Wanting to put 2001 behind them, European auto makers are anxious to let the world see what's next at this month's Geneva Motor Show. Several major manufacturers will introduce crucial products at Geneva, with hopes that they all end up sales winners.
Corp.'s Adam Opel AG unveils its all-new Opel Vectra sedan lineup. Slated to go on sale in the spring, the Vectra will be offered in either base or performance-oriented GTS variants. Vectra marks the debut of GM's new global Epsilon platform, which is expected to account for upwards of 1.4 million units of production annually for the world's largest auto maker.
Opel also will debut its new Concept M, which is powered by a 1.6L turbocharged engine (150 hp) that runs on natural gas and is mated to the automatic Easytronic gearbox. Opel will show the Astra Cabrio featuring a 2L turbo engine producing 192 hp, and the new Zafira 2.2 DTI (125 hp).
On the heels of its CrossTrainer introduction at the Chicago Auto Show,Motor Co. debuts another of the “segment busters” promised by Chris Theodore, vice president-North American product.
Fusion is the auto maker's attempt to stake a claim in the “white space” that surrounds Europe's hatchback, MPV and SUV segments. Dubbed an “Urban Activity Vehicle,” Fusion is scheduled for production in the spring at Ford's Cologne (Germany) Body and Assembly Plant.
The vehicle, which has a similar-looking cousin set for production in Brazil, blends characteristics that fill “an unmet need in the small-car marketplace,” says Morten Hannesbo, Ford of Europe's small car brand manager. Fusion offers family-oriented space, agility and a “tough on-road presence.”
Two basic powertrains will be available: Ford's TDCi common-rail turbodiesel and Ford's Duratec 16V petrol. The latter can be had in displacements of 1.4L and 1.6L.
Design highlights include its functional “cubed out” rear. The vertical liftgate cuts deep into the rear bumper for easy loading.
Motor Corp. is showing a concept with similar leanings. The MX Sport Runabout features a 1.5L DOHC powerplant and 17-in. wheels positioned at the vehicle's extreme corners, which reduces overhang and maximizes interior space.
MX Sport Runabout also will share's Geneva spotlight with two new Mazda6 body styles — a sport wagon and a 5-door hatchback.
Ferrari SpA unveils its new 575M Maranello at the Geneva show. The car is the first 12-cyl. Ferrari to feature an F1-type gearbox. While styling changes are subtle — modified shape of air intakes on the front fascia and new treatments for the front spoiler — the real story is the powerplant. The 575M Maranello's new V-12 engine has a maximum output of 515 hp at 7,250 rpm and a maximum speed of 202 mph (325 km/h). The 575M Maranello also comes complete with a new adaptive road-holding suspension system to keep all of that power firmly on the pavement.
DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes-Benz unit will debut its next-generation CLK coupe and display the engine that will power its ultra-luxury Maybach sedan (the car itself will debut at the Paris Motor Show this fall). The company'sGroup, meanwhile, plans to debut a new derivative of its PT Cruiser for the European market.