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Posts Tagged ‘2013 geneva motor show’

Opel Cascada Anchors “10-Year Action Plan”

GM’s new European boss puts in first appearance.

by on Mar.08, 2013

New Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann and the Opel Cascada convertible.

General Motors can only hope it gets a warm reception for the new Opel Cascada convertible making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show this week, as it anchors the maker’s crucial “10-Year action plan.”

The past decade hasn’t been a very good one for Opel, which has plunged in sales and market share, helping GM run up European losses of $18 billion since plunging into the red there in 1999. Steve Girsky, the General Motors Vice Chairman who was put in charge of devising the action plan formally handed the reins over to GM Europe’s new boss, Karl-Thomas Neumann, during the Opel news conference.

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“My goal is to steer Opel back to its former strength and glory,” declared Neumann, who previously served in a senior management role at GM’s arch-rival Volkswagen AG. And the key to that, he said, was the plan formally known as “Drive 2022.”

While there are a variety of cost-cutting measures in the program, the crucial piece is the launch of new products, such as the new Cascada and the recently introduced Opel Adam. In all, the maker intends to launch 23 new vehicles and 13 new powertrain packages over the next five years alone.

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The Hottest Small Car We May Not Get

Mercedes pulls the wraps off A45 AMG.

by on Mar.08, 2013

No plans for the US - for now, anyway - the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG at its Geneva debut.

Take a close look.  Breathe deeply, then sigh.  Finally, start sending out those e-mails.  A deposit check might help, too.

For now, it seems, Mercedes-Benz has no plans to bring over its sporty new small car, the A-Class, including the high-performance version, the Mercedes A45 AMG that is drawing crowds at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

Too bad.  The pint-sized luxury model is the latest incarnation of the Mercedes A-Class and a major shift in direction from the previous generation, abandoning the ungainly tall wagon approach for this more elegant shape that might almost be called a coupe-like wagon.

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Several more mainstream versions of the new A-Class recently went on sale in Europe, both gas and diesel powered. But the big news in Geneva was the unveiling of the AMG edition.  This is the luxury equivalent of the hot hatch.

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Spyker Has Big Comeback Plans for B6 Venator

China, rather than US, could be its biggest market.

by on Mar.08, 2013

The Spyker B6 Venator concept.

One thing you can say about Victor Muller: he doesn’t give up easily.  “I am persistent,” says the Dutch entrepreneur as he catches his breath between interviews and meetings at the Geneva Motor Show.

Many thought Muller might call it quits on the auto industry after his effort to save the Swedish carmaker Saab collapsed in the waning days of 2011. At the time, it looked like he would also be forced to sell the tiny sports car company he had launched a decade earlier.

But while Saab collapsed – an issue that Muller continues to deal with in a $3 billion lawsuit he has filed against the maker’s former owner, General Motors – he wound up keeping Spyker and now hopes to bring it back to life with the introduction of the new B6 Venator. A concept version is on display at Geneva’s PALExpo convention center and generating a fair amount of interest.

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The B6 is a compact, mid-engine sports car that picks up on some of the aerospace-influenced design cues of earlier, often outlandish Spyker models, such as the Aileron.  That includes not just its propeller logo but an aircraft-like canopy that sweeps rearward to reduce drag, LED taillights that are designed to look like the afterburners of a fighter jet, and turbofan-style wheels. The aero theme carries over into the interior, where there’s an airplane-style ignition switch, a turned aluminum dash and jet-like gauges.

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New Volvo System Spots Pedestrians, Cyclists, Make Emergency Stops

Maker working on next-gen model capable of spotting animals.

by on Mar.07, 2013

Volvo's system uses a combination of radar and vision sensors to spot obstacles.

Volvo is launching a new safety system capable of spotting not only pedestrians but even bicyclists weaving in and out of traffic.

The latest update of the maker’s well-regarded City Safety technology, the system is designed to sound an alert if it spots a potential collision. But it’s also capable of bringing the vehicle to an abrupt halt, if necessary, should the driver be distracted or not respond in time.

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The initial version of City Safety, first launched in 2010, was designed to look for other cars, but Volvo has taken advantages of advances in vision processing, data crunching and software to continually update the system, which uses both a camera hidden on the windshield side of the rearview mirror and a radar sensor in the vehicle’s grille.

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Audi A3 Sportback e-Tron to Be Maker’s First Plug-in Hybrid

But there’ll be plenty to follow, with a diesel plug-in also under development.

by on Mar.07, 2013

Audi's A3 e-tron will be just the first of a planned assortment of plug-ins to come from the maker.

Luxury automaker Audi has taken the first step in what it promises will be a major commitment to plug-in hybrid powertrain technology.

The new Audi A3 Sportback e-tron making its public debut at this week’s Geneva Motor Show is being billed as the first in a procession of clean, high-mileage PHEVs the Volkswagen AG luxury subsidiary plans to roll out over the coming years. It marks a shift away from Audi’s earlier interest in pure battery-electric technology, company officials insisting plug-ins better meet the needs of today’s motorists.

