The 78th edition of the 2008 Geneva International Motor Show, which ended on 16 March witnessed global debut launches, concept cars, eco-friendly vehicles and much more. Tanmoy Mitra reports.
The Geneva International Motor Show continues to be one of the favourite events of the auto industry with over 100 years of history behind it. Whatever one sees in cars, and whatever the automotive needs and wants are, can be found at the Geneva Motor Show.
Annually held in March, at Palexpo, a giant convention centre at Geneva, the show has seen almost all combustion model automobiles through their evolution, ranging from benzene to steam, with many exotic and super cars stealing the spotlights throughout the 20th century.
Of course, other major international motor shows offer a similar display of four-wheeled diversity and never-seen models, but it's only at the Palexpo that cars take priority over everything else. Carmakers regard the Geneva show as the most prestigious and level playing field for showing off their products because Switzerland lacks its own auto industry.
The 2008 show, held this year from 6 March to 16 March, was no different with a plethora of cars at display from small, light, prototypes and efficient city vehicles to massively powerful super cars all under one roof.
In anticipation of stricter European emissions controls, this year's show has seen more environmentally friendly cars with major manufacturer displaying hybrid versions that use electricity or hydrogen in addition to conventional fuels.
Other factors such as rising oil prices, congested cities and growing concern at the environmental impact of motor vehicles has made way for a host of small cars, which made their debut in Geneva, raging from unimaginable extravagance to the world's cheapest new car.
We preview a few vehicles, which left a lasting impression in Geneva.
Ford: Fiesta and Kuga
The new global Fiesta was one of the most important cars on display from Ford of Europe. The Fiesta, was displayed in both three and five-door variants.
With the new car, the futuristic interior from Verve Concept becomes production reality.
The new model is lighter and stronger than its predecessor, which helps reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. (Also see: Ford's small car Fiesta to debut at the Geneva Motor Show)
Alongside the Fiesta, Ford also showcased the new Kuga crossover.The new Kuga is based on Ford's acclaimed C-Car architecture used in the Ford Focus and the Ford C-MAX.
With a distinctive 'kinetic design' exterior design, intelligent all wheel drive (AWD) system, and impressive on and off-road ability make the Kuga an attractive proposition in the highly competitive crossover market segment taking on the likes of Toyota's RAV4 and Nissan's impressive new X-Trail. (Also see: Production of the all-new Ford Kuga begins at the Saarlouis plant in Germany)
Toyota: iQ and Urban Cruiser
The new iQ is an ideal city car, which measures 117.51 inches, Toyota says it is the world's smallest four-seater car, which can easily fit four people (three adults and a child seat) with its innovative design.
The design innovations include ultra-thin seats, a flat under floor fuel tank, slimmed down dashboard and a reduced size of the air conditioning unit without compromising performance.
An asymmetric seating layout enables the front passenger to sit much further forward than the driver, allowing space for a full-sized adult behind.
Available with one diesel and two petrol engines, the iQ is designed to run on a small, fuel-efficient engine which will return only 100 grams per kilometer in carbon dioxide emissions making it one of the most environmentally-friendly car in the world.
(Also see: Toyota showcases the new iQ concept city car at Geneva Motor Show)
The urban cruiser a five-door SUV, ideally designed for the city. Successor to the discontinued three-door Toyota RAV, the SUV based on a Yaris platform, made its debut at Geneva.
Volkswagen: Scirocco and Golf Hybrid
The completely re-engineered Scirocco, an all-round sports car, did not dissapoint auto lovers as it made its appearance at Geneva.The third generation Scirocco, which made its debut more than 30 years back, offers substantially greater interior space and can accomodate four adults making the sports car an every occasion vehicle.
It has a selection of four high-torque, low-consumption TDI and TSI engines of between 90 kW / 122 PS and 147 kW / 200 PS. This new sports car features numerous technologies including an adaptive chassis control.
