2014 Geneva Motor Show Offers Tons of News by Henny Hemmes +VIDEO
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel
GENEVA - March 8, 2014: The 84th Geneva International Motor show started began this past Tuesday with many world and European premieres during Media Day. But it was remarkable that there were less journalists than I’ve been used to during the past decade. Usually on the day of the debuts and the big surprises, you have to elbow through the crowds. This time, moving around was easy without too many living obstacles.
That the media is likely to stay home is not a surprise, as practically all news has been published on the internet during the weeks before the show. Increasing travel costs and the fact that the hotels in Geneva increase their room rates by a factor 3 to 4, along with reservation requirements for a minimum of three to five nights does not help. Neither does the fact that the unsurpassable EasyJet has discontinued its Tuesday evening flight from Geneva to Amsterdam.
It is most likely that the organizers of the Salon de l’Automobile had already counted on less journalists attending. Proof may be that they had only 1,000 units of the yearly "Automobil Revue" available for the media. This is an important reference book with all technical details of all cars manufactured world wide.
Anyhow, almost all car manufacturers, design houses and super car brands showed up in Geneva. Here’s what I thought were the most interesting or important debuts of the show.:
Alfa Romeo crossed the border between Italy and Switzerland with the sporty Quadrifoglio Verde models of the Giulietta and MiTo. Aston Martin unveiled the V8 Vantage N430 and DB9 Carbon Black, two special editions with a lot of CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) details.
Audi showed the third generation of the TT. It is completely new, but maintains the original silhouette. The front is different and like on the R8, Audi’s four rings have moved from the grille to the hood. The head lights have lost their rounded of shape and are now narrow, rectangular units with standard xenon plus lights. The design of the rear end is no surprise with lights that we already have seen on the Shooting Brake concept. The S3 Convertible also made its debut. Its market launch is expected this summer.
Watch video clips of unveilings from Audi, Bentley and Bugatti
BMW extends the 2 Series with the Active Tourer. The new model in the compact class is the first BMW available with the new 3-cyinder turbo engine as 218i. The arrival of the 218d marks the arrival of the new 4-cylinder diesel engine. Also the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe made its world premiere, as well as the second generation of the successful X3, which is expected at dealerships in June.
Watch the Bentley Press Conference highlights
CitroŽn has a production version now of the amazing C4 Cactus. It is a roomy and simple five-oor model with a different SUV design. It should not be expensive either. In my opinion this is just what the brand needs.
CitroŽn, Peugeot and Toyota each developed its own variant of a triplet in the small car segment. They share the same platform but look different. The design of the CitroŽn C1 is a bit more conservative, that of the Renault Twingo resembles the Fiat 500, whereas the Toyota Aygo has radically changed compared to the outgoing model. The fierce competition in the European small car segment pushes each brand to show more of its own identity.
A new Ferrari debuting at an auto show is probably the most photographed car of the day. This also applies to the Ferrari California T. The T stands for the new turbo engine.
Ford took its Mustang to Europe, as well as the face lifted Focus.
Honda showed a concept for the Civic Type R. The production model will not arrive in show rooms before 2015 and has to compete with the Ford Focus ST, Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru WRX.
Watch the Honda Press Conference highlights
The Intrado concept of Hyundai is the first one completely developed in the German development center under supervision of design chief Peter Schreyer. Also on stage was the Genesis, that has to compete in Europe with the established luxury brands.
Infiniti’s Eau Rouge is a concept for the fast variant of the Q50. The name comes from the famous bend right after the grand stand of the Circuit of Francorchamps, in the Belgian Ardennes. It should make a good showing with its 500 hp and 601 pound-feet strong engine, the fastest ever used by Infiniti.
It is no surprise that Jaguar is going to offer a station wagon on a market that loves this body style. The XFR-Sportbrake has a 542 hp strong 5.0-liter V8 engine with super charger and a 8-speed automatic transmission. The top speed will be around 180 mph. Not bad for an estate (station wagon)!
Jeep unveiled its brand new Renegade. The new SUV will be built in Fiat’s Melfi plant in Italy. I even had the possibility to make a short test, but other obligations prevented me from leaving the show floor in the afternoon. One of my German colleagues was pretty enthusiast about his short spin with the new Jeep.
Watch the complete Jeep Press Conference
Lamborghini unveiled its new supercar already in early February. The Huracan LP 610-4 will replace the Gallardo this spring.
Watch the introduction of the Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4