2002 Paris Auto Show logoEnlarge Photo
subscribe CHRYSLER TRYING EUROPE AGAIN
The U.S. arm of DaimlerChrysler AG has spent years trying to find a way to build demand for its brand in Europe, but so far with little success. While its Jeeps and minivans can be seen on the streets of Paris and other cities across the continent, Chrysler can claim barely a 0.7-percent share of the competitive European market. That doesn’t mean it’s giving up, according to Dieter Zetsche, CEO of the U.S. carmaker. “We believe we can create steady growth and double our volume in the (upcoming) three to five year timeframe,” he declared during a press preview of the Paris Motor Show. Zetsche stressed that Chrysler will not try to come up with products specifically geared for Europe. Quite the contrary. To succeed, it needs “very unique, pushing-the-envelope type products,” such as the California Cruiser, a two-toned version of the PT Cruiser, which is getting its first showing in Europe. Chrysler would have to make some concessions, Zetsche acknowledged, in the form of right-hand-drive and diesel engines. Diesels now account for nearly half the overall market in Europe. —TCC Team
2002 Dodge Razor conceptSURVIVING BY A RAZOR’S EDGE?
Chrysler’s popular Razor concept vehicle may be in for a reprieve. Dodge unveiled the retro-styled roadster at the Detroit auto show last January, but despite strong public response, it had looked like Chrysler wouldn’t put the orange-colored coupe into production. Well, speaking at a preview of the Paris Motor Show, the automaker’s CEO, Dieter Zetsche, suggested Chrysler is having second thoughts. “Razor is not in front position to go into production,” Zetsche said, quickly adding that, “this is not a ‘no.’” —TCC Team
2002 Dodge Razor conceptEnlarge Photo
2003 Porsche CayenneDIESEL? WHAT DIESEL?
It would seem an oxymoron to put a high-mileage diesel into the new Porsche Cayenne, a prospect the automaker’s CEO, Wendelin Wiedeking, took pains to put to rest during the first showing of the actual SUV/sports car hybrid. (Porsche released a few Cayenne photos to the press last March.) It makes no sense to spend money developing a diesel if Porsche can sell all the gasoline-powered Cayennes it can build, according to Wiedeking. Well, perhaps for now, but German sources tell TheCarConnection that Porsche is preparing a contingency plan recognizing the dramatic European shift towards diesels. To hold down costs, the Stuttgart sports car maker would likely turn to its long-time ally, Volkswagen, which partnered on the development of Cayenne and the similarly conceived VW Touareg. VW is expected to offer at least one, and possibly several diesel options in its own version of the SUV. —TCC Team
2003 Porsche CayenneEnlarge Photo
2003 Ford StreetkaTAKING IT TO THE STREET
Ford pulled the wraps off the Streetka, a stubby roadster that started life as a European concept study. Designed by the Ghia studios and bearing more than a little resemblance to the Audi TT Cabrio, the Streetka is based off the newest incarnation of Ford’s mini-compact Fiesta. “Streetka will be almost an icon,” predicted David Thursfield, head of Ford’s European operations. The Streetka was originally designed for a limited production run, reflecting the fast ups-and-downs of stylish niche products. But Thursfield predicted the two-seater likely would maintain its popularity far longer than expected. Meanwhile, Ford also got a jump on the primary press days in Paris, unveiling a multipurpose version of its popular Focus line. Dubbed the Focus C-Max, Thursfield promised the prototype will shortly go into production, and deliver a surprising amount of interior space as well as “great driving dynamics.” —TCC Team
2003 Ford StreetkaEnlarge Photo