MUNICH — The recession gripping the world's automakers hadn't hit when product plans were hatched several years ago for many of the vehicles that will be displayed at the Geneva auto show. That means this year's show will have more world debuts than might be expected during such dour times.
The show will feature more than 30 debuts. Those include much-anticipated introductions of the Volkswagen Polo, Mercedes-Benz E-class coupe, Fiat 500 Cabriolet, Aston Martin V12 Vantage and two models from Audi.
Concept vehicles from BMW, Ford, Nissan, Hyundai and Kia also will be shown. Although many have been developed solely with the European market in mind, some will make their way to the United States soon.
Here's a sampling of some of the vehicles debuting in Geneva during press days March 3 and 4.
-- BMW Gran Turismo. Using the 5-series platform, BMW has developed a concept for a five-door premium hatchback. BMW describes it as a "progressive activity sedan" and calls it the Gran Turismo. It's designed like a four-door coupe, with frameless side windows. A large, two-piece tailgate gives access to a luggage compartment that grows to 58 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down. A production version is expected to be unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show in September, and sales are expected to begin in the fourth quarter.
BMW plans to sell fewer than 100,000 units of the car annually. It will be priced from 37,000 to 65,000 euros (about $46,600 to $81,900) in Europe. U.S. prices were not announced.