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2003 Geneva Show, Part III


 

 

TCC's Auto Show Index by TCC Team (2/23/2003)
Our coverage of the world's major auto shows, year to year.

2003 Geneva Motor Show Index by TCC Team (3/3/2003)
All the best from the Swiss car event of the year
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Audi Muscles In

2003 Audi Nuvolari concept

2003 Audi Nuvolari concept

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The Nuvolari Coupe is officially a “study,” at least for the moment, but the concept vehicle drew some admiring stares during the opening morning of press previews at the Geneva Motor Show. Declaring it a blend of “power, elegance and emotional desire,” Audi CEO Martin Winterkorn noted the aluminum-spaceframe Nuvolari delivers 600-hp through its V-10 engine. There’s no question Audi is hoping to shift direction a bit under the direction of Bernd Pischetsrieder, who took over as CEO of parent Volkswagen AG last year. But the German executive cautioned that in current form, “we would have to change things” on the show car before it could go into production. The sleek and swoopy design doesn’t reflect changing market demand, Pischetsrieder told TheCarConnection. A production version would have to offer room for four adults, and that would require changing the design to permit a functional rear seat.

 

VW Unwilling To Trade Profits For Share

2004 Volkswagen Touran

2004 Volkswagen Touran

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“We’ve got to preserve profits,” Jens Neumann, VW board member in charge of North America, told TCC during a break in the Geneva action. So, while the German automaker has been forced to up its incentives in recent weeks, Volkswagen has no interest in going head-to-head with the American Big Three — even if that means losing sales and market share. The price for short-term gains would hurt the brand’s image in the long-run Neumann insisted, stressing VW’s interest in moving up-market. But he acknowledged that means his company will almost certainly lose ground in North America over the next year as it awaits a new line of products. That includes the next-generation Golf, which made its debut in Geneva. The Touran hatchback has been redesigned to go after the likes of the popular Renault Megane Scenic. A more conventional version of the Golf will not reach U.S. shores for close to another year. Neumann said VW expects to get a bit of a boost from the U.S. launch of its new Touareg SUV later this year. Volkswagen’s first SUV will start at around $40,000 with a V-8, and the automaker hopes that will draw customers away from the much higher-priced BMW X5. Meanwhile, Neumann said VW is studying options for the big price gap between the Passat sedan and the Touareg sport-ute. A roadster is one distinct possibility. For now, there are “only studies,” however, and new product probably wouldn’t reach market until at least 2007.

 

Lambo Gallardo Takes the Red Cape

2004 Lamborghini Gallardo

2004 Lamborghini Gallardo

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The long-awaited “baby Lamborghini,” the Gallardo, was finally and formally unveiled at a well-attended press conference on Tuesday. Boasting a 5.0-liter V-10 putting out 500 horsepower, the Giugiaro-designed two-seater will launch from 0-100 km/h (62.5 mph) in just 4.2 seconds, and pull a top speed of 309 km/h, or 193 miles an hour. The Italian automaker, a subsidiary of Audi, is counting on the Gallardo to “open up new dimensions for Lamborghini,” declared the automaker’s top executive, Dr. Werner Mischke. If it meets expectations, Gallardo will boost the company’s annual sales from 400 to at least 1000. Critical to the expanded appeal, Mischke stressed, is that the $150,000 sports car will be designed “can also be used every day,” unlike conventional Lambo models, such as the bigger Murcielago.


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