Welcome to Autocar’s extended coverage of the Geneva motor show, one of Europe’s premier motoring events and the stage for a long list of new car debuts.
Geneva is an institution, having been held annually for more than 100 years. It has always been held up alongside Frankfurt as a priority show for manufacturers looking to unveil their latest concepts and production models for the first time.
Unlike the exodus of last year's Paris motor show, there were only a few big names that wouldn't be appearing with new models in Switzerland this year, with Ford and Jaguar Land Rover being the most prominent no-shows.
In such an electric production car arena, it was fitting that the Jaguar I-Pace should have been voted Car of the Year (with the help and approval of our Matt Prior and Andrew Frankel). However it was rather ironic that Jaguar Land Rover failed to front as an exhibitor at this show because (like Ford and Volvo, among others) they were saving money.
Jagular Land Rover boss Ralf Speth and Tata patriarch Ratan Tata soon appeared at the Palexpo, though, walking jauntily about looking at other people’s cars and sporting wider grins than they’ve done for some time.
Electric concepts, the type aimed at users of conventional cars, were everywhere. One of the best-looking was Kia’s beautiful Imagine saloon, designed in their Frankfurt studio, which simply looked too good to be left as a mere good idea. One Kia representative archly pointed out that every one of the company’s recent concepts had “meant something”, which bodes well.
Skoda showed similar intent with their Vision iV crossover coupe which (apart from its 22-inch wheels) looked good enough to drive home. Polestar, Volvo’s all-electric associate, had a triumphant showing for its superb Polestar 2, CEO and chief designer Thomas Ingenlath on hand to take deserved plaudits.
Small electric cars were also plentiful. There was a new Renault Clio (the model is now 30 years old) and Peugeot’s all-important 208 drew expected inspiration from the legendary 205. It was lauded for its all-electric version (on a platform that will also be used by Vauxhall and Citroën) that at last brings more truly compact cars into the pure electric arena.
Geneva had offerings smaller than that, too: Fiat’s ABC (for Affordable But Cool) concept called Centoventi presaged a cute-looking electric city car, and Citroën had a tiny two-seat Ami One, intended even for unlicensed drivers, which they promised would eventually have a commercial purpose.