Wednesday, March 21, 2012

2012 Geneva International Auto Show

There is a small group of Americans and Canadians whose spouses work at Nestle.  As the new guy in Vevey, I was invited to attend the 82nd annual Geneva International Auto Show with two of the Americans and one Canadian. I am not really a car enthusiast or very knowledgeable, but I thought it would be fun to attend.  The show was held at the Geneva Convention Center which is located next to the Geneva Airport.  Geneva is about a one hour train ride west of Vevey.

Most of the pictures in this blog are cars from companies that I had never heard of or knew very little about, so included a little background on the companies.

There were a few "concept" cars.  These are models that have features that may or may not ever go into production.

On March 5th, at the show, they announced the European Car of the Year award. 

There were co-winners; believe it or not, the two winners were The Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera, General Motors' two electric vehicles with extended range capabilities.

The GM electric vehicles were selected over seven other finalists. Depending on the style of driving and road conditions, the Volt and the Ampera can cover distances of between 25 and 50 miles in the emissions-free, battery-operated mode. A 16 kWh lithium ion battery powers the 111kW/150 hp electric motor.

Model -  Opel Ampera - Co-winner of the European Car of the Year award.

Opel is owned by General Motors.

Model - Chevy Volt - Co-winner of the European Car of the Year award.

Chevy is owned by General Motors 

Model -  Bertone Giulietta Sprint Spider.

Bertone is an Italian Automobile company, which  specializes in car styling and manufacturing. They have styled cars for Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Ferrari, Fiat, Iso Rivolta, Lancia, Lamborghini, Mercedes Benz, Opel and Volvo.

 Model - Sbarro Intencity (Prototype Electric Car).

Sbarro is a small Swiss high-performance replica and sports car company founded by Franco Sbarro in 1971.

Model - Tesla Sport Roadster (All Electric Car). This car is able to go from 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds (competitive with Porsche and Lamborghini models).  With horsepower of 325, its top speed is 125 mph. The car is rated at 245 miles per charge. Its base price is around $100,000.

Tesla Motors, founded by Elon Musk, Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard, is a company that produces a high-performance electric sports car and sedans.  It is backed by a number of high-profile investors from the Silicon Valley.  

In addition to his Tesla duties, Elon Musk serves as CEO and CTO of SpaceX.   This company has developed the Falcon 9 rocket booster and the Dragon spacecraft.  The unmanned Dragon is scheduled to launch on April 30, 2012 and dock at the International Space Station on May 5th.  If successful, this will be the first privately funded company to launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft after docking at ISS.  If successful, it will be awarded a NASA contract worth $3.2 billion to re-supply the ISS through 2015. 

 Model - Tesla Model S Sedan (All Electric Car).  This car is able to go from 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds.  With horsepower of 302, its top speed is 120 mph. The car is rated at 300 miles per charge. Its base price is around $50,000.

Model - Bollore Blue Car.  (All-Electric Car).  This car uses a Lithium Poylmer battery that provides a range of 160 miles at a maximum speed of 81mph on a fully charged battery.

The Bollore Blue Car was selected by the mayor of Paris, France as the car that will be used in their electric-car-share program called “Autolib”.  Under this system, users rent a car at one location and can drop it off at another  Eventually 3,000 electric cars will plug in at 1,000 (mostly underground) stations.  The intent is to vastly reduce the amount of pollution in Paris.

Bollore is a French investment, manufacturing and industrial holding group founded in 1822 by the Bollore family.  Among the products it manufactures is the lithium-metal-polymer battery.  It uses that battery for its all-electric Bollore Blue Car that it also manufactures.

Model - Gumpert Apollo.

Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur is a German company which manufactures Supercars.  It was founder in 2001 by Roland Gumpert who was the former Director of Audi Sport. Under his management, Audi won a total of 25 World Rally Championships.

Model - Koenigsegg Agera.  This street legal car holds the world record as the fastest car in its class.  It has 1,115hp and will go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and from 0 to 125 mph in 7.5 seconds. Top speed has been reported at 260 mph. It's priced at $1.6 million.

Koenigsegg Motors was founded in 1994 in Sweden by Christian von Koenigsegg, with the intention of producing a world-class super car. Many years of development and prototyping led to the company's first street-legal production car delivery in 2002.

Model - Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitessa (Vitessa - French for Speed).  This car is street legal.

This car will be one of the most powerful street cars to ever be produced.  Its 16-cylinder engine, made possible by the four enlarged turbochargers, will generate 1,200 HP.  
This car is capable of hitting 0-60 mph in just 2.5 seconds while achieving a top speed of 255 mph on closed tracks, the fastest production roadster ever. As far as "road" speeds are concerned, it only "only" does 223 mph.  It can maintain this speed for 12 minutes before all the fuel is gone.

The price tag is 2.5 million, making it one of the most expensive cars on the market.

Automobiles E. Bugatti was a French car manufacturer founded in 1909 by Italian-born Ettore Bugatti as manufacturer of high-performance automobiles.
Bugattis were well known for the beauty of their designs (Ettore Bugatti was from a family of artists and considered himself to be both an artist and car builder) and for the large number of races that they have won. Ettore Bugatti died in 1947. Today the name is owned by Volkswagen Group, a builder of limited production exclusive sports cars.

