Live (Almost) From Geneva : Day 1

In a DTW First, roving correspondent Robertas Parazitas, will be reporting from the 86th Geneva International Motor Show.

Boomerang Geneva
Maserati Boomerang at 1972 Geneva Salon – image : motortrend.ca

Monday 29 February 2016

10.30 : Palexpo opens in about three hours. There’s a Laurin & Klement Superb in the station concourse. Strange shiny metal flake wheels. Brougham as hell.

13.27 : Now logged into the Palexpo Wi-Fi. 34 minutes to go. Seems Steve Cropley drove here in a 957cc Fiesta Mk.1. It’s no Gamma, but heroic nevertheless.

14.49 : Waiting for the CoTY announcement. There’s a run through of 50 years of  previous winners – a lot of good cars, despite the mean spirited criticism. Short list is A4, MX5, Superb, XE, Astra,7 Series, XC90. No obvious winner, but it would be a surprise if VAG won.

15.06 : The run-down of nominees is underway.

15.17 : XC90 creeping up.

15.19 : Still Astra and Volvo in front.  MX-5 doing well.

15.20 : It’s the bleedin’ Astra!

15.25 : Astra 309, XC90 294, MX-5 202, A4 189, XE 163, Sperub 147, 7er 143. Now it’s Hennessey time..

23.33 : After the high drama of the CoTY announcement, a relaxed look round the stands. There are going to be a lot of all-nighters tonight to knock them into shape for Conference Day tomorrow.

The Volvo S90 exceeded expectations. The saloon pleased me more than the wagon, but both are excellent. There is an 1800ES on the stand, as a reminder of the inspiration for the new concave Volvo ‘signature’ grille.

Moving on to the Daimler Reich, I was most impressed that Dieter Zetsche did his own rehearsal, and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying it. He’s unexpectedly tall and very thin, I’d expected him to be rotund and a bit buffoonish. I think I was standing beside a Callum – not sure which one – while watching Dieter.

After Dieter exits, here’s then a song and dance act by one Zara Larsen, a popstrel who I am informed by the younger members of our contingent is shaping up to be the Swedish Taylor Swift. As it finished Dieter reappeared driving a C Class, and presented Zara with a bouquet of flowers. All rather charming.

There are three fine old Jeeps in the FCA enclave, but no Jeep press conference. There’s a solid hour of FCA presentations tomorrow. It will be interesting to see which binman’s outfit Sergio turns up in.

Still on Fiat matters, spotted my first Tipo this evening when we went into France for our evening meal. Hints of the old Brava and Marea, probably coincidental. At 11,900 Euros it ought to sell well.

6 thoughts on “Live (Almost) From Geneva : Day 1”

  1. Keep up the good work, Robertas. The Brougham phenomenon is cheering. It would be interesting to cross-compare Skoda and Ford’s approach. Renault and Peugeot need some similar options.
    What sort of coffee is being served?

    1. The fizzy stuff, courtesy of LVMH. Ironic (not sure if it’s Socratic or Morrisette irony) given the victory of such a blue-collar car.

  2. In one way I’m pleased that an “ordinary” car has won and I am sure that the Astra fits its own brief very nicely. However, I feel that this “new” Astra is more of a very thorough face-lift of the previous car, and is not as handsome – on the outside at least. I think the XC90 or MX-5 would have been more deserving: I read elsewhere that the “British” contingent voted along these lines. Could this become another cause for people to feel like voting for Brexit?

    1. Reports suggest that the Astra has finally stepped out from the shadow of the Focus, so it probably deserves the award. It’s not as if there were any real landmark alternatives. Certainly the XC90 or MX-5 would be nicer to own on one level, but the Opel had a harder job.

    2. I’ve seen a number of 2016’s new COTY on the road and I must say that from a styling perspective, I’m more impressed than I had imagined. Ford were reported to have been spooked by the positive reception to the previous Astra’s styling, but that positivity wasn’t reflected in sales, where Ford fared better. But now the Focus’ dynamic advantage looks to have narrowed significantly, and its visual appeal hasn’t materially benefited from its recent facelift, I can see the pendulum swinging more GM/Opel’s way.

  3. There are more new Astras around new. It’s good looking despite the C-pillar. I still think it’s a comprehensive facelift though. The current Focus doesn’t stand out except by elimination. Even the 308 can be easily distinguished. It will be interesting if perceptions of this generallly decent car change. The next Insignia will give more indications of Opel’s course.

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