Welcome to Autocar’s extended coverage of the Frankfurt motor show, one of Europe’s major motoring events and the place to see an extensive list of new cars make their debut.
Traditionally the world’s largest motor show, Frankfurt sees the automotive industry descend on the city every two years to see new metal for the first time. This year was no exception, with the show featuring game-changing unveilings from, Volkswagen, Land Rover and more.
That said, there was still quite a crowd gathered around the conventionally fuelled new cars - especially the reborn Land Rover Defender. We were on site in Frankfurt to bring you every single reveal, with our live blog and coverage on our Volkswagen, the ID 3. After all the publicity, and taking into account that we’ve become used over the years to VW’s calm, classical approach to styling, the car’s actual look was hardly a surprise. But it was still awe-inspiring actually to see our mainstream motoring future in three dimensions. Suddenly VW’s much-ballyhooed electrification gamble doesn’t look like a gamble at all.
The quality of the exhibits continued. BMW showed its future thinking with the Concept 4 Series, which will be the basis of both the conventional new 4 Series coupé and the new all-electric i4. The latter will thus be entirely different in concept from the i3, which was so separate, special (and eye-wateringly expensive to make).
Flexible platforms like the future i4’s may not promote optimised electric car packaging but they’re clearly proving to be the way to go in this transition-to-electrification age. Opel-Vauxhall, the only PSA marque to make it to Geneva, also made this point powerfully with its pretty new B-segment Corsa and e-Corsa, whose proportions and styling are identical.
PSA group boss Carlos Tavares spelled out what is many car makers’ new attitude to motor shows: in future, his brands won’t go unless they have a specific model or purpose. He also pointed out (in a very crowded press room) that this year’s show stand cost around one-third of what the group paid for its displays two years ago…
Happily, Brexit discussions hardly played a part at Frankfurt – and to the extent that it did, there was optimism. Vauxhall boss Stephen Norman, who has begun to revive his company’s fortunes and promises to position it as “a strong second in Britain, not a third or a fourth”, even reckoned Vauxhall might pick up half a percent of market share after a hard Brexit, on the strength of its position as a ‘British brand since 1903’.