Also on display was the Golf TDI Hybrid, a concept car that that runs on 3.4 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres. It can either be operated in internal-combustion mode or in a combination of TDI and electric motor.
Volkswagen will be offering the Golf Estate in a version that incorporates a permanent four-wheel drive. Coupled with a fuel-efficient, high-torque TDI engine with 77 KW / 105 PS, the Golf vehicle accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 12.9 seconds. (Also see: Volkswagen celebrates the comeback of its legendary two-door automobile - Scirocco)
BMW M3 Convertible
German carmaker, BMW showcased its new BMW M3 Convertible at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. It is the first M performance model with a retractable hard top.
The new model has a 420bhp V8 high-rev engine along with other typical M range features. (Also see: New BMW M3 Convertible showcased at 2008 Geneva Motor Show)
Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe
The new Phantom Coupe launched at Geneva, is powered by a 453 horsepower, 6.75-liter V-12 engine, which Rolls claims will have a 25 per cent wider cruising radius than the "Drophead Coupe," thanks to a larger fuel tank.
Production of the new car will start at Goodwood, England, this summer.
Swiss classical automobile restorer Rinspeed unveiled its zero-emission submersible car, 'sQuba' at the Geneva Motor Show.
The automaker claims that it is the first automobile that can venture beneath water to depths of up to 10 metres. (Also see: Rinspeed to debut its eco-friendly underwater car 'sQuba' at Geneva Motor Show)
Volvo's new XC60, which premiered at Geneva, is a mid-sized SUV and easily one of the best-looking Volvos of all times, a testimony to Volvo's fantastic design capabilities.
The car is also the safest Volvo ever built with the ''city safety'' system that can help the driver prevent or reduce the effects of the type of low-speed impacts that are common in city traffic and traffic tailbacks. The car brakes by itself if it is about to drive into a vehicle in front.
Available in two diesels and one petrol variants, the cars will reach the European dealers in autumn 2008, according to company sources. (Also see:Volvo's safest car, XC60, to be unveiled at Geneva)
Tata Motors: Nano
India's largest automobile company, Tata Motors, presented its tiny wonder, the Nano, at the 2008 Geneva auto show. Equipped with a 624cc engine, churning a power of 34 bhp, the Nano is also the world's cheapest car, so far.
The car, which debuted at the New Delhi Auto Expo in early January 2008, will be redesigned for markets such as the US and Europe.
Saab 9-X BioHybrid
Saab's latest car, the 9-X BioHybrid concept was named ''Best Concept'' by AutoWeek magazine at the Geneva Motor Show last week.
The 9-X BioHybrid is powered by a a 200bhp (147 kW), 1.4-litre BioPower turbo engine backed by GM's next-generation hybrid system. The development team explored design themes from Saab's award winning Aero X and earlier 9X concepts to design the new ultra-efficient powerful car.
Mercedes-Benz Vision GLK Bluetec Hybrid
The Vision GLK Bluetec Hybrid concept is powered by an advanced version of tthe mercedes 2.2-liter four-cylinder common-rail turbodiesel engine, with a combined 224 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque.
Mercedes says the Bluetec Hybrid powertrain has ultralow CO2 emissions, which meets stringent global standards as EU6 in Europe and Bin5 in the United States.
Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4
Lamborghini unveiled a new LP560-4 Gallardo at the 2008 Geneva auto show.
The new LP560-4 has a 5.2-liter V-10 engine with 560 hp - up from the current Gallardo's 520 hp. This peak power gives the LP560-4 its name, while the "4," refers to the LP560-4's four-wheel drive, which splits power 30 per cent to the front wheels and 70 per cent to the rear.
The company claims that the LP560-4 has reduced fuel consumption and emissions to the tune of 18 per cent.
Other fabulous displays included the Hyundai HED-5 i-MODE, Renault Megane Coupe, Audi A4 Avant, Skoda Superb, Morgan LIFEcar and others.