Paris Show Spotlights Dozens of New-Model Introductions
Posted 9/25/02 9:43 a.m. CDT
By Jim Flammang
PARIS — By the end of the 19th century, Europe had adopted the automobile faster than America. New York had its first auto show in 1900, and the first official Chicago Auto Show followed shortly thereafter in early 1901. Paris, the city of light, romance and automotive eagerness, got an even earlier start.
In 1898, approximately 140,000 people came to peer at the 232 vehicles that had successfully journeyed from Paris to Versailles and back at the first Paris Motor Show at the Jardin des Tuileries. Excluding the World War I era, a motor show took place in Paris nearly every year from then until 1940. The Salon de l’Auto resumed in 1946 at the Grand Palais. In 1962, the motor show moved to the Porte de Versailles, where it is still held today. Since 1988, the Paris event has been known as Mondial de l’Automobile (world of the automobile).
In recent times, the Paris show has taken place only every other year and alternates with the auto show in Frankfurt, Germany. Some 8,500 journalists attended the last Paris show that was held in 2000. A comparable number of journalists are expected to stream into the Paris Expo at the Porte de Versailles for press days on Sept. 26 and 27 to get a firsthand look at more than 50 world premieres. Check out cars.com on those days as we post from-the-floor reports containing news and photos of the latest introductions.
Most of the exhibiting manufacturers sell automobiles in the U.S. market, but several limit their output to Europe and the rest of the world.
Porsche isn’t even waiting until the main media day to flaunt its forthcoming Cayenne sport utility vehicle. Instead, the German manufacturer will host a special presentation on the afternoon of Sept. 25, a day before the show opens to journalists.
At the show itself, Ford intends to reveal a pair of enhancements to its popular little Ka, including a StreetKa roadster — which debuted as a concept in 2001 — and a lively SportKa coupe. Ford might also display a three-door Fiesta and a Focus-based minivan. Show organizers also advise that Ford will boast a “surprise” from America.
Chrysler-Jeep has not yet revealed its plans but promises that a concept-car study from the Chrysler Group will be featured.
General Motors will host the official unveiling of the Hy-wire, the world’s first drivable vehicle that combines a hydrogen fuel cell with drive-by-wire technology. The Hy-wire incorporates similar technology that was first on display with the GM AUTOnomy, which debuted at the 2002 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. GM Europe and Opel will show the Opel Meriva monocab and its innovative seating arrangement. The Meriva might be considered the Zafira’s “little brother.” GM North America will have the 2004 Cadillac XLR on display.
Volkswagen will have its much-anticipated Touareg SUV ready for an official unveiling. Audi will reveal the redesigned full-size A8 sedan. Volvo focuses on performance in Paris with the introduction of a pair of “R” editions for its S60 and V70 models.
Ferrari will unveil its newest exotic sports car, the Enzo, which gets its name from the Italian company’s founder. The extravagant two-seater will see limited production and carry a whopping $700,000 price tag. Maserati, Ferrari’s less-costly cousin, will also make an appearance in Paris, but details on an introduction have not yet been provided. BMW will unveil its new Z4 roadster, which replaces the Z3. A diesel-powered 7 Series sedan might also be displayed.
Mercedes-Benz will launch a line of AMG cars powered by the Kompressor V-8 engine. In addition to the SL55 AMG, that engine will appear in E-Class, CL-Class and S-Class models next year. Paris is also the site of the public debut of the ultra-posh Maybach Type 57 and Type 62 sedans.
From Britain, Jaguar will unveil the seventh generation of its XJ sedans with bodies that are 60-percent stiffer but made almost entirely of aluminum. Both XJ8 and supercharged XJR models will be included in the 2004 lineup and are expected to offer more space for every dimension.
In addition to its current lineup, MG Rover will feature a Tourer concept vehicle, its specialist Monogram program and one of the British firm’s 24 Hours of Le Mans racecars. Bentley will show a full model of the GT Coupe and will reveal its official name.
Renault will have a new Megane II in Paris, and it will appear in three-door and five-door forms. The French automaker will also show its fourth-generation Espace and a new Clio V-6. Slipping into the city-car segment is Renault’s Ellypse concept vehicle.
Alfa Romeo, which intends to re-enter the U.S. market around 2007, is expected to introduce a 147 GTA in Paris. Seat, the Spanish automaker, will have a new version of its Cordoba.
Among the Asian automakers, Mazda intends to introduce a wagon version and a five-door model of the upcoming M6. Honda will show the European version of its redesigned Accord. Nissan will introduce an overhauled Micra, which will join the Primera and X-Trail in the company’s European lineup. A Micra C+C concept will also be unveiled.
Toyota will introduce its new Land Cruiser, which shares a fresh platform with the U.S.-market Lexus LX 470. Three additional vehicles have minor changes to current platforms including the Land Cruiser 100.
Kia will introduce a revised Optima/Magentis and will display the redesigned Rio/Rio Cinco. A European-designed SUV concept, the KCV II, will also be unveiled.
Subaru promises to bring a new model to Paris, but details have not yet been supplied. Suzuki has scheduled a news conference but provided no advance information.
French manufacturers also have plenty of introductions on tap. Citroën expects to show a definitive version of its C3 Pluriel and a revamped rendition of the Berlingo van. Its C-Airdream concept car is said to embody Citroën’s vision of a top-range coupe.
Peugeot is likely to display six new products, including a 307CC and a concept vehicle that foreshadows the coming replacement for the 406. Skoda and the PSA Group have news conferences scheduled, but information is not yet available.
On the first media day, more than 24 automakers will hold news conferences. The second day is devoted to such supplier companies as Arvin Meritor, Delphi, Michelin and Valoe.
Ford will introduce several variations to its Ka, including the 2003 StreetKa.
Copyright 2002 cars.com;
StreetKa image by Matt Davis for cars.com
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....