz unveiled a range of models at the Geneva Motor Show, including the F800 Style concept car. "This car exemplifies new trends in Mercedes design," said Piotr Wójcik, PR specialist at Daimler Polska. "It is equipped with a trial self-driving system that, apart from handling the accelerator and brakes at speeds ranging from 0 to 40 km per hour, can automatically turn the car."

  • The new compact Mitsubishi unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show is called ASX. The acronym stands for Active Smart (X)Crossover and is a reference to the ASC Concept car which was unveiled in Detroit in 2001 to herald the arrival of the Mitsubishi Outlander.
    "The name is a good starting point for a new range of crossover cars in Europe," said Kinga Lisowska, PR manager at Mitsubishi Motors Poland. "It is a nod to customers interested in unconventional compact cars."

  • Opel gave a foretaste of the future at Geneva, exhibiting affordable cars based on German know-how, innovative technology, fuel economy and environmental awareness, according to Przemysław Byszewski, PR director at GM Poland.
    The new Meriva, for example, is trendy and functional, with flexible design and an innovative luggage compartment, Byszewski said. The car was designed using feedback from customers.

  • The new Volvo S60 is more dynamic and responsive than any other model before it, according to Mariusz Nycz, PR and marketing manager at Volvo Auto Polska. "It is an example of the best Scandinavian design and the make's unique approach to safety issues," Nycz said. Alongside the City Safety system, available as a standard feature, the car comes with a Pedestrian Detection system that detects and warns the driver about any pedestrians who might run out into the road in front of the car. If necessary, the system automatically activates the brakes at full force. "This is the only such system on the market," Nycz said.

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