PetrolBlog’s Geneva Unconventional: Part One

By now, you’ll have read all there is to know about the Geneva Motor Show 2012. You’ll have seen the scoops, seen the girls and will probably be approaching what they call ‘Geneva Fatique’. Actually, nobody calls it that, I just made it up.

So what can PetrolBlog possibly add? Well hopefully a different perspective. A different spin. I didn’t attend the launches and the lavish unveilings. And I’m afraid I didn’t pay much attention to the supercars. Instead, I decided to go in search of the interesting, the obscure and the downright ugly.

I therefore present the best and the worst of Geneva 2012. The PetrolBlog’s Geneva Unconventional. And seeing as I have so much waffle and bunk to get through, I thought it best to deliver it in bite-sized chunks. So this is part one.

1. Most over enthusiastic security guard of the day

Despite the show already being open and members of the press already enjoying the display, this chap was determined that we we wouldn’t go in. Matters got a little heated and some French style profanity was thrown around. So I did the British thing and sneaked under the radar and on to the adjacent Smart stand. Steve McQueen would have been proud. For all I know, the other folk may still be there.

Security guard at the Geneva Motor Show, 2012

2. Car of the day: Citroën C6

My car of the day is not some concept car that’s unlikely to see the light of day. It’s not a particularly new car either. It is the wonderfully elegant and stunningly beautiful Citroën C6.

Remember that on the continent, it’s still possible to buy a new C6. The Europeans like big French cars. They don’t suffer with the same stigma and image problem that they do in the UK. They also don’t suffer with near vertical levels of depreciation.

I love the C6. I love it so much that it genuinely made my heart flutter when I saw it. The white paintwork, the black roof, the exquisite details. It’s just perfect. I want to buy one brand new and then spend the rest of my life with it. To hell with residual values.

Citroën C6 at the Geneva Motor Show, 2012

3. Most disappointing range: Alfa Romeo

To be honest, Mazda could have run away with this one had I not discovered the stunning Takeri in the afternoon. I could have also singled out SEAT who, aside from the new Toledo, didn’t have a great deal to get excited about. But neither Mazda or SEAT win the award. Instead, the award for the most disappointing range goes to Alfa Romeo. It’s rather remiss of me to fail to notice that today, the Alfa range consists solely of two models. Take away the admittedly pretty girls and the expensive lights and I think this is a disappointing display of cars. I love Alfa Romeos, I just want to see more of them. Overloading a big stand with a number of Mitos and Giulettas just isn’t enough.

To compound my misery, I saw two beautiful 166s and an immaculate 164 on the journey to the show. Modern Alfas just aren’t what they used to be.

Alfa Romeo Mito on the Alfa Romeo stand, Geneva Motor Show 2012

4. Deepest backless dress: Nissan Juke

How do you solve a problem like the Nissan Juke’s styling? Simple, hire a lovely girl and give her a backless dress. Problem solved. Attention diverted from Juke.

Not going to help on the Chiswick High Road though, is it?

Girl next to Nissan Juke at the Geneva Motor Show 2012

5. Most anally-retentive visitor: Chap with Maglite

The Geneva motor show gives you the chance to get a good feel for a new car. You can check out the size of its boot. Sit behind the wheel. Even open the bonnet. But for this chap, that clearly wasn’t enough. He was under this Mercedes armed with a Maglite and a small hammer. One can only assume that he was a mole sent by the good folk of Munich. Either that or he was praying to the god of the three-pointed star?

Chap with Maglite and hammer on Mercedes stand at Geneva

6. Biggest pout of the day: Giugiaro

I rather like Giugiaro’s VW up! Azzura Sailing Team conversion. It’s bonkers of course, but I could actually see it being used by the well-to-do on the Côte d’Azur. In the same way that the Jeep Wrangler only works on west coast of America, the Giugiaro up! needs to be on a coast road in southern France. It also needs to be driven by impossibly pretty people as they nip between the marina and the tennis club. Which is why it wouldn’t look so good in Southend.

But it wins an award because of the lady’s pout. I’d be tempted to call it the Stuck up!.

Giugiaro VW up! Azzurra Sailing Team concept at Geneva 2012

7. Shatchback of the day: Tata Manza

A close run thing this one, largely because I could only find two contenders. First up is Chevrolet Aveo. A car so classically Shatchback it’s almost laughable. The anonymous front end with the hideously stubby rear end. Chevrolet, don’t for one minute think that a lip spoiler can make the Aveo look desirable.

