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Posts Tagged ‘2012 paris motor show’

No Plans to Replace Ailing Opel with Chevrolet

Chevy gaining ground in a plunging European market – but profits are another matter.

by on Oct.02, 2012

Chevrolet's European chief Susan Docherty.

Despite growing calls for General Motors to abandon its increasingly troubled Opel brand, there are no plans to replace the German-based subsidiary with Chevrolet – one of the few brands actually gaining sales and market share despite the ongoing collapse of the European automotive market.

Nonetheless, Chevy appears to be the best opportunity GM has for regaining some momentum in Europe, said Susan Docherty, the veteran executive who took over Chevrolet’s European operations last January.

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From a peak of more than 17 million vehicles a year, Docherty said the European market could dip to somewhere between 14.0 million and 14.3 million in 2013, which she termed “very scary numbers.”  Even so, her goal is to continue building the Chevy brand’s sales and market share. Relatively new to the European market, the bow-tie brand sold 206,000 vehicles in Europe last year and is on track for a 5% gain for all of 2012.


First Look: Porsche 911 Carrera 4

Wider, faster.

by on Oct.01, 2012

Porsche adds all-wheel-drive to the 911 line.

One thing you can expect from Porsche is to see a steady roll-out of new variants for key models like the flagship 911 Carrera introduced barely a year ago.  And the latest version is making its formal debut at this year’s Paris Motor Show.

While the maker put the media spotlight on the unveiling of its Panamera Sport Turismo, it’s the new Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and 4S models that are drawing admiring glances from consumers as the show opens to the public.

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Beyond the new badge, the visual differences are subtle but nonetheless significant, the all-wheel-drive version of the Porsche 911 featuring rear haunches that have been widened by nearly an inch.  There’s also a new, illuminated crossbar element sandwiched between the taillamps.  Meanwhile, the tires on both the Coupe and Convertible 911 4 models are about 10 millimeters wider than those on the two-wheel-drive edition.


Volvo V40 Cross Country Is a Blend of Wagon and Crossover

New model to feature world's 1st pedestrian airbag.

by on Oct.01, 2012

The Volvo V40 Cross Country will target luxury competitors such as the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz B-Class.

Say “Volvo” and there’s a good chance your first image will be one of the maker’s traditional, boxy wagons.  While “two-box” designs remain strong in the European market, ute-like styling has become much more prevalent in the rest of the world – and is steadily gaining ground on the Continent, as well.

So, with the Paris Motor Show unveiling of the new V40 Cross Country, Volvo is clearly hoping to deliver a blend of both wagon and CUV. And it’s taking aim at such challenging competitors as the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz B-Class crossovers.

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Based on the current Volvo V40 Hatchback, the Cross Country gains nearly two inches in ride height – while getting larger, black and silver alloy wheels and decidedly chunky bumpers that Volvo apparently believes will give the new model a more robust, go-anywhere appearance.


First Look: Suzuki S-Cross

Bringing nature back to the city, says the Japanese maker.

by on Oct.01, 2012

Suzuki's new S-Cross Concept will reach production in the latter months of 2013.

Suzuki may not mean much as a brand in North-America, but iit is a well-established name in the Old World. Hence, there was plenty of interest in the maker’s new S-Cross Concept debuting at this year’s Paris Motor Show.

The new crossover is intended for city use, Suzuki cryptically suggesting it is designed to evoke “nature in the city and the city in nature.” To battle snowdrifts and potholes, it will be offered with 2WD and iAWD, Suzuki’s intelligent all-wheel drive system.

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The 169.7-inch long vehicle is still a design study, but Kenichi Ayukawa, Suzuki’s Executive General Manager of Global Automobile Marketing, confirmed that the production model will enter the market in the fourth quarter of 2013. With its 102.4-inch wheelbase, the S-Cross would fit in somewhere between the new Mazda CX-5 and the Mini Countryman


Chevrolet Makes Trax in Paris

US left on the sidelines.

by on Oct.01, 2012

Chevrolet is looking to the new Trax compact crossover to continue building momentum in Europe.

The most American of General Motors’ many worldwide brands, Chevrolet has been making rapid gains around the globe since GM emerged from bankruptcy – and nowhere is that more apparent than in Europe, where it is one of the very few makers to post both sales and market share gains for the first eight months of 2012.

Considering the near-collapse of the European market, that’s no mean feat – and one that will rely on new products to keep the momentum building.  New products like the Chevrolet Trax making its debut at this year’s Paris Motor Show.

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The Chevrolet Trax is a Korean-made compact crossover based on GM’s Gamma II platform – which is shared with several other models including the new Opel Mokka and the Buick Encore.  A modified version of the platform is also used for the new Chevy Sonic model that’s gotten off to a good start since its U.S. introduction for the 2012 model-year.


