The motor industry’s squeezed middle - the volume players like Vauxhall, Ford, Renault, Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat - face pressure from the advancing Koreans on the one hand, and the downward march of the premium manufacturers on the other.
They surely need some fresh answers in their fight for survival, and Geneva was a good place to find out whether they had any.
in Ford’s case, felt that they needed any, European sales and marketing boss Roelant de Waard reckoning that while the company is having to scale back its output to suit a shrunken European car market, there are signs that it is successfully taking the fight to the premium players.
His evidence? That a good 50 per cent of buyers choose the relatively highly equipped Titanium versions of its cars, resulting in a rise in average transaction prices and the potential for better profits. For the S-Max, the figure is as high as 75 per cent.
De Waard reckons that by being early to offer high tech features that were once the province of premium makers, it is inducing buyers to pay more for a Ford. Some may even be tempted out of a low specification BMW, for instance, and into a well-kitted Focus. At the other end of the spectrum, he believes that models like VW’s Up, and Ford’s own Ka can challenge the Korean makers.