TURIN - The lack of new cars at the 67th Turin auto show illustrates why the organizers want to move the biennial show from April to June or July.
In recent years, Turin has been overshadowed by the Geneva show in March. This year, only three production cars are expected to debut: Fiat's Seicento mini and Multipla compact minivan, and Hyundai's third-generation Sonata.
Only six concepts will be presented, compared with 22 at the 1996 Turin show, and 10 concepts at this year's Geneva show.
The concepts will come from Fioravanti, Ghia, Italdesign, Lancia, Pininfarina and Stola.
Unlike previous Turin shows, Fiat Auto will not sponsor coachbuilders to offer 'free interpretations' of one of its new models.
Most manufacturers will exhibit. Only Honda, Nissan, Volvo, Daihatsu and Subaru have decided to stay away. Together they account for 3.8 percent of the Italian market.
Bologna-based show organizer Promotor srl has asked OICA, the global association of national automaker associations, to approve moving the Turin show to late June or early July.
A later date would not only separate Turin from Geneva, it would allow manufacturers to unveil cars for the next model year. Companies would also be able to present their first-half sales figures.
Fiat will also show the production version of its Multipla compact minivan at the Turin show. The six-seater has been modified since it was shown as a concept car at the Paris show in October 1996. The bumpers, for example, are no longer painted in the body color.
The Multipla will go on sale in November. It is expected to cost about the same as a comparably equipped Marea Weekend station wagon - around L33.8 million ($18,500) for the 1.6-liter gasoline version.
Fiat will build 45,000 units a year at its Mirafiori plant.
The Seicento, Fiat's replacement for its Cinquecento mini, will make its auto show debut at Turin. The car was unveiled to the international press on 12 March at the Lingotto in Turin, and sales started in Italy on 28 March.
Alfa Romeo will present the 1999 model-year GTV and Spider MY. Lancia will show the K with a 2.4-liter, five-cylinder, JTD common-rail, direct-injection turbodiesel and a 2.0-liter, five-cylinder gasoline engine. The gasoline engine is already available in the Fiat Coupe. Maserati will not show the coupe that will replace the Ghibli as expected.
Instead, the company will introduce the coupe to the press in June or July, and to the public at the Paris show in October.