Ghosn Disappointed by Current Battery Car Sales – But Still Sees Upbeat Future

“We will be patient.”

by on Sep.28, 2012

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, shown with the Nissan Leaf during its public debut.

The floor of the Paris Motor Show is covered with an array of hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, the latter ranging from the little Nissan Leaf up to the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive.

But barring a sudden shift in consumer sentiment, demand for battery-based products has filed to charge up the sales charts. That’s particularly true for the Leaf, which has experienced an unexpectedly sharp decline in demand in the critical U.S. market this year.

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Asked whether that worries him as Nissan prepares to open a new Nashville assembly line for the Leaf, the maker’s CEO Carlos Ghosn responded that, “If you ask a CEO if he is disappointed in the level of sales, you are always going to get “yes” for an answer.”

But the Brazilian-born executive, who also serves as chief executive of Nissan’s alliance partner, Renault, insisted that rather than panic, “We will be patient.”


Honda Punches Up Performance of 2013 CR-Z

Sport compact hybrid now gets Sport-Plus mode.

by on Sep.28, 2012

Honda hopes to kick-start sales of the CR-Z with a significant boost in performance.

Though its new Accord may be winning favorable reviews, Honda has admittedly missed the mark with a number of recent niche vehicles – especially hybrids like the Insight and CR-Z. The latter was a particular disappointment coming as the long-awaited replacement for the Japanese maker’s old CR-X sport compact.

So, there were some anticipatory celebrations when Honda revealed plans to unveil an updated version of the CR-Z in Paris designed to punch out a bit more performance than the hybrid-powered model that debuted in 2009.

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Honda came through with a royal purple update that gets a number of welcome modifications – including 13 more horsepower and a new lithium-ion battery pack that allows the 2013 Honda CR-Z to operate in S+ mode – a hybrid alternative to turbocharging – for up to 10 seconds.


McLaren Unleashes P1 “Ultimate Supercar”

A spiritual successor to the original McLaren F1.

by on Sep.28, 2012

McLaren is keeping key details close to the vest, for now, but confirms the P1 will go on sale by spring 2013.

McLaren is billing the new P1 as the “ultimate supercar,” a claim the folks from Ferrari and Lamborghini might protest. But it’s the closest we’ve yet seen to the legendary McLaren F1 of more than a decade past – and its rollout at the Paris Motor Show generated more excitement than just about any other introduction at the biennial show.

Since its founding as a race team, McLaren has never been anything but ambitious – and its success on the Formula One track is proof positive of its capabilities, underscored Chairman Ron Dennis, who declared, “”The McLaren P1 will be the result of 50 years of racing and road car heritage,” during the well-attended unveiling at the Mondial de l’Automobile.

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Like rival British sports carmaker Lotus, McLaren has laid out an ambitious target – in this case, rolling out a new model every year.  In McLaren’s case, it’s delivering.  The P1 will be its third new offering starting with the MP4-12C and the newer convertible version of that 2-seat supercar.


Audi Reveals S3, RS5 Cabriolet – But Only One is America-Bound

Audi reveals a hot hatch and a cool convertible.

by on Sep.28, 2012

The new Audi S3: no plans for the States.

There was plenty of action on the Audi stand during the first Paris Motor Show press day, the maker balancing the futuristic Crosslane Cabriolet Concept with two more down-to-Earth production models.  But that doesn’t mean that either the new S3 compact sport hatch or the new RS5 Cabriolet would fall into the mundane category.

They’re two degrees of hot, the latest performance models in the expanding Audi assault on rivals BMW M and Mercedes-Benz AMG.  The good news for U.S. drivers is that the coupe cabrio will land in U.S. showrooms sometime during the first quarter of next year.  For now, however, there are no plans for the hot hatch to make the trans-Atlantic leap.

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That’s doesn’t mean we won’t see an S3 option sometime in the future, however.  Audi is working up a new sedan version of the A3, not confident it can generate enough sales of a hatchback.  The sportier “S” designation may be in the works following the launch of the 4-door model.


First Look: Lexus LF-CC Concept

Can passion and hybrids co-exist?

by on Sep.27, 2012

The Lexus LF-CC Concept appears to be very, very close to production-ready.

Lexus has been dropping a number of surprises in recent months – all meant to demonstrate that it’s serious about pumping more “passion” into the brand.

The latest effort, the LF-CC Concept, may be the most aggressive example of that to date, taking the maker’s L Finesse design language to new extremes — with a bold new iteration of the Lexus spindle grille that has become the symbol of the brand’s new direction.

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Likely to return in production form, the Lexus LF-CC is making its formal debut at this year’s Paris Motor Show.  And it also emphasizes that the Japanese brand’s love affair with hybrid technology isn’t cooling down.

The brand’s U.S. boss, Mark Templin, told last month that by mid-decadeLexus will have eight, possibly even nine, gas-electric offerings in its line-up.