Geneva Show: Green Cars, Line-up Proliferation & Interactivity



With over 110 years of showcasing the pinnacle of European automotive industry’s pride and galore, the Geneva Motor Show has in the past been centre stage for unveiling of many iconic models like the Jaguar E-Type, the Audi Quattro and many more. The 2016 chapter was no different and was one that continued the success story of a prosperous 2015 in Europe.
OEMs took to diverse themes to demonstrate positivity in the market but broadly, the trends highlighted at the motor show covered three key pillars: green vehicles, product line up proliferation and interactivity.

The Green Car Pillar
Almost all mainstream OEMs had a definitive Green Car strategy aimed at tackling the challenging CAFÉ regulations. Of them all, one that stood apart was that of the Hyundai-Kia group that showcased the Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), the first in its segment with a class leading 37 g/km of CO2 emission off its tail pipe. Similarly, the Niro emphasised on the brands loyalty to developing competitive electrified powertrains to the market going forward. The brand also sees these PHEV vehicles as a means to attack its fleet customers who have high regard to measurable factors like cost of ownership and running costs. Uniquely, the brand attracts 40% of its consumers from fleets, a number much smaller than many of its competitors. With a target of 400,000 fleet customers by 2020, the strategy does seem befitting and aligned to the vision of the group for the European market.

The theme of green cars was not one confined to the mainstream brands alone. Emerging exotic and sub brands like McLaren, Spykar and the DS from Citroen also turned to electrification as their next generation ally. With a £1bn investment from the British sports brand to add models to their line up by 2022, half of which is committed to be electrified to some extent, and a possible all electric version in the future, McLaren is set to embrace the wave of electrification encapsulating and refining the performance realm in the industry.

Beyond electrics and hybrids, the fuel cell power system was one that stood prominent at the Geneva Motor Show with the Lexus premium flagship the LF-FC luxury saloon concept. The next generation flagship and range-topper is likely to leverage its parent’s Mirai know-how into its future flagship to take a different route to the super premium throne.

The Proliferating Product Line up Pillar
The trend of growing SUV demand in the market is not a new one and the OEMs which have failed to capitalise this up until now have stead in that direction at Geneva this year. The Volkswagen group expanded their SUV presence to the Seat and Skoda brands and a new Polo-based SUV for Europe. The new Q2 was also a clear indication in how VW envisions catering to this fast growing consumer market from a premium angle, being the first to do so.

The SUV stable also displayed the Ford Kuga facelift, Niro compact SUV and Toyota’s new compact SUV along with the lights of the more upmarket Maserati SUV that borrows powertrain from prancing horse sibling.

Irrespective of the market segment or the bracket, there was an SUV for everyone at Geneva with OEMs using modularity, design and platform sharing and we are likely to see further proliferation of this trend in 2016.

Continued...

Wednesday, March 9th 2016
Benny Daniel & Arunprasad Nandakumar


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