General Motors design chief Ed Welburn calls Geneva the most relaxed of the auto shows and a great design forum. It is the one stop on the show circuit where styling seems to matter more than the latest sales numbers. This year's gathering was full of eye-catching production cars and concepts. Here's a sampling of some of the head-turners. PHOTOS BY PHILIP MEECH
This year's gathering was full of eye-catching production cars and concepts. Here's a sampling of some of the head-turners.
PHOTOS BY PHILIP MEECH
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Who designed it: Henrik Fisker, now departed Aston Martin design chief
Engine: 4.3-liter, 380-hp V-8
What's interesting: The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is designed to help the automaker expand its reach dramatically. The new "baby Aston" comes with a V-8 engine. Aston Martin's other primary cars, the DB9 and Vanquish, come with V-12s.
When does it go on sale? It will be on sale before year end in the United States. Aston Martin will make nearly 4,000 V8 Vantages annually, bringing total volume to about 5,000.
Who designed it: Mark Lloyd designed the C6 Lignage concept that appeared at Geneva in 1999. Marc Pinson of the Citroen Design Center in Paris took Lloyd's concept into the production version.
Engines: 3.0-liter, 215-hp V-6 gasoline-powered engine and 2.7-liter, 208-hp V-6 diesel
What's interesting: The C6 shows that Citroen, after years of bland designs, is returning to the glorious eccentricities that made the brand famous. The car is conceived as a "lounge on wheels" and looks the part. The C6 will have electronically controlled hydropneumatic suspension.
When does it go on sale? Fall 2005
Show reaction: Overwhelmingly positive reaction welcomed Citroen's return to French design flair.
Who designed it: Hyundai's design studio in Ulsan, Korea
Engine: The U.S. version will have a 3.8-liter V-6. At Geneva, a 3.3-liter V-6 was shown. A 2.2-liter diesel engine is promised.
What's interesting: Longer, wider and taller than the current XG350, with a raft of premium touches, this is another step toward Hyundai's goal to become a luxury brand.
When does it go on sale? It goes on sale in the U.S. this fall. This is the next-generation XG350. The U.S. name has not been chosen.
Show reaction: Competent but no standout.
Who designed it: Yasushi Nakamuta
Engine: 1.8-liter or 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder
What's interesting: Despite the larger engine and flared wheel wells, the redesigned Miata is only 22 pounds heavier than the current model.
What's new? A mesh-type air deflector between the headrests reduces buffeting when the soft-top is open. An automatic top will be available within a year of the car's U.S. launch.
When does it go on sale? U.S. sales begin in late summer or early fall.
Show reaction: A nicely executed update of a people's favorite.