Chevrolet Aveo Shatchback at Geneva Motor Show 2012

But the Tata Manza grabs the award. It’s even more of a disaster than the Aveo, with a front end that seems to bear no relation to the back and a set of ridiculously undersized wheels. To make matters worse, it’s finished in ‘Daily Express-reading, bungalow-dwelling’ burgundy paint.

The name is mildly amusing though. When said quickly, Tata Manza sounds like a Japanese suicidal war cry. Perfect for launching yourself on to the M25 on Monday morning.

Tata Manza Shatchback at Geneva Motor Show 2012

8. Nice Rak award

The Rak e is Opel’s experimental car. Looking suspiciously like a Renault Twizy that’s had a run in with a motorbike from Mad Max, the Rak e is supposed to herald ‘a new chapter in electric mobility’, with a top speed of 120km/h and the ability to travel 100km for just a single euro.

It was one of my favourite concepts at the show, not least because I can see a market for it and it wouldn’t take much for it to reach production. I’d also like the opportunity to go up to someone and say “nice Rak”, without the fear of a slap.

Opel Rak e concept car at the Geneva Motor Show 2012

9. Reminder to buy a Peugeot 205 award

Remember the Peugeot 205 Roland Garros? The little hatchback that was resplendent in its green paintwork and embossed leather seats? Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten it.

Clearly the good people of Peugeot haven’t, as they’ve decided to launch the 308CC Roland Garros. It might be me, but the 308CC seems to fit the Roland Garros badge far better than the 205. It doesn’t take much imagination to see one parked outside Worthing Tennis Club.

Me? I’m about to add the Peugeot 205 Roland Garros to my eBay watch list.

Peugeot 308 CC Roland Garros at Geneva Motor Show 2012

10. Display fail of the day: Fiat

The press days at Geneva allow the manufacturers to fine tune their displays before the mass arrival of the general public. Give the journos some free drinks, throw in some pretty girls and they’ll forgive just about anything. A few rough edges here and there? No problem.

Throughout the day I saw electricians, IT chaps and carpenters frantically rushing to and fro at the behest of the desperate press officers.

Man hammering at the Geneva Motor Show 2012

It was all hands on deck on the Fiat stand after the public unveiling of the 500L. A glass partition was shattered and the chaps were busy with their dustpans and brushes, clearing up the mess. Quite what happened, I’m not sure, so I can only guess the glass shattered as a result of the shrieks of horror when people realised that yes, the 500L could look as bad in real life as it did in the photos. I’ll spare you the horror of uploading a photo…for now.

Broken glass on the Fiat stand at the Geneva Motor Show 2012

So that’s the first ten. Sorry to say there’s more to come, including a display of helmets, the Fiat 500L, American cops, some ladies in a bath (at least I think that’s what my notes say), Suzuki’s wonderful G70, more on the C6 and the questionable work of the aftermarket styling houses. Stay tuned for part two, coming to a PetrolBlog near you…

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.

35 comments

  1. March 8, 2012
    Joe Simpson

    Brilliant – I much prefer the irreverent stuff to the ‘OMG this Ferrari is amazing’ coverage everywhere. And as an aside, you get an insight into the life of the car design news team at every show. We might look weird, but it’s fun. PS – totally agree on the C6. Got lost for 5 minutes staring at it. PPS – if I could carry a sniper gun around motorshows, the hundreds of benchmarking gnomes (like the one under the M-Class) would get my first few hundred shots. Had a stand up row with one in Detroit that caused quite a scene, but that story’s for another time.

    Reply
    • March 8, 2012
      MajorGav

      Cheers Joe. There’s more of this to come I’m afraid. Enough for two more updates at the very least.

      I did the same with the C6. As the day drew to a close, I just returned to the Citroën stand, crouched down and stared at the car for five minutes. I just love it and given the choice of any car to drive back home in, I’d have chosen it.

      Would love to hear your story about the chap in Detroit… 😉

      Reply
  2. March 8, 2012
    Tom Richards (@teorichards)

    Citroen C6 is still available new in the UK – even if annual sales don’t quite reach into double figures…

    Reply
    • March 8, 2012
      MajorGav

      Yeah, I know. Special order only I think, with a sizeable deposit. Shame there’s not one on the Citroën press fleet these days…

      Reply
      • March 8, 2012
        Tom Richards (@teorichards)

        Maybe a ‘used buy’ feature with your local dealer…?

