Tuesday 4 March 2008

Motorshow: Geneva 2008

This is my first posting on a motorshow and it certainly won't be my last. I will certainly be at the upcoming British motorshow were the Vauxhall Insignia will have a world debut. The Geneva motorshow started today and will last for 4 more days. Without further a-due, I'm going to list some of the car firms that attended:

Mitsubishi uncloaked one of their most important cars to hit Europe; the Prototype S. Despite the car being 95% production ready, it will go on sale in the U.S in 2009. Mitsubishi UK is expecting anything upto 65% of the sales going towards this. The Lancer sedan is offered in a diesel variant but will a diesel be available in the hatchback?

Audi is there with 3 diesel cars including the R8 V12 TDI and the Q7 Coastline.

Toyota showed 2 new cars; IQ and Urban Cruiser. The 4WD Urban Cruiser pollutes 140g/km and will go on sale in the UK in 2009 alongside the Smart-rival IQ. Emissions on both cars are class-leading. Carbon dioxide emissions are claimed at 99g/km for the IQ so it should be excluding owners from paying any road tax. At 2985mm makes the IQ the worlds shortest 4 seater car. Toyota is predicting 100,000 sales by the end of 2009 for the IQ but no word on U.S sales. Expect 5 star EuroNCAP safety rating and a £10,000 price tag!

Bentley announced that their range of cars will pollute under 120g/km by using flex-fuel and petrol. Apparently, the flex-fuel should cut fuel consumption by 40%. Cars are expected to go on sale in 2012.

Volkswagen unveiled the new Scirocco coupé along with the Golf diesel-hybrid which can return upto 83mpg. The Golf Hybrid is likely to reach production within the next year or so.

Nissan announced at the Geneva show that the GT-R will go on sale in 2009 with a price tag of £52,900. Alongside the GT-R was the revised Murano crossover, which goes on sale in early 2009.

FIAT showed their ultra-clean 500 Aria which emits 98g/km. The engine has been tweaked. The show car has a diesel particulate filter, stop-start technology and FIAT's very own Dualogic manual transmission. Its believed the car will go on sale in the UK at the end of 2008.

The European GLK was shown. Thomas Weber, head of research and development for Mercedes-Benz called the new Mercedes-Benz GLK Bluetec Hybrid a “Sustainable Utility Vehicle”.

He was referring to this GLK's diesel electric drivetrain which combines a 2.2-litre diesel engine with what Mercedes described vaguely as a “hybrid module”. It delivers 38.8mpg according to Mercedes-Benz but more importantly, the hybrid module uses lithium ion batteries. Mercedes says a similar system will make its production debut in the S400 Blue Hybird next year. If that goes as planned, the Mercedes-Benz S400 Blue Hybrid would be the first production hybrid car to use lithium ion battery technology, but don't expect it to arrive in the UK anytime soon despite the HUGE demand for the £88,000 Lexus LS600h.

Ford revealed the European Fiesta today in both body variants; 3dr & 5dr. The car is based off the recently launched Mazda2 which exceeded 100,000 sales in 8 months. Power will come from a choice of 1.25 and 1.4-litre Duratec petrol engines alongside a new 1.6-litre Ti-VCT unit, while diesel fans will be offered 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre TDCi engines. Later in 2008, a new ECOnetic version, capable of producing less than 100g/km of CO2 will be announced.

The Meriva had a world debut today with suicide doors or as Vauxhall/Opel call them, Flex-doors. Unlike anything else in its class, it'll offer style and practicality. Sales start in early 2009.

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