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April 22, 2015 by Dhiraj Gurung

Geneva Motor Show

Another Geneva Motor Show draws to a close. Another chance for JATO to gen-up on what’s hot and what’s not in the motoring world.

Some facts to start with:

  • A record 682,000 visitors across ten days
  • In excess of 11,000 journalists
  • 100+ vehicle premiers

So, what was on offer and what did we learn?

It was clear that despite economic downturns in several European markets, major car makers were intent on accelerating their product portfolios with a glittering array of show-stopping concepts offering a glimpse into the future, as well as technological masterpieces in their main production ranges.

Mercedes kicked off show proceedings with a dose of racing heritage in the shape of the ‘shark nose’ AMG GT3 race car, as well as new SUV offerings with the GLE-Class Coupe. There’s been a real surge in pseudo off-road vehicles in recent years, which shows no signs of abating – has the once-controversial ‘soft-roader’ moniker finally shaken off its gas-guzzling image?

The downsizing trend over the past three-to-four years (and continuing at this year’s show) has seen an upsurge in economy, performance and reductions in emissions across all cars, not just SUVs – Skoda’s hi-torque, low capacity diesel unit as found in the Superb, a prime example. Who would have thought sub 100 g/km cars would be commonplace five years ago, let alone in an Upper Medium segment vehicle.

 

I’ve always been fascinated by just how much effort manufacturers put into their stands, both in financial and aesthetic terms, and Geneva never disappoints. Whilst not the biggest venue we attend (Paris and Frankfurt dwarf the Palexpo arena in comparison), it always feels special – a heady concoction of people, languages, cultures and, of course, cars.

I’m often asked to pinpoint a particular theme for motor shows, but there appeared to be so many updates for so many different vehicle types at Geneva this year, it’s genuinely hard to. However, if I was pushed, I’d have to say performance hatches. Ford, Honda, Audi and Opel, all offering a spicy halo models to entice younger buyers into the product ranges – Ford with its RS Focus, Honda with a first-ever turbocharged VTEC Civic Type R, Audi with a Mercedes A-Class AMG-rivalling RS3 and Opel with its diminutive Corsa OPC, all vying for king of their respective niche markets.

A motor show wouldn’t be a show without some outrageous supercars, as well as concepts. Ferrari updated its high-volume (relatively speaking) coupe range with a new 488 GTB, Porsche took the wraps off a high-performance Cayman in the shape of the GT4 and McLaren unveiled its Super Series model in the form of the 675 LT (Long Tail). Concepts – a staple of motor shows – included Bentley’s EXP-10 in a lurid shade of green, as well as Audi’s peek into its near-future design language reshuffle in the shape of the Prologue Avant.

In addition to news coverage at the show, the Specs Research Head Office team are also present. Here, Data Analyst Khush Gohlar gives a view on what is required to keep up-to-date of the latest goings-on in the industry.

Motor shows represent an invaluable opportunity for Research to keep abreast of developments in the automotive arena. Geneva, with its close proximity to major European car manufacturers, always puts on a worthy show, allowing Research unrivalled access to their new offerings. I had the pleasure of joining Judith Studer (Swiss Research Coordinator) and her Specs team who are tasked with data collection, meeting contacts and writing JATO News articles on new releases at the show. As an example of opportunities the show allows, through his Mercedes contact Stephan Scheidmann (Swiss Specs researcher) had enviable behind-the-scenes access to the new Mercedes-Maybach Pullman. Access typically reserved only for the privileged few, so it is great to see how highly JATO researchers are considered in the industry.

From an HO perspective, this window into the industry allows monitoring and careful evolution of our Schema, ensuring new technologies and features are available ahead of customer needs. We improve and support our understanding of existing technologies and items as we query knowledgeable Product Managers on the intricate details JATO covers so well, allowing the research highly valued by our customers.

Whilst Geneva is one of the smaller International motor shows, my pedometer still registered 19,329 steps on Day One. Suffice to say, a good pair of shoes is an invaluable investment for these events! All the leg work is not without reward and alongside our research-focused tasks, the team is advised to have fun! Being involved in the excitement of motor shows where industry defining releases are showcased serves well in continuing to keep us motivated, excited by the industry and enjoying our work.

Donny Gow

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