see all auto shows • by Karl3 • Frankfurt 2015
Geneva is a famous 200,000-person city in the French part of Switzerland, rich and expensive, especially after the swiss franks didn’t stop climbing. It is famous, among other things, for Rolex watches and the Geneva Convention. This year, security was very strong, resembling airports; it took me half an hour to get in.
Mopar was promoted heavily, with booths showing off their gear, following Sergio Marchionne’s globalization of the brand.
Two dealers in Switzerland and Germany are importing Rams and Dodges.
This is not a gray market effort, but an official one: the dealers are official importers, with an FCA contract, who import the cars and trucks and bring them up to EU standards. They handle marketing and promotion, as well, and create special vehicles like the Ram Feldmeister.
They were showing the Ram 1500 Rebel, Durango R/T Blacktop, Viper ACR, Challenger Scat Pack Shaker, and Charger SRT Hellcat.
The FCA highlight was the public launch of the Levante SUV. Maserati was entirely within within a closed area: you could only enter the “VIP” part with an invitation from your local Maserati dealer. The other part was available by application only.
Levante production started at the end of February, with an twin-turbo 430-horsepower 3.0 V6 (loosely based on the Pentastar V6) and the VM diesel (275 hp) following within three month. A 350 hp V6 and a hybrid solution will follow. Cars should arrive at dealers in April. It is priced slightly (5-10%) above the Porsche Cayenne, which is its main competitor.
Originally planned to be based on Grand Cherokee and built in the US, they changed it to Ghibli and Italy-based; some AWD knowledge was likely taken from across the ocean (along with the PHEV setup).
The Jeep area sported quite a few cars, including an original 1941 Willys-Overland military MB, a 1946 Willys Wagon, and a 1963 Jeep Wagoneer — the first 4x4 car in the world with an independent suspension.
There was a show place where you could take a 3D tour in virtual reality with Oculus Ruft through the history of Jeep.
There was no Compass; the old one is no longer sold in Europe, but the new one didn’t make it, although we don’t have to wait very much longer, I suppose.
There were three Renegades, one Wrangler Unlimited, two Cherokees, and two Grand Cherokee. All were carrying the “75 Years” badge.
The largest crowd was drawn at the Alfa Romeo area, where they presented the “normal” versions of the Giulia. It was hard to get pictures without people crossing. As you know, the car is very late; order books will open finally on April 15th, with cars at dealers in June.
Interestingly there were no red-colored cars, except for the Top Giulia Quadrofoglio. They had the 4C and 4C Spyder, a slightly facelifted Giulietta, and the MiTo.
Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, a Milan-based company which provides automotive design, engineering, coachbuilding, and restoration of historic vehicles showed the “Disco volante.”
Abarth, a “brand” in Europe, took a much larger area than usual. Besides the usual 500s, 695 Biposto, and 595 Competizione, there was the new Abarth Spider 124 boasting 170 hp (instead of the European 140hp or US 160hp), different transmission, and retuned suspension.
A total surprise was the Abarth 124 Rally SE139 Race Edition: 300 hp, rear wheel drive, limited slip differential, and a non-removable hard top. It will be licensed in the FIA R GT Class for 2017 — as a fully equipped “out of the box race car.” Personally I am little surprised they chose a Mazda-based car to base it on, maybe because of its rear wheel drive.
The Abarth 500X wasn’t ready, but we are expecting that shortly.
Cars sold in the US were the 500L, 500X, and 500 (with a new trim level, the 500S, with 95 hp).
The 124 Spider, built in Mazda’s Hiroshima plant, has a lot of differences from the MX-5 Miata, including using a turbocharged four-cylinder, different steering, and a revised suspension; inside, it is the same.
An important car for Fiat is the new Tipo, bringing back a 1988-1995 name. In spite of constantly rising sales of SUVs, the “C-size-Class” (compact) is still largest seller. Replacing the Fiat Bravo, and presaged by the Aegean show car, it will have a sedan, hatchback, and an eagerly awaited station wagon. The series will be produced by Tofas in Bursa/Turkey, and priced well below their German competitors to address price-sensitive customers.
The new “Fiat Fullback” Pickup is a sibling of Mitsubishi L200 and will be produced in Thailand. The L200 is also to be sold in Mexico as a Ram, ironic since it was popular, years ago, as the North American Dodge Ram 50.
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