Larger vehicles will dominate the Paris show that runs from 1-11 October at the Paris Expo.
Debuts include the Mercedes S-class, Alfa Romeo's flagship 166, and off-roaders from Land Rover and Opel/Vauxhall.
Also, Renault will reveal its large-car strategy for the 21st century, and even Hyundai will show a vehicle in the Audi A6 class. Saab will unveil its first station wagon for many years.
But Ford and Toyota will continue to focus on smaller cars. The Focus and the Yaris will both be shown in production-ready form for the first time.
Here is a brand-by-brand rundown of new production models and concept cars at the Paris show.
Alfa Romeo's 164 replacement, the 166, will be unveiled. It will go on sale in Continental Europe starting 2 October. In Italy, the price range is expected to start at L60 million ($35,300) for the entry level 2.0-liter Twin Spark. The top of the line 3.0 V-6 automatic will cost L79 million.
The four-door sports sedan, slightly wider and longer than the 164, is based on an evolution of the Lancia Kappa platform. It is Fiat Auto's first car to include Sportronic, a four-speed version of ZF's Tiptronic. It also features anti-slip regulation and traction control, plus a Sport Throttle Response fly-by-wire accelerator.
Gasoline engine options include a 2.0-liter, 155hp four-cylinder Twin Spark 16-valve and a 205hp, 2.0-liter V-6 turbo. There are two 24-valve V-6s: a 2.5-liter 190hp and a 3.0-liter 226hp. The turbodiesel uses the 136hp, 2.4-liter five-cylinder JTD with common rail direct injection introduced with the 156.
The 166 becomes the only Fiat Auto car without McPherson struts. The front suspension is a new dual wishbone design and the rear is a new multilink. The 166 will be built beside the Lancia Kappa in the Rivalta plant, outside Turin, with a target of 50,000-60,000 units a year.
The Audi TT sports car will debut in production form. Half the output will be for Germany and a quarter will go to the rest of Europe. The factory in Gyor, Hungary, will produce around 30,000 units in 1999 - 20,000 coupes and 10,000 convertibles. Annual capacity could rise to a maximum of 50,000.
The range will feature a 1.8-liter two-wheel-drive version and two 1.8-liter quattro models, tuned for 180hp and 225hp.
Audi will use the TT to introduce the brand in new market sectors. Sales in European left-hand drive markets start in October.
BMW will show a new family of diesel engines in four-, six- and eight-cylinder forms. Only the six-cylinder will feature common rail technology.
The 5 series and 7 series will use a 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder, 24-valve turbocharged diesel with common rail direct injection. It is BMW's response to emission targets that call for a fleet average CO2 emission target of 140 grams/km by 2007.
The new engine develops 135hp. It gives the 530d a maximum speed of 224kph and fuel consumption in the overall EU test cycle of 8.7 liters per 100km. Its CO2 emissions are 192 grams/km. In the 730d, the engine can achieve 218kph.
BMW's existing 2.5-liter, six-cylinder indirect-injection diesel remains in production, alongside the 1.8-liter, four-cylinder direct-injection and the new 3.0-liter.
Citroen will show the Xsara Picasso, a compact minivan due to go on sale in late 1999. The Picasso is one of the many forthcoming rivals to the Renault Megane Scenic. It has been developed from the Xanae,.a concept car seen at the 1994 Paris show. The Picasso will be available with 16-valve, 1.6- and 1.8-liter gasoline and 2.0-liter direct-injection diesel engines.
A second concept, the C3, will embody Citroen's vision of a supermini for the 21st century. The company says it will recall the spirit of the Mehari, a plastic-bodied, sport-utility derivative of the 2CV that appeared in 1968.
A 2.0-liter direct-injection diesel engine will be introduced on the Xantia sedan. The Berlingo van will include a sliding door on the right side. The Evasion minivan will receive a slight facelift around the headlamps and bumpers, as will its PSA counterpart, the Peugeot 806.
