Special Coverage

Auto Show

GENEVA – Automobiles Peugeot and Automobiles Citroen employ major themes of the auto show here in their presentations: electric drive, new cars, new service technologies and a new spirit of joie de vivre.

In spite of the fact Europe’s market is expected to decline this year by as much as 10%, Citroen is among auto makers showing concept cars of the old-fashioned kind.

The Citroen Survolt is a glossy, slinky, shiny electric car meant to combine the spirit of competition with sophistication and electric power. It is a dream car, with no serious intentions discernible.

Citroen also shows the previously announced DS High Rider and DS3 Racing concepts that foreshadow, respectively, the future DS4 and a hot-version DS3.

The brand also announces production plans for its second-generation stop/start system coming to the C3 Picasso next year, then spreading across the Citroen and Peugeot range of cars. Vehicles equipped with stop/start diesels will be badged e-Hdi.

Citroen also plans to offer a wireless communications system on its version of the Peugeot Connect announced several weeks ago. Citroen’s e-Touch is the brand’s service of automatically calling for help in case of an accident and offering road-side assistance.

A box embedded in the car includes a telephone card and GPS unit, as well as microphone, speaker and back-up battery. When an airbag deploys or the driver pushes the SOS button for three seconds, the car calls a help desk.

Peugeot is featuring its concept cars SR1 gasoline hybrid and Five by Peugeot diesel hybrid that foreshadows the Peugeot 508, the car that will top Peugeot’s range in replacing the 407 and 607.

Both Peugeot and Citroen display their versions of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car that will go on sale late this year. Peugeot also shows its 3-wheeled gasoline-hybrid scooter concept, the HYbrid3 Evolution.

Vincent Basso, the engineer in charge of PSA hybrid programs, says the auto maker believes diesel-hybrids are the best choice for Europe. However, it likely will develop gasoline hybrids for international markets where diesel engines are not accepted.

PSA uses a rear-axle electric motor for its hybrids, which is a modular approach that permits economies of scale because it can be adapted to any of its vehicles with front-wheel-drive internal-combustion engines.