(Edited from AP, Geneva) The 80th Geneva Motor Show opened its doors to the public last Thursday, offering a note of optimism and fun after two difficult years for the industry.

 Among the stars of the show are Nissan’s Juke crossover, Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta hatchback and the Volvo S60 sedan.

(Edited from AP, Geneva) The 80th Geneva Motor Show opened its doors to the public last Thursday, offering a note of optimism and fun after two difficult years for the industry.

 

Among the stars of the show are Nissan’s Juke crossover, Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta hatchback and the Volvo S60 sedan.

 

German automakers Audi and BMW went head-to-head in the hot hatch segment, a European term for amped up subcompacts popular with younger style-conscious buyers.

 

   

Audi presented its A1, available in three and five door versions, as a direct challenger to BMW’s Mini series and a big departure from its larger, more mature models. BMW, in turn, raised the stakes by building its biggest ever Mini, the Countryman, a four-door, all-wheel-drive version of the successful 1960s revival.

Show visitor Kevin Leutwiler from Switzerland said he admired the A1’s aggressive, sporty style but added “it’s not a car for a tight budget.” The A1 retails from about euro15,000 ($20,460), which is still cheaper than the basic Mini Countryman starting at euro21,000 ($28,650).

       

The hybrid revolution, however, remains elusive.

 

One question the industry is asking itself is when European consumers are going to start buying hybrid and electric cars in large enough numbers to make their production profitable. So far, only Toyota has had any real success with hybrids, and mainly in Japan and the United States.

   

While plenty of exhibitors in Geneva showed off alternative fuel concept cars, only a few offered production ready gas-electric or pure electric models such as the Porsche Cayenne, Honda CR-Z coupe, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Auris.

 

Some spectators said the hybrid label made little sense on powerful sports cars and SUVs.

“Hybrid is very good for the world,” said Ondrej Leseticky from the Czech Republic. “But a hybrid Panamera wouldn’t be a Panamera.” By chance, Porsche is planning to make this high-end sedan the next model to come with a hybrid option.

       

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, many hybrids are priced higher than their conventional counterparts, slowing the market uptake for such vehicles.

 

Dirk Bake, director of the German national car sharing association BCS, said some people are tired of waiting for the perfect green car to come along and so are joining car sharing clubs for both ecological and economic reasons instead. The number of users in Germany increased by 15 percent to 158,000 last year and could eventually reach 1-2 million, he said.

 

Photo Credits:

80th International Motor Show Official Website

http://www.salon-auto.ch/en/

    

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