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2004 Geneva Show Preview II


2004 Geneva Motor Show Index by TCC Team (2/22/2004)

 

The mists are beginning to clear over plans for the Geneva Auto Show. Once again, it looks like there will be a good crop of concepts and new production cars to make sure the only major auto show held in a country with no indigenous manufacturers will be as interesting as ever.

2004 Renault Wind concept

2004 Renault Wind concept

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Among the concepts promised, the most interesting is likely to be Renault’s Wind, a three-seater roadster that looks as though it could be turned into production reality with the minimum of effort. Renault denies any production plans, but we know how public reaction to show concepts can sway company policies, particularly in these days of niche vehicles. The Wind is a compact open-topped model that eschews the common failing of two vestigial rear seats and replaces them with a central perch that would not be as comfortable as the two front seats but would offer a degree of comfort to an occasional second passenger. Power comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 136 hp, so performance would be adequate, and the curvaceous looks should attract plenty of “When can I buy one” interest. Technically, the car is interesting because of new modular radiator technology from French firm Valeo. The Wind has two small units, set low at the front, and Valeo says the technology is ready for production use now.

Fiat will be showing a concept that looks back to the cute small cars that were part of every Italian street scene from the Fifties to the Eighties. The Fiat Trepiuno (“three plus one”) follows the Fiat tradition of the original 500 — or “Topolino” (Mickey Mouse), as the Italians called it — the New 500 and the 600. The style is decidedly derivative of the earlier cars, but Fiat says it’s purely a concept and there are no thoughts of production. In view of the fact that Fiat’s current small car, the Seicento, is a bit long in the tooth and that the Italian market, with its crowded city streets, has taken the Smart car to its bosom, the reaction to the official line is “You’ve got to be kidding.”

 

2004 Toyota TMSC concept

2004 Toyota TMSC concept

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There will be plenty of two-seaters in Geneva, but none as way out as the Motor Triathlon Race Car (MTRC) concept on the Toyota stand. A tandem-seat racer powered by four electric motors in the wheels, the MTRC isn’t exactly serious as a car. It is, however, serious in the context of one of Japan’s other major export enterprises — video games. The car is featured in ‘Gran Turismo 4’ the next generation of Sony Computer Entertainment’s massively popular game. The MTRC is the work of Toyota’s European design studio, ED2.

 

 

2004 Mazda MX-Flexa concept

2004 Mazda MX-Flexa concept

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Mazda has issued a sketch of a concept it will unveil on press day that foreshadows how it sees the Space Wagon developing. The MX-Flexa , a six-seat MPV, “showcases key elements that could further improve Mazda’s position in the growing space-wagon segment.” According to the company, the design team “put particular focus on adding new levels of emotional appeal.”

 


 
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