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2002 Paris Auto Show, Part II


2002 Paris Auto Show logo

2002 Paris Auto Show logo

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The Paris Auto Show press days are over, but you can revisit our 2002 Paris Show index of coverage for all the news from the City of Lights.

 

HOW HIGH IS TOO HIGH?
This year’s Mondial de l’Automobile features an unusually high percentage of ultra-luxury introductions, ranging from the Bentley Continental GT to the Ferrari Enzo. TCC’s data suggests that if all the products hitting the street at $150,000 or more achieve their sales targets, they would reach annual volumes of at least 18,000 units annually, and perhaps more than 20,000. That may not sound like much in an industry selling 70 million or more vehicles a year. But the ultra-luxury segment accounted for only about 7000 vehicles in 2001. Some skeptics think there could be big trouble ahead, especially if the U.S. economy continues to slip. The States are, after all, the world’s largest luxury market. But vehicles like the Bentley and DaimlerChrysler’s new Maybach have “nothing to do with the car business,” countered Bernd Pischetsrieder, CEO of Volkswagen AG, which owns ultra-lux brands Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti. “If you have enough temptation,” he says, in the form of new products, “there is an endless number of customers who will queue up.” That position is echoed by Merrill Lynch auto analyst John Casesa, who notes “over the last 15 years, a lot of people have become millionaires,” and want something distinctive from more run-of-the-mill, mass produced luxury cars. —TCC Team
Carmakers in a Horsepower War by TCC Team (5/13/2002)


 

2003 Ford Sportka

2003 Ford Sportka

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FORD’S NEW MATH
“We’re still a six out of 10 in terms of product execution,” Ford of Europe Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David W. Thursfield told TheCarConnection during the roll-out of the automaker’s latest European products on Thursday. “We’ve got a long way to go, but a lot of things are coming. TCC has already shown the new Ford Streetka; Thursday morning’s unveiling revealed two additional vehicles, a three-door version of the Fiesta minicar, and the Sportka, a peppy version of the Ford’s little Ka microcar. It features a 1.6-liter, 95-horsepower engine. The automaker is coming close to completing a promise to roll out 45 new products over five years as part of its product-led European revival program. —TCC Team
Streetka: Paris Auto Show, Part I by TCC Team (9/26/2002)

2003 Ford Fiesta

2003 Ford Fiesta

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2003 Ford Fiesta three-door

 

 

 

 

2003 Ferrari Enzo

2003 Ferrari Enzo

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FERRARI BOWS TO PRESSURE
Auto executives like to say they always like to produce one car short of demand. But what do you do when you receive a steady flow of complaints that you’ve more seriously shorted the potential market for your $700,000 sports car? In the case of the new Enzo, Ferrari’s fastest and most powerful road car ever, you crank up production from 349 to 399. But the Italian marque won’t have to worry about vehicles gathering dust at the dealer showroom. “We have already sold out all the cars,” announced Luca de Montezemolo, chairman of Ferrari-Maserati. “So on the day of the (public introduction), this car is no longer available.” Named for Ferrari’s legendary founder, the Enzo will churn out 650 horsepower, hit a top speed of 217 mph, and launch from a dead stop to 60 in 3.6 seconds. —TCC Team

 

2004 Bentley Continental GT

2004 Bentley Continental GT

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BENTLEY DANCES THE CONTINENTAL
Bentley finally pulled the covers off its long-awaited new sports coupe, branding the $150,000 vehicle the Continental GT. The name—and the new car’s styling—are meant to evoke memories of one of the most widely renowned Bentleys ever built, the 1952 Continental R. Expected to boast more than 500 horsepower when it reaches dealer showrooms next year, the Conti GT will have a lot riding on it. On January 1, Bentley officially splits off from its partner of 71 years; to be owned by BMW then, Rolls-Royce moves to a new plant near Southampton, while Bentley stays in the small British town of Crewe. Its new German parent, Volkswagen AG, has invested about $750 million in Bentley, according to the luxury marque’s CEO, Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen, who previously served as chairman of VW’s Audi brand. About a third to one half less expensive than Bentley’s existing models, Paefgen nonetheless believes the buyers of the Continental will be “more demanding and discerning than we have seen before.” So the new sports coupe will require a higher level of technology, refinement and performance than older-style Bentleys. —TCC Team

 

2004 Jaguar XJ Paris auto show

2004 Jaguar XJ Paris auto show

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JAGUAR XJ: SILVER SPECTER
Jaguar staged a blinding debut of its new XJ on Thursday, rolling out a mirrored silver sedan designed to quite literally highlight the fact that the seventh-generation flagship is made of lightweight aluminum. In a slap at the much-maligned BMW 7-Series, Jaguar Managing Director Mike Beasley declared his company’s goal with the XJ is to “embrace relevant, state-of-the-art technology that helps, rather than baffles, the driver.” The lightest version of the new four-door is 440 pounds lighter than the last-generation XJ, meaning more performance from conventional engines. And that will allow Jaguar to bring back the old XJ6 nameplate, using a new, 3.5-liter V-6. Unlike the Audi A8, which is built around a complex spaceframe, the new Jaguar uses a relatively conventional monococque chassis and body, though instead of welding, most joints are riveted or glued together. —TCC Team
Preview: 2004 Jaguar XJ by TCC Team (9/16/2002)


 
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