MONDAY, MARCH 7
Carmaker thinks it has found a niche that can expandFROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: After entering the minivan market several years late, Ford Europe plans to be early for the next potential trend in passenger vehicles with its SAV crossover concept, or sports activity vehicle.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: Mercedes-Benz will not extend its model range beyond the new B and R class model families, said CEO Eckhard Cordes. "The expansion has gone far enough," said Cordes just before he launched the German luxury brand's new B class.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: Toyota plans to sell about 700,000 European-built vehicles annually in Europe beginning next year. The Japanese automaker will hit that mark when Toyota and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen's joint venture plant in Kolin, Czech Republic, reaches full production.
The decision on ForTwo's US debut is due this summerFROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: The Mercedes Car Group will keep the Smart brand, top executives at the company said. "Closing down Smart makes no sense -- we will be able to turn the business around," said Mercedes Car Group CEO Eckhard Cordes.
Toyota premium brand begins push in EuropeFROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: Toyota's Lexus brand is not yet a global player as a luxury marque, says German rival BMW. "Toyota has lots of cash, but we are still waiting to welcome them in the premier league," said Stefan Krause, BMW board member in charge of finance.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: The Hyundai Grandeur production car, which replaces the XG, is a luxury sedan aimed at Lexus. Longer, wider, and taller than the current XG, with a number of premium touches, the Grandeur is another step toward Hyundai's goal of creating a luxury brand like Lexus.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: Fiat's launch of its new flagship model, the Croma, was partly overshadowed by Italian design legend Giorgetto Giugiaro, who exhibited an upscale interpretation of the Croma that many visitors thought it looked much better than the production model.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: Honda wants to win over younger buyers with a new, sleeker Civic. Restoring the lower-medium segment Civic's sporty character should make it appeal to the "young and the young at heart with a passion to drive," said Shigeru Takagi, Honda Europe's chief operating officer.
Audi prepares to build supercar
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: Audi is likely to put a supercar into production as its halo, says Audi AG Chairman Martin Winterkorn. Audi is rolling out the redesigned A4, left, in the United States.
Mercedes drops plan for U.S. B class
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: The B class will not come to the United States because Mercedes-Benz cannot price the vehicle to make a profit, says the brand's CEO. Mercedes-Benz in January decided to ax the B class from the future U.S. product range.
U.S.-bound VWs will retain content
As dollar struggles, automaker won't sacrifice featuresFROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: Despite a strong euro that has plagued European automakers, Volkswagen AG will not decontent its vehicles to make them competitive in the United States.
Performance car will be a Nissan
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. is on track to badge its high-performance Skyline GT-R sports car in North America as a Nissan, not as an Infiniti.
Padilla: Diesel fuel is a barrier
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: The lack of clean diesel fuel is a major barrier to Ford Motor Co. putting diesel engines in its American cars, Ford COO Jim Padilla said.
Hyundai shines in China
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: The topic of China rose infrequently in Geneva, but when it did, showgoers gossiped about January sales there. Hyundai Motor Co.'s sales that month topped longtime market ruler Volkswagen AG.
Rugged SUVs appear
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: General Motors design chief Ed Welburn scouted competitors' wares at the show. One trend Welburn noted: The rugged SUV is still alive.
Lexus gets sporty with new sedan
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus Division takes another step toward shedding its sensible-shoes image - reliable but unexciting - with the IS 300 sports sedan replacement. The next-generation IS includes elements of Lexus' new "L-finesse" design theme.
Bernhard's job now: Look, listen and learn
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: Wolfgang Bernhard made a much-anticipated appearance at the show but said little and made no news. Bernhard, Volkswagen's minister without portfolio, is still learning the ropes and isn't allowed to say much.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: General Motors design chief Ed Welburn calls Geneva the most relaxed of the auto shows and a great design forum. This year's gathering was full of eye-catching concepts. Here's a sampling of some of the head-turners.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: Geneva 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. Here's a sampling of some of the head-turners.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2
Automakers begin two-day assault in Geneva
-->FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: Honda Motor Co. continues to tease the automotive press and public about the eighth-generation Civic. It used the Geneva auto show to give a first look at a concept five-door version of the new Civic, which goes on sale early next year.
