SEVENTY IN TWO-MONTH
The anniversary was celebrated “in working order”: the number of prime ministers reached fifty. At the same time, manufacturers chose not to look back and did not show any of the brilliant new products of previous years. It's a pity. After all, they were wonderful cars - Toyota Starlet (1978) and Lancia-Lambda (1920), Citroen-Traxien Avan (1935) and Jaguar Type E (1961). The list goes on.
Yes, looking back today is not from the hand. World auto giants share spheres of influence, and some associations from the past can only hinder. Moreover, everyone decided not to spray and gathered all his strength (stands) into a fist: let's say, scattered before in different halls, now Ford and his faithful vassals Volvo, Mazda, Jaguar and "stood up shoulder to shoulder Aston-Martin, nearby, separated by the tiny isthmus of the externally independent Subaru, took up the positions of the Volkswagen and General Motors armies, and there, almost the general Daimler-Chrysler stand. This year, perhaps, it has become especially noticeable that the main lines of development of the global automotive industry are controlled by the largest companies; those who are smaller, hardly find funds for new developments.
General Motors. Occupying almost a quarter of one of the halls, the “GM” personifies the very confidence in tomorrow. In recent years, the company has faced certain financial difficulties, but its reserves are so large that we can’t talk about the decline of the empire. Of the novelties she presented, we single out a few. Mikroven "Opel Aguila" and compact "Speedster" are already well known. These regulars of the last auto shows are again assigned to world premieres, now as serial samples. Interestingly, in Geneva, the international jury of car designers announced the awarding of the title “Convertible of the Year” to Speedster. Aguila, by the way, also has a double - Suzuki-Wagon R +, the platform of which Opel used, got new headlights and a grill.
The resins of the “tar block”, the legendary 5.7-liter V8 engine, are now made primarily of aluminum and, like the American and Australian models of the concern, have registered for Omega. Another new motor is really a significant step forward in the field of engineering: the SVC shown by SAAB is capable of changing the compression ratio on the go! According to the authors of the project, this will reduce fuel consumption by 40%. How did you manage? The cylinder block and crankcase are pivotally connected, which allows them to be shifted relative to each other, and the position is set by a hydraulic cylinder and an additional eccentric shaft with levers.
The conceptual luxury sedan Imaj from Cadillac unequivocally continues the tradition of the Ewok roadster - chopped forms, literally “corners and straight lines” distinguish the overseas guest among Europeans. Of course, the car is all-wheel drive and is equipped with a rather big “eight”.
Volkswagen has mastered the territory of at least GM, and distributed the main premieres among the satellites. Talk about the compact Audi A2 (the first mass aluminum car) and the all-wheel drive Allroad Quattro based on the A6 has been going on for a long time. Now the cars are finally ready for production and have become the main novelties of the four-ring stand. Rolls-Royce World Premiere - An elongated version of Seraph. "Park Ward" is equipped with the highest level, as befits the top of the lineup.
From year to year, the SEAT stand is being designed according to the established stereotype: one concept is on a rotating platform, and a bit off - serial cars. One concept, but what! This year, the SEAT-Salsa was decorated with a podium - a compact and, in fact, one-volume car based on Leon. However, according to the chief of Volkswagen, Dr. Piech, the platform has undergone such a serious revision that it may well be considered original. Be that as it may - a very beautiful car.
Daimler-Chrysler is located on a huge (status!) Common stand. By chance or with intent, but the focus was on the American exposition. They managed to photograph the latest Chrysler Sebring only in the early morning; a dense crowd besieged him all day. The Chrysler ESX3 concept car didn’t cause such a stir - apparently, the not too familiar “faceted” design affected it, much like the Cadillac-Image. But in vain, because this large sedan is content with 3.3 liters of diesel per 100 km: a hybrid.
This time, Ford performed rather modestly: most of its exhibits have already appeared at exhibitions. The undisputed premieres include the Galaxy mini-van. The press release specifically noted that this is not just a “face” car in the new New Age corporate identity. The interiors are also pretty changed, and therefore - almost a new car. The Volvo V70 Cross Country and the Jaguar F-Type concept are already known to the public, however, like the Mazda Tribute SUV (also known as the new Ford Maverick), first shown last year in Tokyo.
Toyota is perhaps the only one who separated and transferred to another part of the hall the exposition of a subsidiary. However, there were no supernovae at the Lexus, but Toyota itself introduced several. The world premiere was also celebrated by the miraculous appearance of “Previa” and the updated RAV4. Restyling benefited the latter: the former “plush” design limited the number of potential buyers, however, as with the latest European Corolla. One evil-speaking colleague called them "machines of exalted ladies." Now both cars are beyond suspicion: the design has become more serious and even, perhaps, more aggressive.
The third component of the "big Toyota", the company "Daihatsu", of the world innovations was limited to a new engine of 1.3 liters for the "Sirion". The motor, of course, meets all standards and is more powerful than the previous liter.
FIAT. Shortly before the Geneva Motor Show, rumors circulated in the press about the possible sale of the FIAT automobile branch. As usual, some of the responsible persons confirmed them (including Mr. Agnelli himself), while others refuted them, but be that as it may, you can’t name the group’s exhibition full of news. In fact, there is only one premiere - the Alfa-Romeo-156 Sportagon wagon and one concept - the Ecobasic (see ZR, 2000, No. 2). It is clear, of course, that some developments are in store for the summer exhibition in Turin.