The Mercedes-Benz S-class is Daimler's 10th new car in three years. The Micro Compact Car Smart project - a joint venture with Swiss watchmaker Swatch - will be shown on a separate stand.
The S-class will remain Mercedes' flagship until the launch of the Maybach, its rival to Rolls-Royce. The S-class is lighter, shorter and lower than the model it replaces. Ride height is reduced by 15mm at speeds above 144kph via automatic ride height adjustment. Air suspension and active ride damping is all part of a chassis package aimed at making the new model more enjoyable to drive.
A high level of standard equipment includes side airbags on all four doors, plus an inflatable safety curtain that deploys during a side impact.
Radio, telephone and navigation equipment are interfaced via a command system that includes dynamic route guidance in most markets. The system informs the driver of traffic jams and tells how to avoid them. It also includes a forward radar linked to the cruise control to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Headlamps turn themselves on in tunnels and keyless entry is available via a smart card.
The new engines already claim a 17 percent saving on fuel, but this technology allows a further reduction of 7 percent. The range will include a 3.2-liter V-6 and 4.3- and 5.0-liter V-8 engines. Daimler-Benz is the first European manufacturer to use cylinder cut-out technology, which is an option on the S500. The V-8 is turned into a four-cylinder at medium to low speeds by deactivating the intake and exhaust valves on the remaining cylinders.
The A-class with an AMG styling package will also be on display.
Fiat's main attraction will be the radical Multipla compact minivan. It is 4000mm long and can accommodate six people in two rows of three seats. A production version was unveiled at the Turin show in April.
Multipla sales begin in November with a 103hp, 1.6-liter gasoline engine and a 105hp, 1.9-liter direct-injection turbodiesel.
Next June Fiat will introduce CNG gasoline and CNG-only versions, both based on the 1.6-liter engine. These will be followed by an electric/gasoline hybrid. The Multipla's spaceframe layout - a first for Fiat - was designed with space under the floorpan to house batteries or CNG bottles.
Multipla prices are expected to be on par with the comparably equipped Fiat Marea Weekend station wagon. The 1.6-liter gasoline version will cost around L33 million ($19,400) and the turbodiesel L36 million.
Fiat is investing L350 billion to build 45,000 Multiplas a year at the Mirafiori plant in Turin. Annual output could be increased to almost 80,000 with minimal investment. The flexibility of the new spaceframe could adapt to derivatives such as a pickup or a three-door minivan.
The Focus debuted in concept garb at the Geneva show in March, but Paris will be the first view of the car as a production model. The range includes 3-, 4-and 5-door versions as well as a station wagon. (see story on Page 3).
The highlight will be the new Frontera off-roader, which has been redesigned from the ground up. It will be available in 10 versions in either Sport or Estate forms. The Frontera will feature new 2.2-liter diesel and 3.2-liter gasoline V-6 engines. An automatic transmission will be offered for the first time.
A shift-on-the-move system allows four-wheel-drive to be engaged at any speed up to 100kph. Off-road performance is improved by the switch to power-assisted rack-andpinion steering.
Interior noise has been reduced by around 50 percent. The Frontera is also 139kg lighter than the outgoing model.
The Movano is GM's new contender at the top end of the commercial vehicle sector. Developed with Renault, it goes on sale in three base versions early next year: a panel van, chassis cab and crew cab. All will be available in three wheelbases and powered by two diesel engines, a 2.5-liter or a 2.8-liter direct-injection turbo.
The Astra range will be joined by the Zafira small minivan, which goes on sale next spring as a Renault Megane Scenic challenger.
An ingenious folding mechanism enables the Zafira to be converted from a seven-seater to a two-seater with 1,700 liters of luggage space. The conversion does not involve the removal any seats. Entry-level models will be available with 1.6-liter gasoline or 2.0-liter direct-injection diesel engines.
Concept cars will also be on display. The Omega MV6 station wagon's interior is designed as a mobile communications center with radio-integrated car phones, a navigation system and audio system. The rear compartment holds a rear laptop with Internet access. The second show car is a driveable fuel-cell car based on the Zafira.