        Reply
        • March 8, 2012
          MajorGav

          The thought had occurred to me. I was also thinking about asking a press office on the continent for a 24 or 48 hour loan. Would be worth the cost of the flight.

          Reply
  3. March 8, 2012
    Jason Hitchcock (@LeaseWorld)

    Typical Fiat couldn’t even get their stand to work, thank god they don’t build cars…

    Reply
  4. March 8, 2012
    Simon Hingston

    Mmmm C6. Always loved it. Like the two tone paint and rest of car doesn’t seem to have been ruined as most are at the half way point. Excellent stand positioning too, imagine it was overwhelmed when they unveiled the phase two Phantoms.

    P.S. the backless dress was a subliminal introduction to the Juke cabrio a la Evoque?

    P.P.S. don’t eat the sandwiches on the train. Any train. Ever.

    Reply
    • March 8, 2012
      MajorGav

      I wasn’t expecting to see a C6. It was attracting only minimal attention, despite its prime position. Looked so good in white.

      A topless Juke?! *shudder*

      I don’t eat on trains. Full stop. In fact, I avoid all forms of eye contact and pray for the journey to end. Quickly.

      Reply
      • March 8, 2012
        Simon Hingston

        If you like ‘Train’ you’ll love ‘Bus’.

        Reply
        • March 8, 2012
          MajorGav

          Ha!

          Whilst on the subject, surely it’s bad form to eat fast food on public transport? I mean, sat on a bus eating a Big Mac. It just isn’t on.

          Reply
          • March 8, 2012
            MajorGav

            Although, that’s nothing compared to the lady who sat next to me on the train back to Montreux. Noticing a kind of Harrods food hall aroma to her, I didn’t pay much attention until she opened her handbag. It was stuffed full of fresh meat and cheese. Guess she was planning a meat and cheese party.

            Reply
  5. March 8, 2012
    limey

    I’m going to stick my neck on the line and inject a potentially unpopular personal opinion, all Alfas since the 33 are dog ugly. Even then, the 33 wasn’t especially pretty, it was more ruggedly handsome. Alfa design since then is all vomit and turd.

    Reply
    • March 8, 2012
      MajorGav

      No need for your neck to be on the line. This is PetrolBlog after all! 😉

      I’d say that the 164 and 166 are achingly beautiful. The SZ is hideously beautiful. The GTV is delightfully lovely. I also like the boxiness of the 145.

      Not sure that vomit and turds can be beautiful though!

      Reply
      • March 8, 2012
        limey

        Yes, agree on the SZ, shame on me for overlooking it, though it does overlap the 33 so not fully post 33 😉

        As for the others, I simply don’t get the attraction. All I see is ugly on wheels. Sorry.

        Reply
        • March 8, 2012
          MajorGav

          Good point re the SZ.

          Going to have to agree to disagree on the 164 then?! Just love that car.

          Reply
      • March 8, 2012
        Joseph

        …Not forgetting the 156, with it’s pepperpot alloys and shield nose. One of the most beautiful saloon cars ever made.

        Reply
    • March 8, 2012
      Simon Hingston

      A 156 (as long as it isn’t adorned with any extra bodywork) is rather nice. And the Brera has a nice arse 😀

      Reply
    • March 11, 2012
      Ølholm

      What post-1990 cars DO you find attractive then? Really, REALLY curious here.

      (previous Alfa 33 owner here. Pretty i wasn’t. Neither is the Alfetta or the Alfasud that I own now, though…)

      Reply
      • March 11, 2012
        Ølholm

        “Pretty IT wasn’t.”
        Clearly.

        Reply
  6. March 9, 2012
    aldoliddell

    I had never really noticed the C6 before reading about it on here, and being big and french its not something i would normally look twice at. But thanks to the petrolblog influence it must be one of my favourite modern cars now, just love the styling! Think Alfas have improved recently, the 80’s models might have been driver’s cars but I thought the 33, 75 and 90 looked rubbish! The more recent models like the 156 and GTV at least look the part. Not sure about the Mito but I do like the Giuletta

    Reply
    • March 9, 2012
      MajorGav

      Ha! The love for the C6 continues to grow. It’s gaining quite a following in its twilight years.

      Reply
  7. March 9, 2012
    Antony Ingram (@antonyingram)

    Ooh, a nice post sir. I’ll address each point in order!

