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Geneva Motor Show


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Well with the news that the British Motor Show has been cancelled, I thought I’d let you have my views on the Geneva Motor Show. I did this in a day trip about 10 days ago.

Firstly, the practical aspects of time, cost and do ability. I was on the 07.20 flight out from Gatwick with BA (of which more later), and back on the 18.00 from Geneva. The flight is about 1 hour 20 mins and cost £90 in the BA sale. I parked in the short term car park which cost £18 for just over 12 hours (my parking receipt shows in at 06.03 and out at 18.42). For those of you quick enough to spot that it looks like I got back in 42 mins, remember that Switzerland is an hour ahead of us. The exhibition hall is right next door to the airport, so once we got off the plane, it was only a 15 mins walk through the airport and to the show entrance. The entry ticket was CHF 14 or roughly £9. So total cost was about £120 for the day excluding incidentals and refreshments.

The flight out was actually about an hour late taking off due to a technical problem which involved a plane swap, but being BA they kept us informed and actually handled it all pretty well. Due to the delay we didn’t arrive in the exhibition hall until just after 11am local time, but this still gave us a good 5 ½ hours to enjoy the show (we could have stretched this to 6 hours, but we were tired from all the walking).

And so to the show itself. The hall is massive and much bigger than anything I’ve seen in the UK. It was also pretty crowded and despite the size of some of the stands (Audi for example) it was sometimes quite difficult to get into some of the cars. No doubt if we had been there when it first opened or into the evening it would have been quieter. The overall impression I came away with was ‘what recession?’ because with the stands, metal on display, pretty girls and crowds you would never know.

There was no doubt that there was a strong ‘Green’ theme to the show with electric and hybrid card being front and centre. If GM can produce the Opel Ampera in 2011 they will have a great looking car on their hands. In contrast the new Honda Insight and Toyota Prius looked just ok.

The one thing that did surprise me was how many cars were shown in white. There’s little doubt that white is the new black, and in some cars it really did make them look stunning. I will certainly consider it for my next car.

Of the cars on show, the ones that most impressed me were:

- Volvo XC60. It’s the first time I’ve had a good look at one of these and it really does look a lot better in the flesh than in pictures. They’ve also taken a lot of car with the interior (which really shows when you are hopping from one car to another).

- Opel Insignia. This is one great looking car, especially the Tourer. Ok they were sat on big alloys, but intrinsically the exterior design is ‘right’ and the interior is a million miles ahead of the Vectra and I would argue the quality is as good as the new A4.

- Audi A6. They had an S-Line saloon in white and it really did look the business. There seems to be only a very small cost difference between the A4 and A6 and I think as an Audi fan, I would have to go for the A6.

- New BMW 5 GT. Another great looking car, and a pointer for how the new 5 series will look next year. Not sure about the hatchback on the GT, but one of the first good looking BMWs of recent years to my eyes.

Most disappointing were:

- Ferrari California. What were Ferrari thinking? Far too chubby and out of proportion, and both examples shown had wheels that looked way too small.

- Mercedes E Class. All I can say is that Mercedes now seem to be following Lexus in the design stakes. Very Japanese looking with a boring interior.

This is the second time I’ve done this trip and I would certainly do it again.









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