Post-crisis Paris car show goes electric, looks to Asia

Automakers gathered Thursday at the Paris Car Show hoping the huge Asian market will let them put crisis behind them as they premiere dozens of models and a bevy of electric cars ready to hit the road.

More than 300 firms from across the world will be represented at the two-week exhibition that opens to the public from Saturday - after two days of press previews and a visit Friday by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Glamour comes in the form of Ferrari's drop-top SA Aperta - just 80 models will be built - and French automakers Renault and Citroen's showcasing of cars they built in partnership with fashion brands Lacoste and Miss Sixty.

More than a million visitors were due to flock to the exhibition halls to ogle gleaming vehicles and see for themselves the latest innovations in the art of driving.

Among the cars on show are Kia's three-seater electric "Pop" concept, featuring "butterfly-wing" doors that open both upwards and forwards.

Mercedes unveils its new CLS which mixes coupe styling with the four doors of a saloon. Ford will be unveiling to European buyers its new Focus ST, while the future of family cars may be hinted at in Vauxhall's GTC Paris Concept.

Peugeot features its upgrade for the 407, the 508, and visitors will get a peek at the new Citroen C4.

The economic crisis savaged the car industry and it is now setting its sights on emerging markets like China to compensate for the stagnating sales and fierce competition in Europe.

But it is "still much too soon" to say that the crisis is behind us, said Mark Fulthorpe, an analyst with CSM Worldwide consultants.

With government "cash for clunkers" schemes coming to an end, "the economic fundamentals are not sufficient to convince people to buy cars," he said.

European carmakers are expecting a drop of 7.0 percent in sales this year. But car sales in China are continuing to rise rapidly, making it the biggest market in the world and the new eldorado for the car industry.

"Europe and the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are the keys to the market," said Bertrand Rakoto, an analyst with RL Polk.

"In Europe, carmakers have to defend their positions, and in the BRICs, they have to work out what are the right vehicles for those markets," he said.

Ever tougher regulations on carbon dioxide emissions by cars, environmental worries and uncertainty over oil prices are all major concerns for the automobile industry.

Carmakers are continuing to invest heavily in new technologies to reduce CO2 emissions and to slash energy consumption.

Electric cars will once again be stars of the show at the Paris exhibition.

Renault is presenting the electric Fluence ZE (zero emission) saloon and its Kangoo Express ZE van, which are expected to go on sale next year, and it is also to unveil a near-final version of its flagship Zoe model.

PSA is displaying the runabouts Peugeot Ion and Citroen C-Zero, derived from the Mitsubishi i-Miev, and Nissan will be showing off its Leaf saloon.

"We have now moved from electric concept cars to cars you can actually buy," said Carlos da Silva of IHS Global Insight. "Paris will be the first car show in the world where there really will be five or six cars you can choose from."

Manufacturers are in parallel continuing to develop hybrids, with PSA due to bring out a diesel-electricity hybrid next year.

But improving traditional engines remains a major goal. Innovations which can reduce motor size without also reducing performance result in cars like the two-cylinder TwinAir Turbo that Fiat is showcasing.

"New technologies are the tip of the iceberg, but in fact what continues to sell and what makes up the bulk of sales are traditional cars," said Carlos da Silva.

sbo-rm/bm

 

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Latest stories from i100
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

    Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY - An outstanding high level opportunity...

    Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

    Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

    Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

    Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Day In a Page

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick