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Small cars to rock Geneva 2014

2014-03-04 09:20

DYNAMITE: The 2014 Geneva auto show opens its doors on March 4 and small cars is said to be the new cool thing. Image: AFP


GENEVA, Switzerland - European automakers seem to be  shifting from survival to revival mode with dozens of car debuts at the 2014 Geneva auto show. And, small cars packed with premium features appears to be the theme as the industry “puts their longest-yet market slump in the rear-view mirror”, says the Detroit News.

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Analysts are projecting growth in new car sales in Europe at anywhere from 2 - 4% in 2014, the first year of gains since 2007, when sales reached an all-time high of 16-million before being hit by the financial crisis. But consumer appetite will remain mild, analysts say, until Europe can get economies churning again and unemployment rates down, the only cure to lagging consumer confidence.

Senior VP at Moody’s analyst services in Frankfurt,Falk Frey, said: “We don’t see a fast recovery but a 2% growth in car sales in 2014 to just over 13-million, but still 20% or 3-million units below the 2007 peak.


The Detroit News reported that some predict the European market will never hit that high again, but at the same time it would mean there will constantly be fierce competition for driver loyalties.

One Geneva auto show buzzword is ‘small’. Carmakers are adding premium design features to their city cars as they fight back against premium carmakers’ moving in on their small car territory. Small SUVs continue to be a trend.

Auto analyst Tim Urquhart said: “Everyone who hasn’t come to that party will be coming.”

Not that the sports car segment will allow city cars to steal their thunder. Lamborghini, McLaren and Ferrari all have something new to show — and the historic Italian carmaker Ermini Seiottosei is back after a decade-long hiatus.

The Geneva show opens its doors to journalists on March 4 and to the public on March 6. It runs through March 16.


The market for small SUVs is growing across the globe with young people and downsizing baby-boomers alike attracted to the high drive position, big cargo area and manoeuvrability.

Jeep will offer its new Renegade and Citroen is rolling out the C4 Cactus — a one-time funky concept car which has been given a shot at the roads while promising to revolutionize car interiors.


A regular hybrid pairs a conventional engine with an electric one to increase energy efficiency. Plug-in versions have batteries that don’t rely solely on the combustion engines to recharge, but can also be plugged into the power supply — giving the car the ability to make short trips using only its electric power. Volkswagen will be unveiling the Golf GTE, with a range of nearly 50km in all-electric mode for a claimed driving range of 939km when the full engine is in use.


Automobili Lamborghini SpA, a division of Volkswagen AG, is unveiling its Huracan LP 610-4, the successor to its most-successful car ever, the Gallardo, which stopped production in November after a decade. The carbon fiber and aluminium Huracan, which means hurricane and also refers to a bull, the Lamborghini logo, comes with a new gasoline injection system that provides more power with less consumption.

McLaren is launching the new 650S, which it boasts is faster than the legendary F1 road car from the 1990s.

Ferrari is rolling out the V8 California T convertible, marking the return of turbocharged units. Ermini Seittosei is bringing out a unique numbered car.


European automakers are taking their bread-and-butter small cars to a new level, focusing on fun and styling, not just economy. It’s a road already travelled by the Fiat 500, which is offering an updated version. A joint venture between Peugeot Citroen and Toyota results in a trio of small-car premiers on the same platform from the same factory that are helping the automakers achieve better economies of scale: Peugeot 108, Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo. Renault Twingo gets an update, going for an edgier look.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Geneva Auto Show.

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