Major manufacturers came out in force for Moscow’s motor show, again proving the strength of the market in the region. But almost all of the big hitters chose to keep their powder dry until Paris, leaving the Crocus show a little short on star turns.
The biggest debut probably came from Land Rover, which is giving its revised Freelander its first public appearance. On first impressions it’s clear that the focus has been on improving the interior, which now seems much more Range Rover-esque in architecture and, notably, material quality.
Other public debuts included Renault’s Korean-built Latitude, which looked like an oddly stretched version of the current unloved Laguna. And Volkswagen showed multiple examples of its tidy (if conservative) Polo saloon - which is being built in Russia. Ford used Moscow to launch its revised Mondeo, showing it alongside the hatchback and estate versions of the Focus.
Elsewhere, though, the show was as much about what wasn’t on the stands than what was. Audi showed the A7 at a pre-event party but, curiously, elected not to place it on public display. BMW had the biggest presence in floor space, with a comprehensive line-up of vehicles, concepts and motorcycles. But again, there was little that was fresh internationally.
In local terms, Lada had a hefty stand, including the public debut of its vast R90 estate. The seven-seat show car will eventually make production in 2012. The firm also showed a coupé version of its Priora saloon that was neat and inoffensive, with more than a whiff of mid-1990s Hyundai Accent about it.
Moscow has often been about ‘East meets West’ and sure enough, brands such as Great Wall and Build Your Dreams were present - although the latter marque’s sparse stand looked like an afterthought. But the best - worst - example of questionable taste came from LA Connection, whose enormous minivan sported headlights that appeared to have been lifted straight from the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Small wonder, in fact, that Land Rover elected to hold back the production Evoque’s public debut until Paris. Better to be seen in one of the world’s most fashionable cities than to share hall space with something this crass.