Special Coverage

Auto Show

Racing to the Bottom

The attraction to motorsports in Europe isn’t losing any ground during this economic crisis. “It’s like the cinema, people want to be distracted,” says Remi Deconinck, director of Renault Sport.

The single-model series of races Renault sponsors for its Clio and Megane cars have the same number of drivers and interest as before the global automotive industry began to tank.

But while racing remains steady, sales of sporty cars to the public are suffering along with the general market, which is not so good for the two new Renault Sport models being introduced at the Geneva Salon de l’Automobil.

They include the 203-hp Clio Renault Sport and 250-hp Megane Coupe Renault Sport. The best markets for hot cars are the U.K. and Spain, says Deconnick. Unfortunately, the two markets are sinking the fastest right now.

It’s a Small, Small World

Iranian auto maker Iran Khodro is showing a car here powered by a 1.7L 120-hp alternative-fuel engine.

Running on two tanks of compressed natural gas, the Samand LX has a range of 62 miles (260 km), says Alireza Feyzbakhsh, deputy president for export.

FEV in Aachen, Germany, engineered the engine with Iran Khodro.

Khodro is trying to make a name for itself outside Iran, and CNG engines are a strategic choice to gain a niche in foreign markets. “We want to start in Switzerland,” says Feyzbakhsh.

– compiled by William Diem