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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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!.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…