The French coachbuilder will show a concept convertible designed by its Heuliez Torino subsidiary equipped with a Lamborghini 530hp, 5.7-liter engine. It will also show an Espace taxi powered by natural gas. The van has been ordered by the city of Kuala Lumpur for the forthcoming Asian Games in Malaysia.
Honda will show its new Accord five-door, which will debut next summer.
The five-model range will come in S, LS and ES trim, all using 1.6-,1.8- and 2.0-liter VTEC engines as well as a turbodiesel.
Also on display will be a 227kph, 2.2-liter Accord Type R. Due to go on sale in January, it uses Honda's in-house 4-speed Sequential Sports Shift, which was first seen in the Prelude.
Hyundai will unveil an all-new executive car. The XG, based on the Sonata platform, will give the South Korean automaker a presence in the Audi A6 and BMW 5 series market for the first time. Powered by a 2.5-liter V-6 engine, it is due for launch in Korea this month. It will be called the Alvana in its home market.
Isotta Fraschini will reappear in public at the Paris show with a revised version of its 2+2 spider T8 and a styling model of a four-seat, two-door coupe. Both are based on Audi A8 running gear.
Isotta Fraschini, a renowned European luxury brand in the 1920s, '30s and '40s, was revived in 1993. The T8 spider was unveiled at the Geneva show in March 1996, but financial problems prevented the company from taking it from development to production. The T8 spider reappears with a revised front and rear, while the four-seat coupe is a brand-new model. Both versions were designed by American Tom Tjaarda.
The new 3200GT coupe will mark Maserati's return to the US in 2001. Sales in Europe will begin in October 1998 and prices in Italy will be around L150 million ($88,200). The 3200GT is a true 2+2 and can carry two adults in the back. The 3200GT is powered by Maserati's 370hp, 32-valve, 3.2-liter, twin turbo V-8. Its top speed is close to 270kph.
The 3200GT maintains the traditional layout of front longitudinal engine and rear drive with a six-speed Getrag manual or a new five-speed automatic. It will also feature an ABS/ASR system from Bosch similar to the one fitted in the Ferrari F550 Maranello. It will have a new double wishbone suspension at the front and a multilink in the rear.
The exterior of the new coupe was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro at ItalDesign. He styled the original 1966 Ghibli, the 1971 Bora and 1972 Merak. The interior was designed by Enrico Fumia of the Fiat Auto styling center.
Maserati is expected to develop a convertible version of the 3200GT, due in 2000, which could be a shortened wheelbase two-seat spider.
See story on investment, Page 36.
The highlights on the Mazda stand will be the new 323 and Xedos 9 flagship model, featuring the unique Miller supercharged engine. This innovative V-6 unit has 2.3-liters but performs more like a 3.3-liter. Usable power is coupled with outstanding economy and a potential top speed of 229kph. The Xedos 9 is the first production car to be fitted with this engine.
The third generation 323F is shorter, narrower, and taller than its predecessor. Built on a new chassis, its long wheelbase allows class-leading rear headroom and legroom. Engines include revised versions of Mazda's 1.5- and 1.8-liter units. A 1.3-liter and a 16-valve 2.0-liter direct-injection turbodiesel have been added.
Mitsubishi will show the production-ready Space Star. It is the second Mitsubishi model to be built at the NedCar joint venture project with Volvo and the Dutch government. The first was the Carisma.
Mitsubishi has invested around $260 million in the Space Star project at NedCar. It has been designed specifically for the European market, and it will be built on its own production line.
The Space Star will be available with 1.3-liter gasoline or 1.8-liter direct-injection diesel engines.
Nissan's Europe-designed KYXX concept is similar in appearance to the French-built Toyota Yaris. The KYXX features primary and secondary instrument displays. The main panel is positioned in the center with the rest of the instruments to the side of the steering wheel.
