Tag Archive | "motor shows"

Concept Cars – Has The World Gone Mad?

Soon, very soon now, the motor show season will kick start the Autumn and Winter months, bringing some light into our damp darkness. One feature that is sure to be of interest this year is just how mad some of the concept cars will be.

Concepts – often the result of years of research – are a way of introducing styling changes and possible future developments to the waiting world. In reality, the final production models will not look much like them at all.

Car designers are allowed free rein to come up with new ideas and the copywriters will have sharpened their quills to ensure that the greatest amount of florid hyperbole can be written into the smallest spaces on the page. Vehicles that are futuristic, wacky and just plain bananas are usually the result. The Citroen Cactus (pictured) is a case in point. This concept has ‘air bumps’ on the side to help minimise damage in the event of a minor shunt.

CAC21 Concept Cars   Has The World Gone Mad?It is crucial that all concept cars are given daft names. Presumably there is a point to it but who knows what it is? When Citroen were questioned about calling a car Cactus they got a bit prickly about it. (Only kidding! Citroen people are very nice!). Also, in today’s environmentally friendly world, the cars have to be clean and efficient. The aforementioned Cactus has an Hybrid-Air system. This is an innovative combination of tried and tested technologies: a petrol engine, a unit to store energy in the form of compressed air, a hydraulic motor-pump assembly and an automatic transmission working with an epicyclic gear train. Well done if you understand that but this technology could well be featuring in the brand’s vehicles from 2016.

If manufacturers are prepared to spend a pretty penny developing these cars then they make sure they make as much of them as possible. This usually results in the motor being loaded to the roofline with the very latest techno-gadgets and safety features. They will be bursting with touch screen technology and the appalling named ‘infotainment centres’. Whatever happened to radios? Now it seems it is possible to connect with the entire world and probably NASA as well. Houston, we have a puncture.

No news yet on what advances the car makers are planning to stop children destroying the back seats of cars or of special cloaking devices which makes the cars invisible to traffic wardens. These are the answers that motorists want yet they remain a distant dream. And they call it progress.

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Be Friend-ME in Shanghai

Something happens to executives of motor companies when they give names to their concept cars, falling prey as they do to wild flights of fantasy. When new cars actually come onto the market they regain a modicum of decorum. Nissan for example – the company that brought you the excitingly named Note – have gone especially off their corporate rockers by naming their latest concept the Friend-ME (only teaser images available, sadly) which apparently features a consul described as unique and that allows “Four Seats, One Mind Connectivity – equal information sharing among all on board”. Boggling.

Another company struck by the curse of over-ripe language is Citroen who will be show-casing their concept SUV, the Wild Rubis. The plan is for this to be a new addition to the DS range and very good it looks too (pictured). It has been seen before in a previous concept incarnation, the DSX.

The Wild Rubis is designed to rival the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3. Citroen say that the SUV is primarily aimed at the Chinese market but could well make it to the UK where the DS range is proving very popular. It’s a bigger car than the Q5 and Citroen seem confident that a version will appear as this concept is described as the “ forerunner of the future DS SUV”.

The styling of this concept is dramatic. Roof rails that flow into the C-pillars augment the bold crease along the shoulder line. The ruby paint work apparently changes depending on the intensity of the prevailing light. Other details – engines, interior – are scarce but the company state that the Wild Rubis is a full plug-in hybrid.

This car is based, surprisingly, on the older C5 platform and will be built in China. It will be followed by a big saloon (seen in concept form as the Numero 9 shown last year at Beijing) and a smaller saloon; all of which are designed to cash in on the burgeoning Chinese auto market.

Also at Shanghai we can expect to see the new BMW X4, the coupé /SUV design of which is splitting opinion. The X4 will probably go on sale in 2014. Mercedes are expected to launch a new SUV based on the A-Class and Ford will announce a new global concept, about which they are being very secretive. Couple that with the arrival of the exquisite Maserati Ghibli and the revamped Porsche Panamera and we are in for another automotive treat.

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New Cars, Concepts And Rumours

Regardless of what the world thinks of Alfa Romeo there can be no denying that they really know how to style a car. This time they have let twenty ‘Master in Transportation Design’ students loose on the drawing boards. The prototype sports saloon so dramatically pictured is what they have come up with.

It is codenamed ‘Gloria’ although why they would want to name a car after the barmaid down at the Ferret and Trousers Public House is not known. What is known is that it is absolutely gorgeous and that AR should rush it into production, like right now. In the meantime, now that the flawed but beautiful 159 has gone, they will be selling the new Guilia saloon from 2014 into the executive sector.

Staying in Italy it seems clear that Dacia’s assault on the European market with budget priced cars has rather aggravated directors at mighty FIAT. As a consequence, rather than leaving a beef lasagne in the beds of Dacia staff as a warning, they are now considering a rival low-cost new car.

In the knowledge that premium car sales are flatlining and with some manufacturers in trouble the company thinks that dormant build capacity outside of Europe could be used for a suitable vehicle with an eye especially on developing markets. The rumour is the cars could be branded Innocenti, a budget marque that FIAT purchased in 1990.

After the Geneva Show fans of cabriolets will be able to get their hands on the terrific Vauxhall Cascada that Motor Blogger featured a while back but on the concept front they appear to be getting down with the kids with the Adam Rocks. The Adam, Vauxhall’s new small car has been well received so the company is showing the Rocks as a possible advance on the model.

It’s apparently an ‘urban mini-crossover’ that could well herald yet another sector within the industry as car makers strive to boost sales with variants. The Adam Rocks is taller, wider, tougher yet more compact allegedly (How?) than its sibling and offers a cabrio roof. Certainly the Adam is almost infinitely customisable so where are they going to go with this? In addition Vauxhall intend to take the Adam rallying with an R2 version that meets FIA regulations and can be set up for tarmac or gravel conditions. Interesting.

Finally, for now, Peugeot have a strategy for reducing fuel consumption with its Hybrid Air technology that follows on from our recent article about compressed air cars. The 2008 Hybrid Air combines petrol with compressed air in a fully hybrid configuration. This, Peugeot say, moves forward their plan to one day soon achieve 140mpg. The sooner the better as far as Britain’s motorists are concerned.

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