TURIN - The biennial Turin Motor Show is back again in 1996 with a full list of exhibitors.
Several manufacturers skipped Turin in 1992 and 1994. But this year only Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Volvo among volume makers are staying away. Among niche players, just Rolls-Royce and financially-troubled Isotta Fraschini won't have stands.
Ford, Renault, Jaguar, Rover, Peugeot, Citroen and Aston Martin all missed Turin in either 1992, 1994 or both. All are now back.
The 66th Turin event, housed in Fiat's former Lingotto plant, is open to the public from 26 April to 5 May.
Production cars to be introduced here include Lancia's K station wagon and coupe, the Mercedes SLK small coupe, Peugeot's new 106 and the Renault Clio Nouvelle.
Fiat's Bravo and Brava are the favorite base for Italian design houses. Several concepts will use the platform, including Pininfarina's Eta Beta and the Fioravanti N.Y.C.E.
In addition, 17 Bravo/Brava-based concepts are sponsored by Fiat and will be displayed separately. (See story elsewhere on this page.)
Lancia will unveil two variations of its flagship K: a two-door coupe that goes on sale this fall, and a station wagon available in May.
The K sedan, introduced in November 1994, was designed by I.De.A. Institute. The new coupe was designed by Enrico Fumia of the Lancia styling center and will be built by Maggiora SpA. The station wagon was designed and will be built by Pininfarina SpA.
On the new K coupe, the sedan wheelbase is shortened by 12 cm, down from 2.7 to 2.58 meters, while overall length falls from 4.69 to just under 4.6 meters. Only the front end and the windshield are the same as the sedan. Volume is planned at 2,500-3,000 units a year.
The car will be offered initially with three 20-valve 5-cylinder gasoline engines: the 2 and 2.4 liter from the sedan, pumping respectively 145 and 175 ps, plus the turbo version of the 2 liter, good for 205 ps. Later, Lancia will probably add the 204 ps Alfa 3-liter V-6 used for the K sedan.
The new K station wagon is planned as a niche product: just 3,000-3,500 units a year.
Lancia will also unveil an updated K sedan, with modifications to the front and rear suspensions, better sound insulation, improved engine management and other changes. All improvements will be available from the May production and will also be on the new K variations.
Fiat will show its Palio world car in Turin, although there are no plans to sell the car in Europe initially. It is being built in Brazil.
The Mercedes SLK models are expected to be called SLK 200 and SLK 230 and cost between DM 54,000 and DM 63,000 ($36,500-42,500).
Mercedes last fall released the first officials photos. SLK has been seen twice, as prototypes at the Turin show in 1994 and Paris in 1995.
Unofficially, Mercedes says it will build 30,000 SLKs a year.
The French makers are launching new small cars -Peugeot's facelifted 106 and Renault's freshened Clio supermini. The 106's most noticeable new feature is its length. It is 11 cm longer than the predecessor at 3.67 meters. The Clio gets a rounder design and a new 1.2 liter engine.
Of the Bravo/Brava-based concept cars, the most discussed may be Pininfarina's Eta Beta and the Fioravanti N.Y.C.E.
The Eta Beta, a prototype for a hybrid compact city car, is 3.15 meter long and has room for 2+2 passengers. But the rear overhang can be lengthened by 20 cm to make it a full four-seater. Eta Beta was developed in cooperation with CNR, the Italian National Research Council.
Backed by Fiat, former Pininfarina design managing director Leonardo Fioravanti designed N.Y.C.E. (an acronym of 'Natural Young Car' and 'Economical'). It is is extremely compact (3.64 meters long, 1.72 wide, 2.3 meters long wheelbase), simple and intended to be economical -both to build and to run.
It features a multi-functional body, whose basic concept - a Fiat/Fioravanti patent - is a symmetrical door which can is used on both sides.
The vehicle has a soft top at the front which is easy to fold and rests on the roll-bar and a rear one with flexible, transparent panels for the sides and rear.
Ghia, the Turin-based design house owned by Ford Motor Co., will unveil two compact concept vehicles. A B-segment speedster, similar in size to the much-praised 1990 Zig, is called Saetta, while a compact SUV/recreational vehicle, around 4 meters long and with 5 doors, could be called Alpe.
Maggiora, which builds Fiat's Barchetta and will build Lancia K coupe, will unveil two coupe evolution of the Barchetta. The first is a normal road car, the second a racing version.