2006 Paris Auto Show, Part IV

September 28, 2006

 

 

2006 Paris Auto Show Index by TCC Team (9/25/2006)

 

 

 

 

Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione

 

2008 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione

2008 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione

Big news! Alfa Romeo is returning to the USA. Well, sort of. The Italian firm used the Paris Motor Show to unveil the production version of its 8C Competizione, an ultra-exclusive supercar limited to just 500 units globally. A handful of those are expected to find their way to America.

 

The 8C first debuted as a concept car in 2003, and road-ready trim features a 4.7-liter V-8 delivering 450 hp. Production starts next summer at stablemate Maserati’s new factory in Modena, and the first cars will delivered in the autumn. It will cost around $150,000, is only available in left-hand drive and orders will be handled centrally by Alfa HQ.

 

“The 8C is being offered in limited numbers to encourage buyers to personalize their vehicles,” said a spokesman. “This is a trend which harks back to Alfa’s heritage as a fledgling company nearly 100 years ago. Then it just sold rolling chassis, allowing customers to create their own body styles with the help of bespoke coachbuilders.” Interior detailing is one area where owners can make their car unique.

 

However, the spokesman hinted the 500-car limit might be flexible. “I see no reason why more might not be offered if there’s demand,” he added.

 

 

2007 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 Versace

2007 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 Versace

Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 Versace

 

If you thought 500 was a short production run, it’s nothing on Lamborghini’s new vehicle. Only ten of the Murciélago LP640 Versace special edition will be made. The lower section of the instrument panel, the doors, roof, center console, and seats are all finished in full-grain nappa leather. The logo of the Versace fashion house is dotted around the cabin. Standard kit includes the glass engine cover and e-gear sequential shift system. The car also comes with a range of hand-crafted accessories designed by Versace, including a two-suitcase luggage set that fits into the Lambo’s trunk. No word on the price as yet.

 

 

Lancia Delta HPE Concept

 

Lancia is 100 years old this year and marked the anniversary by unveiling the Delta HPE concept. Taking its inspiration from the Beta HPE of the late Seventies, it’s a more modern take on a sporty practical sedan. It’s 4.5 meters long, and features include a sliding rear seat than can push right back to allow passengers extra leg space. The hi-tech entertainment package has a Bose audio system with MP3 compatibility, plus something called Blue&Me, a Windows Mobile-based developed as part of a joint venture between Fiat Auto and Microsoft.

 

The car is designed to be equipped with a wide range of turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines. Power outputs would be between 120 and 200 hp, according to the company. The car will go on sale in mid-2008, and insiders say the production version will look very close to this concept.

 

 

Ferrari Gets Brand Store in Beverly Hills

 

No fresh product on the Ferrari stand at the Paris show, but there was news that U.S. fans will get a chance to buy branded merchandise in their very own store. The firm has revealed it’s planning to open a shop in Beverly Hills, Calif., before the end of the year. The other new site for 2006 is in Beijing, China.

 

The company, which celebrates its 60th anniversary next year, has had an impressive year. In the first half it recorded revenues of about $900 million, a 16.7-percent increase.

 

 

Fiat Panda

 

2006 Fiat Panda

2006 Fiat Panda

The Panda is one of Europe’s most popular small cars. It’s available with a 1.0- or a 1.2-liter gasoline engine, and is a stylish, capable, and award-winning supermini. But it’s always lacked that extra something to make it more sporty. Later this year that will change; Fiat has squeezed a 1.4-liter gasoline engine under the tiny hood to create the catchily named Panda 100-hp. It’s still not exactly a rocket ship – the 0-60 mph time is 9.5 seconds – but it’s better than anything that’s come before. External changes include a chrome spoiler, revised bumpers and grille, and 15-inch alloys. A special launch pack includes red brake callipers, sporty foot pedals, and special interior mats. Someone has thought it clever to call that the “Pandemonio.”

 

 

 

 

2006 Paris Show Fiat Tows Its Own

2006 Paris Show Fiat Tows Its Own

The award for the Paris Motor Show’s strangest vehicle also goes to Fiat. The new Panda was balanced on the back of a commercial vehicle concept called the Ducato Truckster. Ducato is a light van in Europe, and this wacky gray version with gullwing doors and racing seats was created to promote launch of an all-new model later this month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HUMMER Expanding in Europe Slowly

 

France may seem a strange place to be talking about the future of a brand as American as HUMMER. But GM vice-president Bob Lutz was happy to chat about new products as he cut the ribbon on Europe’s first Authentic HUMMER Center (AHC).

 

“It’s clear that as the portfolio expands, and it must, it will head into smaller segments than the H3. That’s still a very large car in some markets. To get the maximum out of the brand and guarantee profitability we have to find ways to get a smaller, more efficient vehicle into showrooms.”

 

Lutz even hinted that the company may be willing to sacrifice some of the HUMMER’s legendary capability in a bid to keep gasoline consumption down. “We will stay with extreme off-road ability, but we have to create something like an H5 or H6 – and these are cars that are not even in anyone’s imagination at the moment – which will have better fuel efficiency than before. But they still have to have more off-road ability than anything else in the class.”

 

He also gave clues about another possible direction the firm might take, saying: “We don’t comment on future product before it’s launched but we’re mindful of the trend in pickup trucks at the moment.”

 

The continent’s first AHC is 15 miles south of central Paris, but others will follow soon as the brand is officially launched here later this year. London has already been identified as a target city. Two smaller types of sales outlets will also appear – galleries, selling 25-100 HUMMERs per year, and dealerships, shifting up to 300.

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