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2003 Geneva Show, Part I


 

 

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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Renault’s Mégane Takes Scenic Route

2004 Renault Megane Scenic

2004 Renault Megane Scenic

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When Renault launched the Scenic version of its Mégane compact sedan in 1996 it created a whole new market segment in Europe, that of the mini-MPV. Renault sold a stack of Scenics, and manufacturers like GM, Ford, Citroen and VW had to follow. The big question when Renault introduced its new Mégane last year, in three and five-door versions, was what the new Scenic would be like. Well now we know, and judging by the people looking at the display model on the Renault stand this morning, the rest of the industry wants all the details on the new car so that it won’t be caught napping when the new Scenic goes on sale later this year. Although the first two days at Geneva are supposed to be for the press, it’s amazing how many press tickets get into the hands of the representatives of the manufacturers and suppliers who are charged with finding out in detail what the opposition is up to. Renault’s Chairman and CEO, Louis Schweitzer, had hardly finished his speech before the sole Scenic on display disappeared under a crowd of people wielding cameras, notebooks and tape measures and inspecting every detail in the closest possible way. It wasn’t long before Renault staff had chased them out of the car and locked the doors to keep some of the details out of the reach of the industrial spies.

From the look of the car and the reaction of the corporate espionage specialists, it looks as though Renault will have another hit on its hands when the car comes to market. It has more MPV features than the original Scenic, including a dash-mounted gearshift to maximize interior space and an information center in the dash that can be seen by all the occupants. The styling follows that of the Mégane sedan, but without that car’s quirky rear-window arrangement, and it’s a full five-seater. Later, Renault promises, there will be a seven-seater version on a nine-inch longer wheelbase.



Adieu Avantime, Âllo Mégane Cabriolet

2004 Renault Megane Coupe

2004 Renault Megane Coupe

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Alongside the new Scenic was another Mégane-based car that’s due later in the year. It’s a stylish coupe/cabriolet, with a retractable steel hardtop developed in association with convertible specialists Karmann of Germany. Mercedes set the ball rolling in this field with the SLK, and Peugeot followed up with the 206CC. The market has tripled in ten years, and Renault wants a slice of it.One car that wasn’t on the Renault stand was the individually styled Avantime, the two-door, four-seat different slant on a GT car that went into production in 2001. Sales have not lived up to expectations, and last week the company took the decision to cease production, ensuring the Avantime’s place as a future collectible.

 


Volvo Gets Versatility In Gear

2003 Volvo Versatility Concept

2003 Volvo Versatility Concept

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Volvo weighed down under praise and orders for the XC90 crossover, chosen as Truck of the Year in Detroit, showed another in its series of concepts, following the Adventure Concept, which turned into the XC90 and the Performance Concept that turned into the S60R and V70R. This one’s called the Versatility Concept Car, described as “a vision of a future V-Range car in the luxury segment using Scandinavian design principles.” Combining elements of the station wagon with those of a luxury sedan, the VCC offers excellent luggage-carrying capacity and doors that open extremely wide (in the newly-fashionable ‘suicide’ style at the rear) to offer easy entry and exit. Power comes from a 2.6-liter in-line six that has been tuned for economy with new turbo technology and a system that stops the engine at rest and restarts it when traffic starts moving again.

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