Play­ing with a full deck of cars

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - Paul Gover Na­tional edi­tor

THE car is safe for at least an­other 125 years. As Daim­ler of Ger­many closes on a cel­e­bra­tion of the first 125 years since it put the world on wheels, the com­pany is con­fi­dent the au­to­mo­bile has a long way to run.

‘‘I’m con­vinced that in 125 years peo­ple will not want to rely on their legs,’’ Di­eter Zetsche, head of Daim­ler and the top man at Mercedes-Benz, says.

Zetsche laughs a lit­tle as he says it, but his eyes are blue steel and he is dead-se­ri­ous about the need for cars of some sort into the fore­see­able fu­ture.

‘‘It seems that to me that in­di­vid­ual mo­bil­ity is a very im­por­tant thing to peo­ple. Nor do they want to be packed into a form of com­bined car­riages ei­ther,’’ he says.

‘‘What technology we have, whether it’s on wheels or fly­ing or what­ever, I don’t know.

‘‘But I’m sure that peo­ple will want to move from A to B in a way that’s fast and en­joy­able.’’

Zetsche is speak­ing to Cars­Guide on the first day of the Paris Mo­tor Show, the biggest mo­tor­ing event of the year.

All the ma­jor brands have some­thing spe­cial toshow in the city of lights, from baby Kia con­cepts and new com­pact con­tenders that will wear Holden and Ford badges in Aus­tralia, right through to the lat­est Mercedes SLS four­door coupe.

The mood at Paris is bouncy and up­beat, with technology talk on ev­ery stand as car­mak­ers ac­cel­er­ate devel­op­ment on ev­ery­thing from the in­evitable elec­tric cars and hy­brids to new-age petrol en­gines, baby diesels, ac­tive aero­dy­nam­ics and light­weight ma­te­ri­als.

Ev­ery brand is do­ing its best to cut fuel use and CO2 emis­sions with­out hurt­ing them­selves in show­rooms.

The re­sults from Paris will not be known for some time, but there is a lot to see and a lot to like.

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