You may know that Ferrari does not belong to the FIAT Automobiles branch, but directly to the concern. New from Maranello, the Ferrari 360 Spider, like the base model, has an all-aluminum chassis.
PSA. Having barely appeared, the Peugeot 607 series was replenished with two concepts: an elongated version of the 607 Paladin, with the back of the roof retractable in the trunk, should be assigned to the now rare category of Lando. Even more interesting is the 607 Felin sports coupe. Here, the doors are deprived not only of the frames, but also of the glass itself, and for landing and disembarkation, a transparent hood opens, made of water-and-dirt-repellent (we would like that!) Glass.
Citroen took a different path: instead of new cars, it showed several technical developments. Firstly, the next generation of hydropneumatic suspension "Hydraulic III", which is distinguished by a simplified hydraulic and complicated electronic circuits, as well as a new model of the hybrid "Ksara Dinaktiv." Citroën also announced an innovation in the field of anti-corrosion, which will bring the guarantee on the body up to 12 years.
Along the way, we note that just before the exhibition, Daimler-Chrysler issued a statement: he de "does not negotiate the purchase of PSA." What is it for?
BMW. Despite everything, the alliance with Rover continues to live. It doesn’t matter that the new Mini promised earlier was not ripe for the exhibition. But quite fresh "Rover 25", recently introduced in Birmingham and now - in Geneva. “Land Rover Freelander” has acquired a V6 engine, which will resist the aggression of “Hyundai Santa Fe.” BMW itself showed the M3 Coupe, the new 323 Ci and a hydrogen-powered V12 engine.
Porsche. At the company's stand, surrounded on three sides by Volkswagen, they once again talked about plans for the production of an all-terrain vehicle “sometime by 2002”. Demonstrated the same "911 turbo." Interestingly, both the front and rear of this modification are noticeably different from all the other 911s. By the way, “Turbo” is the world's first production car on which ventilated cermet (!) Brake discs are installed.
"Lotus". The affairs of the company, apparently, are recovering, and a new car will appear in its gamut in a couple of years - while it was called the M250. It is slightly larger than the Eliza and picks up 100 km / h in less than 5 seconds. The price of the car in 2002 is already known - 40 thousand pounds.
"Valmet". A few good designers, experience in the production of convertibles, plus a two-liter supercharged engine from SAAB - and now the “Reisabout”, that is, “about a racing” car, is ready.
"Giugiaro." Generally speaking, the conceptual Buran all-terrain vehicle with the Maserati logo is of little interest - in the photo it is easily mistaken for a compact hatchback (we conducted an experiment on our website and 80% of the 2000 respondents took the car for the new Focus generation) or "Golf"). Nevertheless, for the first time in the company's history, the model was developed in the Italian Monsalleri, and then electronically transferred to the California branch, where, in fact, this machine was made.
Bertone. The company's new product is a double city car. How is Smart? Quite the contrary: here passengers sit one after another.
Several Swiss and Italian car body shops made sure that the most unusual vehicles were available in the cabin. “Rinspeed” in the back of a funny truck placed an “underwater motorcycle”, “Sbarro” practiced with an electric tricycle, EDAG decided to make a conceptual limousine … Perhaps, the Italian “Kojiola” surpassed everyone. She did just an all-terrain vehicle. Take a look at the photo: this girl’s height is 190 cm, but against the background of such a monster she seems like a dwarf: the height of the car is 2218 mm, the width is 2275 mm!
The Indian Tata made the Aria roadster on the basis of last year’s premiere - the Mint compact hatchback. The car looked pretty good - experts from the famous IDEA Institute tried on this. Characteristics are also at a height of 140 liters. S., 225 km / h. If you add that the top opens with a hydraulic servomechanism, and there are also ABS, four airbags, air conditioning, then you must agree that the unit turned out right.
Jet Pa, a previously unknown company from Turkey, showed a very convincing compact little car called Imts. And only 10 years ago, the future creator of the "first original Turkish car, " Mr. Akgunduz owned only a small driving school! Now, a plant is being built in Batman, Siirt province, plans are to have a convertible and, possibly, a limousine …
NOT ANNIVERSARY QUESTIONS
Each company prepares press releases in several languages for the car dealership. Mandatory - in English, German and French. But here is the dialogue from the Renault booth (translated): "Press kit in English, pliz." - “Where are you from?” - "From Russia". “So, bi bi, is it better in Russian?”
Unprecedented. Unique. Awesome. Renault plans to release in Moscow its conceptual all-terrain, single-volume Koleos?
NOT ANNIVERSARY QUESTIONS
At noon on March 1, a man appeared at Palexpo. He visited the expositions of SAAB (examined the SVC engine), the Turkish debutant Jet-Pa (looked at the prototype of the Imts), Pininfarina studio (grimaced at the Ferrari 360 Modena), as well as the Continental Tevez component manufacturer ( listened to a lecture on the latest security systems). Given that this person’s name was Ferdinand Piech, try to guess: which of these companies is Volkswagen ready to buy in the near future?
NOT ANNIVERSARY QUESTIONS
One of the traditional booths in Geneva could not be found again: for the second year, VAZ has not participated in the salon. Although the taxi driver who drove us to the airport, said: "Lada"? Of course I know. We still meet "Niva" - they say nothing. In France, they are full. "So, it makes sense to look for domestic premieres in the fall, at the Paris exhibition?
NOT ANNIVERSARY QUESTIONS