    Security guards: I remember getting accosted by one on the Hyundai stand last year. HYUNDAI. Porsche, Lotus etc let you onto their stand without batting an eyelid, but one guy doesn’t like me taking photos of an i40? What’s that about?

    C6: Love it. Only reason I didn’t take a photo of it this year is because it was at Frankfurt and Geneva last year too and I already got some!

    Alfa: I quite like the Giulietta and MiTo, so I’d have placed Mazda as the most disappointing stand. I love MX5s but despite all the current Mazdas being great cars and the Takeri being there, Mazda had nothing new. Shame. Also, Alfa’s stand gets props for having by far and away the prettiest show girls. The Italians really know how to choose them…

    Backless dress: Nissan actually had the deepest “frontless” dresses too. The girls’ modesty was covered, but only just…

    Anality (is that a word?): I saw plenty of people taking detailed pics of that Focus on its side on the Ford stand…

    Nice Rak: I was a bit disappointed that VW didn’t bring the Nils concept from Frankfurt to Geneva. I’d beg, steal and borrow to get that one. On the subject of “Raks”: The girl on the Roding Roadster stand (near Infiniti) – I’ll say no more.

    Roland Garros: It’s not green! I didn’t go near that thing. If it’d been green like all good Roland Garrii before it, I’d probably have had a look…

    Display fail: Hah! Didn’t see the Fiat one. I did see people adding warning tape to one of the very subtle ramps on the Audi stand – the amount of times I almost fell over from stepping off unseen subtle steps was ridiculous. They may be good for disabled access but if they don’t make them clearer then there’ll be several more people in wheelchairs by the next year…

    Reply
    • March 9, 2012
      MajorGav

      Ha! Excellent follow-up. Haven’t got time for a full reply now, but will return later.

      Reply
    • March 11, 2012
      Ølholm

      Roding Roadster: Googled it after your, ahem, recommendation. Nice…

      Reply
  8. March 12, 2012
    Robin Brownobin

    A car so classically Shatchback it’s almost laughable.

    Right on target – almost exactly what I thought.

    Reply
  9. March 13, 2012
    Trevor

    This looks nothing like the Detroit Autoshow, for one there are cars here I would actually want to buy. Secondly, it looks like most companies let everyone see their cars, not pulling back the good stuff after the opening day. And they aren’t dumbed down for American junk like the new US version of the Passat. Too bad this country won’t see a C6 until 2030…

    Reply
    • March 13, 2012
      MajorGav

      To be fair, I don’t know if they pull stuff back, as I was there on the press day. I’m guessing the girls disappear though?!

      It’s a cracking event. Highly recommended.

      Reply
      • March 13, 2012
        Trevor

        Girls still there, but of the American auto shows it’s one of the worst on pulling things back and showing stuff no one in their right mind would buy.

        Reply
        • March 13, 2012
          MajorGav

          If I’m honest, there were a few cars I wish they’d pull back. I’m look at you, Bentley and Fiat…

          Reply
  10. March 15, 2012
    Gilberto

    Reblogged this on NARROW LANES and commented:
    While I’m still about 10 posts away from completing my own coverage of Geneva – a mission in itself, more so without internet at home #ISPfail – check out PetrolBlog’s posts which take a look at show from a different perspective.

    Reply
    • March 15, 2012
      MajorGav

      Thanks for the reblog, Gilberto.

      Reply
  11. March 18, 2012
    #Project924

    F1 was so awesome that this is later than expected. Well, as we know, I love the C6, lining myself up for one some day. Such as shame we don’t see more of them in this country.

    My only slight issue, is Alfa. I like them. While the GT was a little awkward I thought the Brera looked great and the 8C was amazing! The 4C is looking like a stunning proposition too. But of the current range, the MiTo is really nice and every time I see the Giulietta on the road I’m amazed at how good it looks.

    Finally, I am pretty sure the Juke doesn’t come with a pretty girl, so how on earth are they selling them? Awful looking thing and it doesn’t even seem to have any space.

    Good work as alway, Major, always nice to see beyond the obvious.

    PS, even quite like the 159 wagon.

    Reply
    • March 19, 2012
      MajorGav

      Cheers, Matt. I’m with you on the Alfas, I just wish there were more to choose from! 😉

      Reply
  12. March 19, 2012
    DB@0to60reviews

    Reblogged this on 0to60reviews.

    Reply

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