Special Coverage

Auto Show

PARIS – Chrysler Group LLC apparently has a one-track mind when it comes to marketing.

For the 2008 Paris auto show, the auto maker bought all the billboard space inside a nearby subway station, through which thousands of show-goers must pass.

This year, Jeep ads abound. They tout the all-new Grand Cherokee and the ’11 Wrangler, which benefits from a redesigned interior.

Letting Their Fingers Do the Walking

Product specialists populating show stands here have a wealth of information at their well-manicured fingertips. Almost all are armed with iPads to help them describe vehicles and technology on display.

Definite Maybe

Design legend Giorgetto Giugiaro receives a warm welcome to the Volkswagen family during a pre-show event at a Paris fashion house.

Giugiaro now is serving as a consultant for VW, which acquired his formerly independent design house, Italdesign Giugiaro SpA, earlier this year.

He and fellow Italian Walter de Silva, VW’s chief designer, promise to lend some Italian flair in the form of “elegance” and styling “discipline” to VW products.

Asked later if it might be time to resurrect the VW Karman Ghia, Giugiaro shakes his head, then corrects himself. It could happen if VW decides to pursue more market niches, he tells Ward’s.

How Fast Is Fast?

Volkswagen test driver Pierre Henri Raphanel pilots a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport onto the stage during a pre-show event.

The crowd is told he set a speed record in July while driving the Super Sport at Volkswagen's Ehra-Lessien oval in July. Raphanel was clocked at 268 mph (431 km/h).

An interviewer asks him, “How did that feel?”

Says Raphanel: “Fast. Very Fast.”

Shades of Gray

Daimler AG Chairman Dieter Zetsche describes the Smart minicar’s appeal as an environmentally friendly ride. “Green is the new black,” he says.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen boasts that it developed a new shade of gray, “flint,” for the ’11 Touareg cross/utility vehicle. Is that even possible anymore?