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2005 Frankfurt Show: Last Words

2005 Ford iosis concept

2005 Ford iosis concept

2005 Frankfurt Auto Show Index by TCC Team (9/5/2005)






TCC Team



2005 Ford iosis concept

2005 Ford iosis concept

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Best New Concept: Ford’s iosis should actually win two awards: best concept and worst name — though the Yeti came close in the latter category. While iosis sounds like something you need to cure, it could be the fix for a variety of Ford’s problems, starting with the automaker’s seeming addiction to boring design. Though there are derivative elements in the iosis, which remind me of both the new Aston V8 Vantage and Mazda RX-8, Martin Smith’s concept is a visual winner. Honorable mention, by the way, to Mazda’s Sassou, while the Mercedes Bionic Car may have been the show’s oddest entry.


Best New Production Car: I’m tempted to give the nod to the new European Honda Civic, which generated a lot of buzz in media circles. But I’m personally quite fond of convertibles and am glad to see the emergence of more mainstream retractable hardtop versions. That said, I had to think about which I preferred most, the new Opel Astra Twin Top or the Volkswagen Eos. I’ll give the nod to the latter because of its trick, dual-purpose roof, which also has a more conventional sunroof mode.

2005 Kia Sedona

2005 Kia Sedona

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Most Significant Production Vehicle: This is an easy one, and I’ll likely debate my own choice for some time to come, since it’s arguably not the product many of us had hoped for. But there’s little doubt that the new S-Class will remain the industry benchmark for top-end luxury vehicles, despite a number of shortfalls. And ironically, it’s interesting to see Mercedes unabashedly borrow the controversial “Bangle Butt,” the top-heavy deck lid first shown on the 2002 BMW 745i.


Best Press Conference: For me, the best was probably among the worst moments Chrysler PR chief Jason Vines has staged in a long career of made-for-TV previews. Often, Chrysler events really are fun, but all too often, you know you’re just there to provide backdrop for the cameras. In the case of the Jeep Compass and Patriot launch, however, things didn’t go quite right, thanks to an anxious crane operator pulling away the prop. The look on CEO Tom LaSorda’s face was priceless, but he proved himself a real trooper and ad-libbed his way through.


Worst Press Conference: Good luck getting it right next time, Geely. The automaker’s name literally means, “good luck,” staged the most confusing and incoherent preview I’ve ever attended. Or was it a preview. There were five cars there, but despite every effort to break through the language barrier, company officials never could explain their intentions, except with the cryptic response, “We are not ready to get married yet.”


Who’s On Top: Not quite the answer this question calls for, but in one sense, Toyota is on top in Europe right now. Oh, it’s still got a long way to go before catching up with the continent’s biggest players, and unlike the U.S., we can’t foresee a time when it will threaten even the industry’s giant. But the talk of this show was hybrid technology. Love it or hate it, the European powers that be have accepted they have to follow Toyota’s lead.


Who’s In The Barrel: Jaguar. It wasn’t that many years ago we were writing about the British maker’s “success story.” But since then, it seems, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. With sales plunging, a plant closing, and its new XJ sedan struggling for sales, a lot depends on the next-generation XK sports car. I think it’s a reasonably handsome vehicle, but it doesn’t have that, “oh, my gosh,” eye-catching quality of the two-door it replaces. So it could be a tough struggle for the Ford subsidiary.


Personal Best: I am going to intentionally duck this topic, but only to make a point. I can provide a long list of interesting and intriguing products, including the VW Eos, the Ford iosis, the Astra Twin Top and more, but what was most notable about this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show is that Europe’s premier automotive event really didn’t deliver any hands-down winners. Nothing stood out as a sold trendsetter or breakthrough.

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