French Fancies: Paris Motor Show Preview
by Sue Baker
Once every two years the French capital hosts the world’s motor industry showcasing all its latest models, and it’s about to happen.
This week sees the first international motor show since June 23rd, when British voters took a historic decision. So what is the UK’s motor industry doing to mark the occasion? Taking over the Eiffel Tower, that’s what. The event is a reception staged to celebrate British automotive exports ahead of the Paris Motor Show. Sounds like rather a cheeky post-Brexit move, guaranteed to rev up attention in Europe.
So what else will be going on in Paris? In a moment we’ll take a look at some of what will be grabbing attention on the Paris show stands at the huge Porte de Versailles exhibition centre. But this show is notable as much for who won’t be there. It’s a sign of changing times that some very significant car makers are staying away this time, saving money on those multi-million-pound show stands and shifting budgets to internet marketing instead.
The car brands missing from Paris include Ford, Volvo, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin and Lamborghini. It’s another sign that motor shows aren’t what they once were. Britain no longer hosts a major international motor show, after all. Instead it has the Moving Motor Show at Goodwood, and the new London Motor Show, as smaller national or even regional events.
Among the ones who will be exhibiting this week in Paris, Alfa Romeo is showing a higher-performance Giulia, in both rear-wheel-drive and 4×4 versions. There’s also a new SUV-crossover on the way that pays tribute to a famously fabulous Italian Alpine road, the Stelvio Pass. But it may be a bit too soon to spot the Alfa Stelvio just yet.
From Audi, we’re looking forward to seeing the second generation of the Q5 crossover, due on sale next spring. Meanwhile BMW‘s big news will be a concept car showing what the forthcoming X2 will look like, its anticipated smallest crossover model arriving next year.
We’ve already seen Citroen‘s new C3 supermini, but it will now be centre-stage on the French carmaker’s show stand. Due for debut too is the C3 Picasso, a small crossover that will be the latest model to wear Citroen’s signature airbumps. There will also be a plug-in hybrid concept, called the Cxperience.
Romanian car maker Dacia will show updated versions of its budget priced Sandero hatchback and Sandero Stepway crossover models. For supercar glamour at the other end of the price scale, the Ferrari stand will be a petrolhead mecca with the LaFerrari convertible. It’s an open-top version of the company’s highest-performance model.
Over at Honda, there’s a new Civic coming that’s a bit larger and funkier than the current car.
The news at Hyundai is an update of the little i20, and a fresh model to replace the i30 hatchback. Korean sister company Kia is showing its new Rio to refresh the company’s compact supermini.
One of the biggest debuts from British carmakers will be the new Land Rover Discovery, a new generation of one of the most capable cars in the world. Over at Lexus, there will be a coupe-crossover concept car, the UX.
Paris will be busy for Mercedes-Benz, with several debut models including the glamorous GTC roadster. From Mitsubishi we’ll look out for a concept of the new mid-size SUV-crossover, called Grand Tourer. Nissan‘s newcomer is the new generation Micra, with funkier looks than its predecessor.
Peugeot is debuting its new 3008, with a bolder front end look and upgraded interior. Its bigger brother the 5008 has also been given a sharp restyle. Porsche‘s new Panamera will get its first public viewing, including a hybrid version.
From Renault, the major event is a new pickup called the Alaskan. If it reminds you of a Nissan Navara, that’s not surprising, as the two have much in common. Skoda‘s show star is its new Kodiaq, a chunky SUV that will be available as a seven-seater. SsangYong has a new Rexton that looks considerably better than the rather awkwardly-styled old one.
Suzuki is showing its new SX4 S-Cross, which has undergone a major restyle with a much more emphatic face. On the Suzuki stand, the new Ignis supermini is the main news.
What’s Vauxhall doing? We’re expecting to see the sleeker new Insignia, with a more fastback look than before. Volkswagen, keen to set aside the emissions scandal, is likely to showcase a new electric hatchback concept car.
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