Archives for March 2015

Top 5: Production cars in Geneva

#5: Renault Kadjar

Renault_Kadjar-front-Geneva_Auto_Show-2015

Why is it here? Because it’s based on successful Nissan X-Trail/Rouge, because it manages to look even better than the already-handsome donor car, and because it should help us forget the sad joke that was the Renault Koleos (European sales in 2014: fewer than 7,500)

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Why did Ford change their LaFord poster for the GT?

When I arrived at the Geneva Auto Show on Wednesday morning, I noticed a Ford billboard on the outside walls of the Palexpo exposition hall that displayed the new Ford GT with just one word: LaFord. It took me a few seconds to make the connection between this billboard and the Ferrari LaFerrari, but when it struck me, I just smiled and thought: nicely done, Ford.

Ford_GT-poster-LaFord

I didn’t pay any attention to it the next day, until a few other journalists told me they had noticed the poster had been changed overnight, and it no longer had the reference to Ferrari. Ford_GT-poster-newThis left us wondering: why did they change the billboard? Was it only there for one day, just for the journalists on the press days? Because the Geneva Auto Show wouldn’t open for the public until Thursday. Or did Ferrari complain? That would be strange, because there are many examples of car ads taking a friendly stab at the competition, and most of the times, the targeted company responds in a similar matter, resulting in a funny game of advertising “battles” that benefits both companies as it gets attention on the internet, in the same way this ad has done for Ford (but not for Ferrari).

The most well-known battles are those between Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar, and between BMW and Audi, but perhaps supercar maker Ferrari doesn’t want to be compared to an “ordinary” Ford.… Continue Reading …

The sad case of the Renault Laguna

Just the other day I caught myself trying to remember what the current Renault Laguna looked like, and I couldn’t. At some point I even started asking myself if there ever had been a 3rd generation Laguna! Don’t think of me as a badge snob, as I was really fond of the 2nd gen Laguna (both the liftback and the estate), it’s just that the 3rd gen is anything but memorable. And the European sales confirm this: it barely sold more than 16,000 units in 2014, and was outsold twofold by the Citroen C5/DS5 duo, almost threefold by the Peugeot 508, and almost tenfold by the VW Passat. Renault better pull out all stops if the 4th gen wants to enjoy even a fraction of the success the first two generations enjoyed in their heyday!

Not only brand new cars on the Geneva show floor

What struck me while walking around on the Geneva Auto Show floor, was that a number of brands decided not only to display their newest models, but also one (or in one case: a few) vintage car to remind the visitors of their heritage.

Ford_GT40-Escort_Mexico-Sierra_XR4-Mustang-Geneva_Auto_Show-2015Ford was the most notable of all, showing a GT40 next to the strikingly good looking 2015 GT, which showed how small the original GT40 was, or how big cars have grown since. Ford also had a Sierra XR4, a classic Mustang Fastback next to the all-new Mustang, which will finally be officially sold in Europe as well, and an Escort Mexico to show the historical roots of the growling Focus RS.

McLaren_F1-GT-Longtail-Geneva_Auto_Show-2015With the P1 GTR, 650S Le Mans and the 675LT all debuting in Geneva, you’d think McLaren has more than enough new cars to fill up their entire stand, but they still found some space to add a 1997 McLaren F1 GT Longtail as well, to celebrate the arrival of the 675LT, where LT is short for Long Tail. That Longtail is one of the rarest and therefore most valuable McLarens ever and makes a visit to the McLaren stand worth your while.… Continue Reading …

Top 5: Geneva Sports/Supercars

#5: Koenigsegg Regera

Why is it here? Because it has more than 1,500hp from its hybrid drivetrain, because it can reach 400km/h almost 3 seconds faster than the Porsche 918 reaches 300km/h, and because it comes from a small swedish company whose name means “knife’s edge”

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Nissan must have read Left-Lane.com, Sway concept hints at new Micra

It appears Nissan has read my post from last week, about how to become Europe’s best selling Asian car brand again, in which I explained my idea that the key to Europe for them lies in the subcompact car segment. The current Micra is a bit too small in size and its looks aren’t appealing enough to the European car buyer. The Toyota Yaris outsells the Micra by more than 100.000 units a year, thanks to being designed in and for Europe, and being produced here as well (in France).Nissan_Sway-concept-Geneva_Auto_Show-2015

At the Geneva Auto Show this week, Nissan has lifted the curtain from the Sway, a concept car that hints at a future entrant in the subcompact car segment, although Nissan won’t admit outright this will be the new Micra. Its bold design with the trademark V-motion grille, boomerang-shaped rear lights, and floating roof make the Sway a better fit into Nissan’s line-up, whereas the Micra stands out from the rest of the family like a sunburnt gingerhead Englishman in Istanbul. However, I can also see a little influence from Renault in the design, most notably the differently colored section at the bottom of the doors and the rear hatch, with its straight vertical section and the sharp edge around it. … Continue Reading …

Blast from the past: Porsche 932 Panamera II

The other day I alluded to the Porsche 989 Panamera concept, the stillborn 4-door Porsche was considering in the early 1990s. Although that car was never officially shown to the public, its existence was a well-known fact among Porsche-files. What is less well-known is that after it ceased developing the 989, Porsche produced another concept, the 932 Panamera II, which by the looks of it aimed for a more spacious rear seat and boot.

Creating-The-Porsche-Sedan-1988-Porsche-989-Panamera-1991-Porsche-932-1987-928-Studie-and-1968-911-4-Door-1

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Bentley EXP-10 Speed 6 stuns Geneva, this author!

EXP 10 Speed 6-6

I promised myself to hold off writing any car news pieces until after Geneva concludes, but this car blew my socks off and I just had to post a few pictures. This is, without a doubt, the most gorgeous thing to come out of Crewe in well over a decade, and this is coming from a guy who actually likes the current Mulsanne and Flying Spur a lot! The compact proportions are perfect and comparable to the Maserati Alfieri concept, the flanks are interesting yet graceful, but the biggest success to my eyes is the front, with an absolutely contemporary take on the Bentley facia. It is also good to know that at least one company within the VAG empire is not deathly allergic to curves!… Continue Reading …

Demand for Lagonda Taraf and why Porsche canned the 989 four-door

To no-one’s surprise the Lagonda (ok, Aston Martin) Taraf will be sold in the UK, Europe, and not just in the Middle East as the company originally planned. This makes me wonder why did Aston Martin not make this car in the first place, rather than the unloved, too-small Rapide?… Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis January 2015 – models

After exploring the European car brand-ranking for January 2015, let’s look at which models are making waves.

Opel-Vauxhall-Corsa-facelift-2015Volkswagen still dominates the first and second place with the Golf and Polo, while the Ford Fiesta is knocked off the podium by the Renault Clio. The comeback of the facelifted Opel/Vauxhall Corsa keeps the Nissan Qashqai from equaling the crossover’s best-ever fifth place it achieved in February and March 2013.

 

The Toyota Yaris makes it two Europe-built Japanese models in the top-10, equaling the current generation’s best ranking it already achieved in March and September 2012. European-auto-sales-statistics-2014-full-year-Toyota_YarisThe success of the Yaris keeps Toyota just ahead of Nissan in the brands ranking, as the gap has closed from 13.500 units in January 2014 to just over 3.000 units this year. … Continue Reading …