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Using the most sporty of the compact Audi A3 body styles, the new e-tron offers “the power of two hearts,” proclaimed Rupert Stadler, Audi’s CEO, during a Geneva news conference. There’s a 150-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four gasoline engine paired with a 100-horsepower electric motor.

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Kia Provo Concept Kicks Off Controversy

Name offers haunting reminder, to some, of Northern Ireland’s “troubles.”

by on Mar.06, 2013

The controversial Kia Provo concept.

Korean carmaker Kia has touched off an unanticipated firestorm with the debut of its Provo concept vehicle at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

Finding a suitable name for a vehicle is never easy, usually because the best choices are already taken, but occasionally because they might carry some inadvertently negative meaning. In the case of the Provo, a British lawmaker has gotten fired up because Provo was the street name for the Provisional IRA.

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That was the violent arm of the outlawed Irish Republican Army blamed for nearly 2,000 deaths during the period locals often refer to as “the troubles,” the 1970 to 1997 campaign of violence meant to win independence for the region from Britain.

It didn’t help that Kia – whose name can be seen as shorthand for “Killed in Action” – promoted the design concept vehicle as a “radical super-mini coupe which aims to set the streets alight.”

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Marchionne Wants to Complete Fiat/Chrysler Merger ASAP

Meanwhile “no glimmer of hope” for European industry turnaround this year.

by on Mar.06, 2013

Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne sits on a new LaFerrari during the supercar's Geneva preview. Ferrari Pres. Luca di Montezemelo is in the background.

Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of both Fiat and Chrysler, wants to finish merging the two companies as soon as possible – though other shareholders may make that a difficult task to complete without first taking the U.S. maker public.

During a news conference marking the first day of media previews at the Geneva Motor Show, meanwhile, Marchionne offered up a glum assessment for the worsening crisis the auto industry is facing in Europe, concluding he does not see a “glimmer of hope” for a turnaround in the market this year.

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Shortly after Fiat took control of Chrysler, following the American maker’s emergence from bankruptcy in 2009, it appeared likely there would ultimately be a public stock offering. Marchionne has repeatedly delayed that move and now says he’d like to skip it entirely, telling reporters in Geneva “It’s the right thing to bring these two organizations together,” and suggesting Fiat has the “availability of funding to try and close this transaction” in short order.

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Ferrari Goes Hybrid for Fastest Car Ever

New LaFerrari a nearly 1,000-hp replacement for old Enzo.

by on Mar.05, 2013

The new LaFerrari borrows heavily from the maker's successful Formula One race program.

If your idea of a hybrid looks something like the Toyota Prius, something that’s more fuel-efficient than fun-to-drive, you may need an attitude readjustment after getting a look at the new LaFerrari, the long-awaited replacement for the Italian automaker’s former flagship, the Enzo.

This is definitely not your typical gas-electric drivetrain, though the maker insists it will substantially reduce emissions and fuel consumption compared to a conventional drivetrain. Of course, there aren’t many out there that can churn out to nearly 1,000 horsepower.

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During a presentation at the Geneva Motor Show, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemelo described the new model as the “maximum expression of what defines our company….all the capabilities of our know-how,” adding that the LaFerrari “represents the future” for one of the world’s most respected sports car manufacturers.

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Rolls-Royce Reveals New Wraith

“Athletic” coupe is fastest Rolls ever.

by on Mar.05, 2013

The new Wraith is the fastest and most powerful Rolls-Royce ever introduced.

The European automotive market may be melting down but you’d be hard-pressed to tell by the wide range of exotic sports and luxury cars that have been making their debut at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

Among those weighing in are Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti and in an exclusive corner of the show floor, Rolls-Royce.  After teasing its all-new entry for the better part of a month, the British maker finally offered up a first clear look at its new Wraith luxury coupe.

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As one might expect, the new offering maintains the luxurious features one might expect from the marque, the high-end division of Germany’s BMW. There’s plenty of leather and wood – and some other intriguing details such as a starlight headliner and a transmission that can use satellite guidance to track your route to improve shifts.

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Porsche Reveals Most Powerful 911 Ever

Track performance, on-road manners.

by on Mar.05, 2013

The new Porsche 911 GT3 storms into Geneva.

Pumping out a neck-snapping 475-horsepower, the new Porsche 911 GT3 is designed to deliver track performance and on-road manners.

The fastest and most powerful version of the flagship sports car the German maker has ever introduced, the new GT3 is about more than just raw muscle. It introduces a variety of sophisticated new technologies, including the new rear axle steering system which Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller says is designed to deliver tighter, even more sure-footed cornering.

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The new model handily outperforms any previous 911 on the track, said Muller, though he stressed that the GT3 “is still suitable for everyday use” during a preview at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.

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