FROM AUTOWEEK: The oft-delayed Saab 9-3 SportCombi, being shown at Geneva, looks to be a trendsetter in this budding new-old segment. Whats new about modern-day wagons is that they need to be premium, especially the interiors, in order to convince as many would-be SUV buyers as possible. The segment is already hot in Europe, and Saab hopes to help lead anticipated growth in the United States.
TUESDAY, MARCH 1
Automakers begin two-day assault in Geneva
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: Mercedes-Benz' new B-class wagon is the latest platform the automaker is using as a test bed for its development of fuel-cell powertrains. The German luxury automaker rolled out the new fuel-cell vehicle, dubbed the B-class F cell, Tuesday at the Geneva auto show.
FROM AUTOWEEK: Audis 4.2-liter, 420-hp V8-powered RS4 made its world debut at Geneva, and the car marks an important change in the Volkswagen divisions sport-sedan quest: To further its high-end performance-car aims, Audi has ditched turbocharging in favor of a bigger, highly strung naturally aspirated engine. This is a move Audi insiders say will be repeated in coming years on new-generation Audis.
MONDAY, FEB. 28
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: Dodge has no plan for a sedan version of the Neon replacement. The Dodge Caliber concept debuting this week at the Geneva auto show reveals the styling theme for the five-door vehicle that will replace the Neon next year.
FROM AUTOWEEK: If you think the recently introduced Ferrari F430 is a smartly styled machine, the exotic shape flaunted by its two-seat open-top stablemate, the F430 Spider, should blow you away. The new Ferrari continues a long tradition of stunning convertibles from the Italian carmaker.
TUESDAY, FEB. 22
FROM AUTOWEEK: Sixteen years and 700,000 units ago, Mazda launched its back-to-basics Miata onto a roadster-hungry public. And while the aging two-seater, last redesigned in 1998, still finds favor among legions of driving purists the world over, Mazda felt that it was about time to give the fun little sports car a much-needed makeover.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: The 159 sedan and Brera coupe are the first new models in a product offensive to replace Alfas aging lineup. The 159 replaces the 156 and the Brera is the successor to the GTV coupe. Both models derive from the Brera concept unveiled at the Geneva auto show two years ago.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: To mark the Geneva shows 100th anniversary, several automakers will display historic models next to new production models and concept for future vehicles. Ford will bring a 1968 Ford GT 40 to its stand. The car is the sister vehicle to the one that won the
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: Show managing director Rolf Studer is in charge of his first Geneva show. Studer, 62, was previously head of marketing for Peugeot in Switzerland and was responsible for the Peugeot stand at the Geneva show for 20 years. Studer spoke with Automotive News Europe reporter Alex Ricciuti.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE: This years Geneva show celebrates the events 100th anniversary, but automakers wont have time to be nostalgic. They will be focused on the future with important concepts and big production launches.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: The Cadillac BLS and Dodge Caliber concepts debuting at the Geneva auto show represent two aggressive moves by American carmakers to crack the European market. German automakers also plan important world debuts. They include BMW's fifth-generation 3 series, Mercedes-Benz's new B class.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: The V8 Vantage is the long-awaited baby Aston Martin designed to transform the company into a legitimate competitor with Ferrari and Porsche.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: Every automaker would like Bentley's problem. It starts production of the sedan version of its hot-selling Continental GT Coupe this spring. But if projections are true, it will run out of capacity at its factory in Crewe, England.
The solution? ...
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: Saab's new 9-3 SportCombi five-door wagon is aimed more at Europe than at the United States. Almost 30 percent of Saab's overall sales are in the United States, but the Swedish company plans to sell only 2,500 to 4,000 units of the SportCombi in the U.S. per year.
FROM AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: General Motors picked the Geneva spotlight to unveil what is being called a baby Cadillac. The Cadillac BLS is a concept car designed to fit Europe's narrow, congested streets.