2005 Geneva Motor Show Preview

February 14, 2005

2005 Geneva Motor Show Index by TCC Team (2/13/2005)

A mini-MPV concept from Hyundai, the first Lexus diesel, an all-new luxury Citroen and the convertible version of the Ferrari F430 are the latest additions to the list of new cars to be unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show, which opens to the public on March 3. They join new production cars from Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Mazda, Subaru, and Bentley, plus concepts from Nissan and others yet to be announced, in a flow of introductions that underline the Salon de l’automobile’s standing as the world’s most truly international auto show.


Mazda Miata

2006 Mazda Miata

2006 Mazda Miata

Mazda has issued a tease picture of the all-new Miata (sold in Europe as the MX5) clad in the disguise-panels designed to spoil the day of spy photographers such as TCC's Brenda Priddy. The wraps will come off (literally) at a press conference to be held on Tuesday March 1 at the Geneva show. Naturally, TCC will be there to bring news and pictures as they happen over in Switzerland. —Ian Norris




Hyundai HED-1

2005 Hyundai HED-1 concept

2005 Hyundai HED-1 concept

The Hyundai concept, the HED-1, follows up on themes already explored in the E3 concept first shown last year. Hyundai sees the two styling studies as conversation-starters on the subject of future MPVs designed with city use as a major part of their owners’ lifestyles. Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer at Hyundai’s European design studio near Frankfurt, said of the concept: “As our customers demand more flexibility, and ever-increasing levels of quality and sophistication, total concept cars such as the HED-1 allow us to prepare for these demands, but also to gauge the reaction of potential future customers.”


Lexus IS

Lexus will bow to the importance of the Geneva show by choosing it for the world premiere of the new IS sedan. It will also show its awareness of the importance of the European market by displaying the car with the first diesel engine to power a Lexus. Led by Mercedes and BMW, European luxury manufacturers are finding that a diesel option is vital for success in the business-car market. Lexus’ introduction of a diesel for its smaller sedan shows Toyota's upmarket arm is able to respond to market forces — although it is among the last of the top manufacturers to offer a diesel.


Citroen C6

2005 Citroen C6

2005 Citroen C6

The Lexus will face a new competitor in Europe in the shape of the Citroen C6, a new top-of-the-line car from the French manufacturer. Citroen has been without a luxury sedan for some time, but in the year that marks the fiftieth anniversary of the introduction of the legendary DS series, the company is about to unveil a car that follows the pattern set by its illustrious forebear.

The C6 lacks the radical elements of styling and engineering that marked the DS, but it promises to be a worthy successor as a smooth and comfortable freeway cruiser. Powered by new V-6 engines, a 3.0-liter gasoline unit providing 215 hp and a 208-hp 2.7-liter diesel, both linked to six-speed gearboxes, the car features a new active suspension design with variable dampers. Comfortable cruising is high on the designers’ list of priorities for the C6, and the interior is meant to make the occupants feel at home — Citroen describes the ambience, which is influenced by modern furniture design, as “a rolling living room.” One feature that isn’t from the past is the provision of a head-up display for the driver.

Exterior styling has the family style of other Citroens introduced since the company took the line of returning to its roots and providing cars for individualist. There’s a hint of the DS in the car’s smooth lines and the lack of a trunk as a prominent feature of the overall design.


Ferrari F430 Spider

2005 Ferrari F430 Spider

2005 Ferrari F430 Spider

The rear end of the C6 is noticeable for a convex rear window, and Ferrari’s new F430 Spider, the convertible version of the much-praised F430 coupe announced last year, also has a different look behind the cockpit. The Spider’s soft top has a rear window that will bring back memories of those used in Ford products on both sides of the Atlantic back in the 1950s and ’60s. Nearer to the vertical than the reverse slope windows found in the Mercury and British Anglia models, it sits close behind the seat backs, leaving room for a glass cover for the engine compartment that leaves the 490-hp, 4308-cc V-8 open to public gaze.

Fitting a compact electrically-powered top to a mid-engine car like the F430 must have posed problems to the designers at Pininfarina, which is responsible for the shape of the Spider and the F430 coupe.

The Spider embodies all the F1-derived technology that was introduced with the coupe, enabling it to record a 193-mph top speed and a zero-to-100 km/h (62 mph) time of 4.1 seconds.


Dodge Caliber

2005 Dodge Caliber Concept

2005 Dodge Caliber Concept

A concept car from Dodge will take the stand at the Geneva Motor Show — and likely will appear in U.S. showrooms in early 2006 as the replacement for the Neon sedan. The five-door Caliber concept is a striking hatchback with global intentions; Dodge says the vehicle is what it's planning for worldwide markets as the Dodge name is about to be brought to Europe. The concept sports the crosshair Dodge grille atop a C-segment chassis that's shod with 19-inch wheels. No powertrain has been announced but Chrysler officials reference the coming range of global four-cylinders as potential powerplants for a production Caliber. Dodge's planned introduction into the European market is scheduled for 2006. The Geneva show opens to the press on March 1.


