It was brilliant and it’s over. Although the Gerrell & Hard team was too busy sourcing candidates for our clients to be at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, that didn’t stop us following it from afar. And this year its participants really delivered.
Just in case the show is new to you, it’s an annual automotive showcase of considerable vintage, going all the way back to 1905. In its history it has played host to the vast majority of automobile models and has long been associated with big reveals, particularly of supercars and prototypes.
It’s a forum for showing off new technology and announcing new developments within the sector, but perhaps more than anything, it’s associated with the simple “look at me” factor you’d expect in the luxury arms race.
From big trends to mind-bogglingly bonkers vehicles, here’s our take on the headlines that caught our attention this year.
Hypercars: The Bugatti La Voiture Noire and other show-stoppers.
If you’ve got a spare £11million-plus and want to own the attention-grabbing hypercar to end all attention-grabbing hypercars then…sorry, but you’re too late.
The one-off, 1479bhp 8.0-litre Bugatti La Voiture Noire has already sold for a cool €11 million before tax. Timed to coincide with the marque’s 110th anniversary, it’s an homage to the Type 57 SC Atlantic and is the most expensive new car of all time.
Hard to sell? Apparently not. Like all good supercar builders, Bugatti knows its customers pretty well; it approached the buyer directly, knowing they were unlikely to say no. Impressively, it made money on the car. Fun fact we learned last week: Bugatti owners typically own about 30 cars.
If your wallet is a little lighter, the new Koenigsegg Jesko seems like a snip in comparison to the ‘Noire. It’s a 1578bhp beast with a targeted top speed of 300 mph. Set for a limited run of 125 units, it will likely cost a little under $3 million before taxes. If the maker achieves its plans, the car will be the fastest road car in the world. Koenigsegg report that they have received 83 deposits on the car already, so hurry.
Ferdinand Porsche’s great-grandson makes his mark.
Piech Automotive has used the show to launch its first car, an electric sports car known as the Mark Zero. Founded in 2016 by Anton Piech (son of former VW chairman Ferdinand Piech and great-grandson of Ferdinand Porsche) Piech Automotive would like to add saloon and SUV cars to its portfolio. This should be a fascinating brand to watch.
Designed by young people for young people.
Honda has collaborated with Masters students in international design at the Institute Europeo de Design in Turin, to create a fun car that reflects the transport needs of young people in 2025.
The result is the Tomo (Japanese for “friend”), an electric concept car designed to work as both a daily commute city car and a vehicle that can handle rural driving. Deliberately styled to resemble wearable technology, the car won’t hit the production line but is said to reflect Honda’s plans to electrify all its future models.
Ferrari hybrid supercar
Ferrari used Geneva to announce that it will launch a hybrid supercar within three months, but has been so cagey about details that we can only watch and wait to see what it will look like. What we do know is that it is part of a planned release of five new models this year. We’re also intrigued by rumours that the marque’s planned SUV, due to be launched by 2022, will aim to be the fastest on the market.
Mercedes goes minivan…
…What’s more, it has gone electric minivan, using the motor show to debut its Concept MPV, an all-electric minivan with room for eight people and just under 250 miles of range. Depending on its release schedule, it could be the first electric minivan, though it has competition from Volkswagen (which will release an electric version of its microbus in around 2022) and Chrysler which has plans to release a vehicle in the same segment, designed “by millennials for millennials,” in 2020.
Citroen wins it!
The show coincided with Citroen’s 100th anniversary, so perhaps it was fitting that the brand won the 2019 Creativity Award, effectively a sort of “best in show” at Geneva. Citroen used its centenary as a thematic base from which to build a display of Citroen, past and present – and the references impressed the jury.
Though past and present loomed large within the stand, the future was represented by the Ami One Concept vehicle, described by Arnaud Belloni, Citroen’s SVP of Global Marketing Communications, as a car that will “potentially not require a driving licence, so you’d be able to drive it as of the age of 14 in France or 16 in the rest of Europe”.
Electrification, electrification, electrification
Naturally, Geneva was, above all, electric. Automakers from every corner of the world and every level of the market were keen to show off their EV credentials. Given that the motor show is generally considered a marker for the year’s global product rollouts, we have a lot of alternative propulsion to look forward to.
The show saw the 1,900 horsepower Pininfarina Battista, an all-electric beauty and beast in one glorious package; it also saw Fiat celebrating its 120th year with the Centoventi – described as the brand’s take on an electric Fiat Panda. Both the tiny Ami One and the Centoventi are microcosms of the technological environment that forged them: the Ami One is pitched as a hire vehicle that can be booked via an app and unlocked by scanning a QR code on the door handle, while Fiat designed the Centoventi’s interior to be modular and customisable. Buyers will be able to choose from well over 100 accessories allowing them to personalise their car: a door pocket could be swopped for a speaker or bottle holder. Owners may even be able to 3-D print their own compatible items.