Not so much Geneva bites, more nibbles from a show which wasn’t short of substantial fare.
There was a Vauxhall at Geneva!
And rightly so. The one-nation marque, which few people outside the UK even realise exists, outdid Jeep, MINI, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Honda, Suzuki and Mitsubishi for sales across the entire EU zone in 2016.
This Insignia Grand Sport even got its own totem, and may have a unique status as a left hand drive Vauxhall. Griffin-badged engine shields don’t seem to be on stream yet either, as the underbonnet view shows.
A Mazda I nearly missed
The MX-5 RF is here, and I’m rather taken. The folding metal roof is undeniably clever – typical of Mazda to come up with an exceptionally well executed example just as the rest of the automotive world has given up on the idea.
What really captivates me is the look of the thing. From some angles it’s like a modern Opel GT, from others it’s a revival of sixties Japanese sports cars which largely existed in the imagination.
Karl-Thomas Neumann has a Diplomat
The marathon-running classic car fiend at the head of Opel is no lifelong GM man, having arrived in March 2013 after illustrious careers at VAG, Continental and Motorola.
His personal car choice is a perfect statement of loyalty to his new company. It is one of the rarest of Opels, the Karmann-built Diplomat A coupe, and is the last of 347 produced.
Lest the cynical imagine it’s merely borrowed from the company museum, Neumann tracked it down to a seller in the Netherlands and bought it personally. The only engine ever offered was a 227bhp 327ci Chevrolet Smallblock, and the car it powers is an extraordinary mix of American muscle and German precision.
I suspect that the car has possessed Neumann, rather than the other way round. At the press conference he declared the new Insignia Grand Sport to be the spiritual successor to the Kapitan / Admiral / Diplomat series.
Hubristic delusion or a statement of intent for a company with an uncertain future? I hope it’s the latter.
Above all the new Jeep Compass is…
A Punto. Or even a Corsa…
That may be stretching a point, but FCA have stretched the platform. The Fiat / GM ‘Small’/SCCS underpinnings have been given a 70mm wheelbase extension over the Renegade. The 2640mm distance between the wheels matches the Nuova Tipo, but the Compass is far more imposing, as well as avoiding its predecessor’s awkward attempt to appear avant-garde with its clumsy wheel arch contrivance and concealed door handles.
In Jeep’s price structure, the Compass fits between the Renegade and the Cherokee – these days a high-riding Giulietta. Where its constituency lies is another matter. I’m thinking those who find a Cashcow too mainstream, and others who might have gone for a Freelander, but find the Discovery Sport beyond their reach.