The top stories from Automotive News Europe's June 23, 1997 edition - and how they developed.
Zafira's surprise debut
General Motors Europe took the unusual step of revealing its intentions in the compact minivan segment. Opel and Vauxhall will not launch the Zafira until 1999. The unveiling two years early is a clear indication of the importance that GM attaches to the segment.
The Zafira was the No. 2 compact minivan in western Europe last year, with sales of 242,810 units - 49,036 behind the best-selling Renault Scenic. The Scenic narrowly stayed No. 1 in the first five months of this year. The Zafira will get a baby brother when the Corsa-based Meriva goes into production later this year.
May sales fall repeated
May sales dipped to 1.15 million vehicles, dragged down by a sharp fall in France and Germany.
May 2002 new-car sales in western Europe were nearly 1.3 million - 8 percent down on the same month last year. All the key markets except the UK declined. France was down 8.6 percent and Germany fell 14 percent.
Fiat misses 178 target
As part of its 178 world car program, Fiat Auto expects to sell 900,000 to 1 million Palios a year by 2000, making it the best-selling Fiat ever.
Economic crises in several countries where the 178 models are built - Argentina, Brazil, Turkey and Poland - stopped Fiat reaching the target. Fiat has built slightly over 2 million 178 models since the Palio hatchback was launched in Brazil in April 1996. The peak was in 1997, when 442,000 units were built. Last month, Fiat said it plans to launch a new generation of world cars on a dedicated platform that could be developed with alliance partner General Motors.