Industry news and gossip
There was one major industry story in Geneva that dominated all others – the announcement just before the show that GM is selling its European operations to PSA Groupe. Vauxhall/Opel and Peugeot PR teams found that no-one in the press was remotely interested in their new cars, only wanting to know more about the implications of the buyout.
There has been suggestion in the press that the sell-off of GM’s European operations is a precursor to an even bigger move – a merger between GM and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which would create one of the biggest industry shake-ups in automotive history. But no-one from either party wanted to discuss that…
Over on the Volkswagen stand, no-one wanted to talk about diesels and instead focussed on the brand’s reinvention as a champion of electric mobility. Volkswagen continues to dodge calls to pay compensation to UK and European customers screwed over by the company’s dieselgate scandal, unlike in America where billions of dollars in compensation will be paid to affected owners. Basically it boils down to legal obligations, and Volkswagen continues to believe that it has no legal liability to its UK customers.
Most brands were talking up electrification of the car industry, with support for both battery and fuel cell options. Honda expects that two-thirds of its European sales will be electric by 2025, and other brands are in a similar position. Dieselgate may be accelerating the death of diesel, but it is likely to take petrol with it. Performance cars are likely to still offer petrol options, but commuter and family vehicle look like they will be electrified sooner rather than later.
I know it seems like we have mentioned every car on display in Geneva, but I can promise you that we got barely a quarter of the way in. We haven’t even mentioned the superb little Alpine A110 sports car, or the new Porsche 911 GT3 or Panamera Sport Turismo. Or the Honda Civic Type R, or the Infiniti Q60 Project Black S. As I said at the start, there were a lot of new machines on display…
What were your highlights from the Geneva motor show? Let us know in the comments section below!