View of the future
The Paris Motor Show is about optimism, writes Paul Gover
BENEATH the glitz and glamour, the Paris Motor Show of 2010 sends a very serious message about the future of the automobile. Shiny supercars sit in the spotlights but it’s the technology — and the electric vehicles on every stand— which tell the true story.
Every major brand is looking to improve performance while cutting fuel use and emissions, while also giving showroom shoppers something worth considering as their next car.
So the top-end action includes Ferrari and Jaguar hybrids and the latest of Audi’s E-Tron electric cars, while the bottom-end push comes from new Nissan plug-ins and a good looking Kia concept called the Pop.
Paris is always glamorous and the show is no different, reflecting renewed optimism among most of the world’s carmakers — although the Americans are still noticeably timid.
So BMW has a 6 Series concept that’s a lightly disguised production car, Mercedes-Benz has its new CLS four-door coupe, Peugeot reveals its 508 and Citroen has its good looking new C4.
The dream machines are led by a carbon-fibre Lamborghini that looks like a Zorro caricature, Jaguar’s X-C75 — chosen as car of the show — and no fewer than five new Lotus sports cars.
They are wonderful cars but do they point to the future?
More likely they are the window dressing for the cars that really set the pace in Paris.
Nissan has a new spin-off from its batterypowered Leaf, the quirky little Townpod, and Renault has the DeZir coup concept that taps the same plug-in electric technology.
‘‘DeZir stands out as an illustration of the brand’s commitment to more emotional styling,’’ Renault says.
But there are also plenty of regular production cars at the Paris show which will soon be heading to Australia. Chevrolet has the Cruze hatchback, a car designed in Australia and due to go into production in Adelaide next year.
It looks good, the boot space is roomy, but the rear-seat space looks a little tight.
Ford has the Focus XT as a tease for a new compact line-up, to be built in Thailand, there is the next-generation Suzuki Swift, and the hot rod Abarth versions of Fiat models are also looking good.
Opel is promising it will start a major push into Australia with Holden and Saab finally confirms it is coming back Down Under in 2011 with a full factory operation and the all-new 9-5 as its first showroom contender.
Showstopper: Jaguar scooped car of the show with its C-X75 ahead of a carbon-fibre Lamborghini dream machine and five Lotuses.
Future shock: the electric Renault DeZir .