Tag Archive | "Paris Motor Show"

Paris Motor Show


Ahh, Paris. City of dreams; and never more so when the prestigious motor show comes to town and reveals our Autumn automotive surprises.

There has been talk for some time of a long-awaited replacement for the iconic E-Type Jaguar. Well, finally, it’s here. That’s it in the picture and boy, does it look good. To be honest there’s not much there to remind us of the legendary predecessor but it most certainly is a Jaguar. If the performance matches the looks then we’re in for a treat. The company are competing well on price too as this will cost from under £60k up to just shy of the £80k mark. For this market and against the known competition this appears to be good value.

The Paris Motor Show isn’t just a chance for car makers to unveil their super cars; it is also a market place for the more run-of-the-mill cars that most of us buy and there’s plenty of exciting new developments in this sector too.

Hyundai have really pushed the boat out with not one but three launches. There’s a three-door i30, a rally ready i20 – which heralds the brand’s return to the World Rally Championship in 2013 – and also a really exciting eco-car which successfully counters the range anxiety problem with EVs. It’s called the ix35 Fuel Cell. Powered by a lithium-polymer battery and a 100kW hydrogen fuel stack, this car should be good for 365 miles according to the company blurb. It is due to commence production late this year and initially will be available to fleet operators.

As ever, Ford are pitching some great new cars including a new version of the well received Kuga, a hybrid Mondeo and the B-Max. FIAT, SEAT and those new dynamos of automotive industry Dacia are all previewing new vehicles. Dacia, in particular, are showing the Sandero – so beloved by James May – the Logan (a family sized car) and the slightly odd Sandero Stepway which is described as a ‘charismatic adventurer’. Rugged.

There is much to appeal to all budgets at this years show. Manufacturers are pulling out all the stops to revive the ailing car industry by building cars that are featuring all the latest technology and safety devices as well as stunningly good design.

For those that like to dream though; as well as the Jag, there is also the Maserati Grancabrio MC, a car so beautiful it will make you fall in love with anyone standing near it, and another version of the Porsche Panamera – a car we are growing to like despite it’s unusual looks.

So, something for everyone then. If you can afford to buy a new car this year then you are definitely spoilt for choice.

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Are Lotus’ Ambitious Expansion Plans Doomed?


When Lotus unveiled its five-car strong ambitious expansion plans back at the 2010 Paris Motor Show the automotive world certainly took notice.

When the firm then employed Dany Bahar, Ferrari’s ex-branding guru, as CEO, shortly followed by 458 Italia and 430 Scuderia designer Donato Coco to help pen the Norfolk firm’s latest efforts, the plans suddenly acquired a deal more gravitas.

But now it looks as though the hard work put in by Bahar and all at Lotus could be in serious jeopardy as the lightweight sportscar manufacturer’s parent company, Malaysian state-owned firm Proton, is put up for sale.

The Malaysian government has owned a majority share in the automaker since its inception in 1983, but now the government is looking to flog its chunk of the company.

The value of Proton stock rose by five per cent in December last year with speculation the centrally-owned company could be moved on to private hands.

But what does that mean for Lotus? Well, investment experts believe that the successful bidder will more than likely divest the Malaysian manufacturer’s 65 per cent stake in the British sportscar firm in order to release some capital to secure the future of Proton in Malaysia.

The automaker is under threat in its home country recording a 76 per cent drop in profits in the last quarter. The firm’s market share has also dropped considerably over the last decade – in 2002 Proton held a market share of 60 per cent in Malaysia seeing that halved to 30 per cent over a three year period to 2005.

If the company were to sell its holding in Lotus Group International it would spell the end of the credit line Lotus CEO Bahar has been relying on to develop the firm’s all-new five-car model line-up, complete with a clean-sheet in-house design for a new 4.8-litre V8 set to power the luxury Eterne and Esprit supercar.

It’s reported the Norfolk-based firm needs another half a billion pounds to bring its ambitious expansion plans to market but the company itself is only valued at an estimated £200 million – and that’s on the proviso that Bahar’s master plan succeeds.

So, what is the future for Lotus? Well rumour has it that Chinese auto giant Shanghai Automotive – which already has a partnership with premium European brand, VW – and venture capital firm Genii Capital have approached the Malaysian government about taking the helm at Lotus.

However, the Lotus-Proton situation pans out, we just hope that the automotive industry doesn’t have another Saab saga on its hands and that the company’s grand expansion goals don’t cripple it.

We want to see those five new Lotus’ sometime soon.

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