Text size


Geneva Motor Show 2017: An update

Geneva Motor Show 2017: An update


John Swift, automotive journalist & featured author for Swansway Group gives a full update on latest brand announcements from The Geneva Motor Show 2017.

One theme dominated this year’s Geneva Motor Show, the electric future which more manufacturers are plugging into and the step change in battery technology just around the corner that it needs to make them truly viable as a mass market alternative to petrol or diesel

Other than the normal parade of supercars, glimpses of driverless cars in various stages of development and some frankly bizarre concepts, Geneva seemed a bit unusual for the lack of more relevant new cars being unveiled but two in particular stood out

But beyond question the showstopper was the quite stunning new Jaguar I-PACE which will be in the showrooms 18 months from now

Resplendent in its red finish and glittering under the spotlights, the Jaguar is a four seater sports car powered entirely by electricity. The stand was constantly busy with people getting their first look at a model which signals the start of a new era in the premium car market.

Jaguar says the ever more efficient battery technology will give the I-PACE a range of around 300 miles on a single charge.

Over at the Bentley stand they used rather different criteria for their similarly all-electric EXP 12 Speed e, a jaw-droppingly gorgeous cabriolet. This, they say, will let its owners get from `Milan to Monaco’ on one charge!

Although officially only a concept, the essential styling has been seen before with a coupe body and must surely give a clear hint at their next generation model to replace the now ageing Continental.

The Bentley’s significance goes still further though because it will have induction charging to replenish the battery, a much faster way of putting power back in it than plugging into the mains. Induction charging is not yet readily available but the fact that Bentley was talking about it shows how quickly electric car technology is advancing.

A car very much of the moment and which you can buy from this summer is the Range Rover Velar. Slanted at an eye-catching angle on its stand to underline its go-anywhere credentials, this mid-£40,000 car fills the gap in the brand’s range between the Evoque and the Sport, or for buyers who, said a spokesman: “the first is too small and the second too big”.

Over at Honda the new Civic may be on sale but taking pride of place on the stand was the Type R performance version. Successive generations of the Type R have led the high power hatchback sector and this one certainly looks the part. You can find out how it fares against rivals from Ford when it arrives this summer. Prices from around low £30,000s.

Peugeot was in the news twice, with the eve-of-show win for the 3008 in the European Car of the Year awards, and for its parent company (PSA) completing the buy-out of Opel/Vauxhall from General Motors.

The Euro COTY is the biggest, if not the first, trophy for the 3008 which has been impressing with its i-Cockpit layout. This provides drivers all the connectivity functions expected of a modern car but with far fewer distractions in accessing them. Given the way the law on this issue is evolving and getting tougher on it, the Peugeot is very much the right car for the times.

However, PSA’s takeover of GM’s seemed to cast something of a shadow over the show because whatever the future holds, the reason why GM wanted to ditch its persistently loss-making European division - yet to make a profit this century! – underlines a fundamental problem facing car makers which is chronic over-production among the mass volume, mid-market brands.

There are just too many cars being built for too few customers and `consolidation’, merging companies and closing factories to squeeze a little more cost-efficiency will be a common theme in the years ahead.

VW had the Arteon saloon, a five-seater GT saloon being pitched above the Passat. It looked sleek and elegant on the stand but it remains to be seen how well it does in a market already crowded with Audi, BMW and Mercedes to say nothing of the lure of the latest SUVs.

A special mention must go to Renault’s resurrected Alpine brand and its gorgeous little two seater, the A110.

Styled to invoke memories of the fabulous coupes of the 1960s, the A110 will be here towards the end of the year. Mid-£40,000 price tag, a 250 bhp mid mounted 1.8 turbo powering a lightweight car built around an aluminium chassis sounds like a good recipe for success.

A Porsche-beater? Maybe, maybe not but it should sell on its looks alone.

Geneva seemed a little more subdued than normal this year with the growing problem facing many European-based volume manufacturers exposed by the sub-text of the PSA/GM deal but there were some genuine highlights – mainly courtesy of Jaguar.

Let us know your favourite model by commenting below.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more