Luxury dazzles, China beckons at Geneva motor show

Major car makers were set to dazzle visitors to the Geneva motor show over the coming week with a touch of luxury, but China and emerging markets will be firmly in mind at the European showcase.

The show in the wealthy Swiss city, which opens to an expected 700,000 paying visitors on March 3 to 13, is traditionally neutral ground for the industry, attracting 260 exhibitors from 31 countries.

When top executives preview the event from Tuesday, car makers are again set to whip up an appetite for the big, powerful and glitzy, even if the engine under the bonnet seeks greener or thriftier credentials.

"Last year the average size of cars increased in the United States," noted analyst Juergen Pieper of German bank Metzler.

Italian sports car maker Ferrari's new FF will be premiered in Geneva, with four seats instead of the more common two and the reassuring grip of four wheel drive.

Ferrari's Volkswagen-owned Italian rival Lamborghini is also due to unveil its most powerful car, the edgy and low slung Aventador - reportedly with nearly 700 horsepower - while Aston Martin also presents the new Virage.

Rolls Royce is hinting at more stately green credentials with a first outing for an experimental plug-in electric motor in its 102EX limousine, allowing for an overnight recharge after a daily whirr on the streets.

Even the diminutive and trendy Fiat Cinquecento runabout will be chintzed up with a "Gucci" version trimmed by the luxury fashion brand.

But while Europeans get to make them and admire them first, the place where they are most likely to sell is fast growing China, analysts said.

In 2009, the still nascent Chinese market overtook the United States as the world's biggest car buying nation, with much more in store and adding new growth on top of existing markets.

"In 2010, the growth in sales of luxury cars was stronger than that of other segments," said Pieper.

"It's above all a trend in emerging countries, especially China," he explained.

Carlos Da Silva, senior market analyst at consultancy Global Insight, said: "As far as luxury cars are concerned, growth depends on the health of Chinese, Russian and other emerging markets."

Volkswagen Group's premium brand Audi started the year with monthly sales growth of 32 percent in China - with 22,196 cars sold in January, more than 23 percent of worldwide sales - as the German brand laid claim to its "best ever January".

"For the first time in 2010, Audi sold more cars in China than its home German market," Da Silva pointed out, while also highlighting a recovery in the United States.

Last Friday, Italian auto giant Fiat outlined plans to produce 300,000 cars per year in Russia, with its sights set on expansion in emerging markets following its merger with US auto group Chrysler.

By contrast, the European market was dubbed "boring" by analysts who expect little more than lacklustre sales this year.

New passenger car registrations fell by 1.4 percent year-on-year in January, as sales remained depressed outside the big German and French markets, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

Technological gadgets abound, however, with a new trend for "the Internet connection in the car," said Stefan Bratzel, of the Automotive Center at the German Fachhochschule der Wirtschaft (FHDW).

The Audi A6 saloon premiered in Geneva will include an optional online navigation and travel information service on its dashboard screen.

apo-pac/bm

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Mobile App/IOS Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC)

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Mobile App/IOS...

    Front End Developer-JavaScript, Angular J.S, HTML, CSS, ASP.NET

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front End Deve...

    Associate CXL Consultant

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

    Associate CXL Consultant

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

    Day In a Page

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

    Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
    Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

    Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

    Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
    10 best girls' summer dresses

    Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

    Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
    Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

    Westminster’s dark secret

    Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
    Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

    Naked censorship?

    The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
    Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil