At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show dozens of new models were given their European or even full global debuts. From the rabid Lamborghini Huracán to the humble but hideous Fulu Meteor, Matt Kimberley sniffs out the stories that shaped this year’s Geneva show.
It’s that time of year again when the good, the bad and the just plain ugly descend on a Swiss city so close to the country’s western extreme that the first mobile phone networks you pick up at the airport are French.
The Geneva Motor Show has been a big fish on the automotive calendar for decades. The revolutionary Lamborghini Miura was unveiled here more than 50 years ago, for example.
On the other hand, if this year is anything to go by its importance is waning. Recent swings in favour of Japanese, German and North American shows have split new car reveals across the whole year. Manufacturers can now develop their cars on their own schedules and simply reveal them at the next major motor show on the calendar.
There have been no real surprises or unexpected developments at Geneva 2014. New performance icons have been created in the Honda Civic Type R, Lamborghini Huracán and Subaru WRX STI, but these we had seen before the show. Honda hasn’t even released the much-vaunted performance stats for the Type R yet.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t important things happening. Ford’s new Focus has been given its full debut here, and while it’s not an all-new model – that will come in 2017 – the volumes that the car is sold in make it a massively, massively important model for Ford and consumers alike. Expect more of the populist same from the car.
We’ve finally been able to get up close with Citroen’s delightfully mad Cactus, too, which promises good things if you treat your car like a skip. It’s brilliant to see such a different design making it to production, and we can only hope the cream of the other concepts make it through the final design process unaltered.
The Mazda Hazumi is one; putting the Ford Fiesta well to shame in the style stakes while offering potentially epic efficiency and MX-5-inspired driving dynamics. It looks absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, so fingers should be crossed in hope of a positive outcome at the end of its development. The Kia Stinger, which had been seen in Asia before Geneva, is another stunning concept that should be left exactly like it is.
On the electric car front there’s a lot happening, but it’s debateable how much of it is truly significant. At Geneva there are plenty of small concerns with big ideas, but none of them seem to have figured out how to make a small, electric car look desirable. The Fulu Meteor E.T. is the worst offender by far. If you’ve just eaten, try to avoid looking at it at all.
As manufacturers smooth out their launch cycles and become less reliant on Geneva’s ‘Big Stage’, choosing instead to release initial images and even specifications before the show itself, the relevance of the show diminishes.
Ultimately there’s no substitute for getting hands-on with a new model, but in terms of juicy news the media will be hoping for better next year.