Alfa Romeo Brera

2006 Alfa Romeo Brea

2006 Alfa Romeo Brea

Alfa Romeo will use the Geneva auto show as the launch platform for a glamorous new coupe, the Brera. The car takes its styling keynotes and name from a concept shown in Geneva in 2002 by famed Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. That Brera was obviously much more than a concept, however, for it made a number of public appearances where it was driven under its own power, something that most concepts are not capable of doing. It was the star of the show three years ago, and it is no surprise that it now sees the light of day as a production model.

A two-door 2+2 coupe, the Brera is of comfortable size — 72 inches wide, 174 inches in length and 54 inches high — but its style, with deeply tapering lines at the front and rear, ensures it does not look bulky. A unique feature is the glass roof, which provides natural light for all four occupants and avoids the enclosed feeling rear passengers have in some 2+2 coupes.

The car will be available in three trim levels, and there will be a choice of three power units: a 2.4-liter turbo-diesel producing 200 hp and two gasoline engines, a 185-hp 2.2-liter and an exciting top-of-the-range 3.2-liter good for 320 hp. Automatic or six-speed manual gearboxes will be available, suspension is quadrilateral at the front and multilink at the rear and Alfa's Q4 traction-control will be fitted on some versions. The car goes on sale at the end of this year. —Ian Norris

Subaru R1

2006 Subaru Minicar

2006 Subaru Minicar

Subaru has taken the unusual step of giving two new models their European debut at Geneva — although neither will be sold in Europe . The fact that the two cars are aimed one at the Japanese market and one at the USA emphasizes the international importance of the Geneva show, which will be reported in depth in both the US and Japan as well as all over the rest of the world. Geneva will give the Japanese firm more bang for its promotional buck.

The Japanese market introduction is the R1, a minicar that has just gone on sale in Japan in that county's important 'K-car' segment for cars of a maximum of 660cc. Despite its diminutive size and engine capacity, the R1 boasts all-wheel drive and CVT (continuously variable transmission). The body, whose shape is likened by Subaru to an egg, contains a luxurious interior designed for the driver and one passenger.

Also available with two-wheel drive, the R1 is one of the most fuel-efficient cars in Japan . It also complies with new Japanese regulations, which demand a fifty percent reduction over 2005 levels, to be considered as an Ultra Low Emissions vehicle.

The second Subaru is more likely to have Europeans salivating over something they cannot have. It's the B9 Tribeca SUV, which, as its name implies, is mainly for the US market. The big seven-seat off-roader is a new departure for Subaru, which although it is one of the world's leading manufacturers of all-wheel drive cars, has never produced an SUV. With seven seats and a 3.0-liter flat-six engine, the Tribeca is quite a change for the company.

To be produced at Subaru's plant in Indiana, the Tribeca will be sold only in the U.S., Canada , and Chile. With its aggressive style and luxurious interior, the Tribeca could persuade a few Swiss buyers to book tickets to Santiago. — Ian Norris


Nissan Zaroot

Nissan is another company that will show a new concept at the Geneva show in early March. The Zaroot is billed as Nissan's view of how sporty SUVs could look in the future, combining SUV values with futuristic styling that includes gullwing doors. The doors stretch from the windshield pillar back to the rear of the passenger compartment, giving access to both front and rear seats on each side. The design cuts out the normal B-pillar, but the look is not one that could warrant the old coachbuilder's term of pillarless, since the rear edge of the door is considerably thick.

The overall look of the vehicle is tough, with aesthetics that follow those of a real off-roader such as a Jeep rather than the soft-roaders that have become a Japanese specialty. Judgment on the design will have to wait until the Zaroot has been seen in the metal, but it must be said that gullwing doors were first seen in the 1950s from Mercedes and the "window in a window" format this concept uses was featured in the 1989 Subaru concept that went into production in 1992 as the SVX coupe.

On the production-car front, Nissan has announced that it will add another model to those produced at its plant in Sunderland, England , from 2007. The new car, codenamed P32L, is based on the Qashqai concept car unveiled at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show. This was the first model to be styled at Nissan Design Europe in Paddington, London . It was developed at Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Bedfordshire, U.K.

Qashqai, pronounced "Cash-Ky," is a crossover vehicle, part people-carrier, part hatchback, with available all-wheel drive. Nissan believes it will fill a growing niche in the market for vehicles designed to live a dual life and will be aimed at young professional people who enjoy living and working in the city during the week but who want to escape at the weekend. It is the second new model to be announced at Nissan Motor Manufacturing U.K. Ltd. (NMUK) in just six months, following confirmation that a production model based on the Tone show car unveiled at the Paris Motor Show last autumn will go into production in January 2006.

Initial production volume of the Qashqai (It is unlikely that the name will be applied to the production version) will be around 130,000 units per year. This would increase the plant's total annual volume to around 400,000 units — strengthening Sunderland's position as the U.K.'s biggest car plant. NMUK currently employs around 4100 workers, capable of producing up to 500,000 units per year based on a three-shift system. — Ian Norris


Saab 9-3 Wagon

Saab is extending its 9-3 model range by a station wagon, due for launch at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March. The photos are showing a prototype of the new wagon with some disguise on the rear end during cold weather testing in northern Scandinavia. The matching four-door sedan has been on the market since 2002, followed by the 9-3 convertible in March 2003. The car sits on the GM Epsilon platform and uses the same engines as the sedan.




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