Model - Infiniti Emerge-E Hybrid (Concept car).

This car can do 0-60 in 4.0 seconds.  Its engine can generate 400 HP.  It can do 30 miles on an electric charge, or 300 miles on a tank of fuel with the range-extender option.
Infiniti is the luxury division of automaker Nissan. 

Another shot of the Infiniti Emerge-E Hybrid.  A very stylish car, particularly for an Infiniti.

Model - Dacia Lodgy.

Automobile Dacia S.A. is a Romanian car manufacturer, named for the historic region that constitutes much of present-day Romania. It is now a subsidiary of the French carmaker Renault. The company is the main exporter from Romania with 10% of total exports.

Model - Lexus LF-LC Hybrid Sports Coupe (Concept car)

Another shot of the Lexus.

Model - Abarth 595 Tourismo

The car has a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder unit that produces 160 HP.  It can go from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. Its top speed is 131 mph.
Abarth is an  Italian racing car maker founded by Austrian-Italian Carlo Abarth in 1949. Its logo depicts a stylized scorpion on a red and yellow background.  The company was sold to Fiat in 1971.

 Model BMW i3 All electric car (Concept car, but it will be available in 2013)

It produces 168 hp and has a top speed of 93 mph.  It accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds.  It can go 150 miles on a full charge. The price is expected to be around $35,000.

Model - BMW i8 Hybrid (Concept car, but will be available in 2014).  I personally think this is the most stylish of the hybrids that were on display.  The color is absolutely beautiful, these pictures don't do it justice.

It produces 220 hp from its 3 cylinder engine and has a top speed of 155 mph.  It can go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.  It can go 400 miles on a full gas tank and fully charged batteries.  The price is expected to be around $160,000.

BMW i8

BMW i8

BMW i8

BMW i8

Model - Land Rover Evoque (Concept car).

Model - Renault Megane

Renault S.A. is a French automaker, founded in 1899 by Louis Renault, Marcel Renault and Fernand Renault, that manufactures cars and vans. Its alliance with Nissan makes it the fourth-largest automotive group.  Together Renault and Nissan are the leading electric car developers among major car companies, investing $5.16 billion in eight electric vehicles over the next 3–4 years. Renault also owns the Romanian automaker Automobile Dacia and the Korean automaker Renault Samsung Motors.

Model - Skoda Citigo. 

Skoda Auto was founded in 1895 by Vaclav Laurin and Vaclav Klement.  It is an automobile manufacturer based in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group.

Model - Skoda Fabia Combi.

Model - Weismann MF3.  The price for this hand-made car is $78,000.

Wiesmann was founded in 1985 by the brothers Martin and Friedhelm Weismann.  It is an automobile manufacturer based in Germany. Their cars are manufactured by hand.  The Wiesmann logo portrays a gecko as Wiesmann cars "stick to the road like geckos to a wall".

Model - Wiesmann MF5.  The cost for this hand-made car is $247,450.

Model - Pininfarina Cambiano.  This is the world debut for this car.

Pininfarina S.p.A. is an Italian car design firm founded in 1930 by automobile designer and builder Battista “Pinin” Farina.  The company has been contracted to do design work for high-end automobile manufactures such as Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls-Royce, Cadillac, Jaguar, Volvo, Alfa Romeo and Lancia.  The company also has designed trams in France, high-speed trains in Holland and trolleys in the US.        

Another shot of the Pininfarina Cambiano.

Model - Pininfarina F12 Berlinetta.  This is also the world debut for this car.

Model - Artega Roadster

Artega Automobil Co. was founded by Klaus Dieter Frers in in 2006. It is a German sports car manufacturer. 

In my opinion I saved the best car for last.  It is an absolutely beautiful car.

Model - Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4. This street legal, hand built car has a V-12 engine that produces 700 HP.  It will go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.  Its top speed is 217 mph. The price starts at $380,000.

Automobili Lamborghini, was founded in 1963 by Italian Ferruccio Lamborghini with the intent of producing a car that could compete with established offering from such companies as Ferrari.
The company's first models were released in the mid-1960s, and were noted for their refinement, power and comfort. Lamborghini gained wide acclaim in 1966 for the Miura sports coupe which established mid-engine design as the standard layout for high-performance cars of the era. After a decade of rapid growth, hard times befell the company in the mid-1970s, as sales plunged in the wake of the 1973 world financial downturn and the oil crisis.  After going through bankruptcy and three changes in ownership, Lamborghini came under the corporate umbrella of the Chrysler Corporation in 1987. The American company failed to return the automaker to profitability and sold it to Indonesian interests in 1994. Lamborghini's lack of success continued through the 1990s, until the company was sold in 1998 to Audi, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group.  Audi's ownership marked the beginning of a period of stability and increased productivity for Lamborghini, with sales increasing nearly tenfold over the course of the 2000s, peaking in record sales in 2007 and 2008. 

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