2005 Frankfurt Show Preview, Part IV Page 2

September 6, 2005

Peugeot’s Trike

Peugeot always has a different view when it comes to concept cars, but the company’s offering for Frankfurt is further than usual into left field. It’s a two-seat open-topped sports car — with just three wheels. Although Peugeot says the car, called the 20Cup, “reveals a number of technological advances that will feature in future models in years to come,” it’s unlikely that a single driven rear wheel will be among them.

What will be among them is the 20Cup’s engine, the first fruit of a collaboration between the French firm’s parent, PSA Peugeot Citroen, and BMW. It develops 170 hp and should propel the lightweight concept very quickly.

The three-wheel configuration isn’t new or unique; British specialist manufacturer Grinnall has been building and selling such vehicles for some years now, using BMW motorcycle engines that push the compact little car to 100 mph and beyond with outrageous acceleration.


Sassy Sassou

2005 Mazda Sassou concept

2005 Mazda Sassou concept

Enlarge Photo
Another gas-saving citycar at Frankfurt will come from Mazda, in the form of the Sassou (pronounced, Mazda has decided, “say-so”). It’s a small, lightweight, three-door hatchback powered by a turbocharged, three-cylinder, 1.0-litre MZR DISI (Direct Injection Spark Ignition) gasoline engine. The design concept “indicates a possible direction Mazda might take for a future B-segment vehicle.”

Conceived and designed at Mazda’s European R & D centre in Oberursel, near Frankfurt, the Sassou’s design concept is based in part on the “Shoji” principle. Shoji screens are thin Japanese doors that partially hide what is behind them. For instance, translucent plastic hides the front and rear lamps, which only become visible once the car is unlocked, with light pulsing around the exterior light graphics in a way that makes the car “seem to come alive”.

The Shoji principle is carried over into the concept’s interior systems are conceived to be used with a universal serial bus (USB) stick key that functions in place of a traditional key and includes a remote central locking function. Using this, the driver can operate all the important functions through a screen in the centre stack. When a function is selected, light circuits illuminate a path to the selected feature.

The USB stick key can be downloaded at home with music and favorite hot spots, which can then be uploaded onto the car’s hard disc drive and navigation system. The Sassou has room for either three or four occupants, employing a rear seat morphing system that uses compressed air to arrange the back seat area for two passengers or one in the middle.

Work on the Sassou no doubt started back when gas was an affordable $40 a barrel; current conditions are no doubt making product planners assess them very seriously for production. On an optimistic note, it should be remembered that the original Issigonis Mini was the direct result of increasing gas prices in Britain in the mid-1950s.


Ford’s New Direction

2005 Ford Iosis concept

2005 Ford Iosis concept

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Ford of Europe describes the iosis concept car it will reveal in Frankfurt as evidence of its design strategy for the next generation of European road cars. Following the four-door coupe outline that has been a recent trend in concepts from Mercedes and Jaguar (rapidly translated into a production model by the German manufacturer) the iosis is designed to show that future Fords will look more sporting, dynamic, and exciting. It is not, however, the precursor of a future production model, rather an indicator of future trends.
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