The main attraction will be the Escapade concept car, an off-road 4x2 sportwagon based on the 206. It has two big sunroofs and a body 50mm higher than the production 206. A decision on production will depend on reaction at the show.
Peugeot also will show versions of the 206 scheduled to go on sale in spring 1999.
A luxury Roland Garros edition will feature a glass roof. A sport version, equipped with a 138hp, 2.0-liter engine and an aluminum interior trim, will be called the 206 S16 in France and 206 GTI in other European countries. The new 2.0-liter direct-injection diesel will also be available.
The 206 coupe/convertible, shown last March in Geneva as the 'two-oh-heart,' will also be on display.
Peugeot will introduce a 406 sedan equipped with the new 2.0-liter direct-injection diesel engine and a slightly facelifted 806 minivan. It also is putting a sliding door on the Partner commercial van.
Also on the stand will be the Grand Raid, a 4x4 leisure version of the Partner prepared by off-road vehicle specialist Dangel.
The main attraction will be the Z09 Vel Satis concept car, a luxury four-seater equipped with the new PSA-Renault 210hp, 24-valve V-6 engine.
A Renault spokesman said the concept car embodies stylistic themes that will be found on Renault's future top-of-the-range models. Among the features are a monobox design with a rounded rear end and an integrated windshield and glass roof.
The interior, designed like a luxury living-room, features four wooden seats.
Renault is also expected to unveil a sport version of the new Clio, inspired by the former R5 Turbo. A mid-mounted 250hp, V-6 engine will power the rear-wheel-drive car, which is expected to go into production.
Renault will show off facelifts of the Twingo and the Espace minivan. The Espace can be equipped with the PSA-Renault V-6 engine and a ZF automatic transmission.
The new Land Rover Discovery sport-utility will be shown. It goes on sale in the UK in November.
The new R75 flagship sedan will be shown to journalists in Paris, but not displayed until the Birmingham show in October.
A station wagon version of the 9-5 will make its debut. Sales will start before the end of the year. Saab is eager to capture some of the large wagon market in Germany and the UK, long dominated by Volvo.
Seat's new Toledo will be unveiled, replacing the version launched in 1991. The new Toledo is based on the same platform as the VW Golf and Bora.
Skoda will show a new leather trimmed Octavia station wagon that becomes its new top model. The car is intended for production. The name is not certain, but candidates are Highline in left-hand-drive markets, and Lauren & Klement in the UK.
Skoda will also have new trim on the Felicia.
Suzuki will show its new Jimny, which will be available in both two- and four-wheel-drive forms (see story on Page 34). The Jimny, powered by a 1.3-liter engine, will be available with both manual and automatic transmissions.
Paris is the launch pad for the production version of the Yaris, which will go on sale across Europe next year. It will eventually be built in Valenciennes in northern France.
The Yaris, a new generation of supermini, packages space for five adults and luggage within a short body length. It will use sliding rear seats to increase luggage space.
Toyota's E-Com will make its European debut. It is a spry two-seater seen as a concept at last year's Tokyo show. The electric vehicle uses Toyota's intelligent transportation system. Electronic keycards replace keys, and location controls keep track of the vehicle's whereabouts.
France's only high-end sports-car maker will make its comeback with the Atlantique, equipped with the new PSA-Renault V-6 engine. Two versions will be available - a 210hp with automatic transmission, and a bi-turbo 310hp with a manual gearbox.
The Lupo supermini and Bora sedan make their world debuts, and the New Beetle makes its European debut. It was first shown at the Detroit auto show in January.
'Two big surprises' are also promised. One, described as very quick, is likely to be a Bugatti-badged concept. Designed and built by ItalDesign, the car will be a 4-seat, 2-door coupe with a powerful W18 engine.
The other surpise is said to be environmentally friendly.
The New Beetle is due on the market in Germany in November. The Lupo and Bora will go on sale in Germany almost immediately, with a rollout across European left-hand-drive markets during the rest of the year.
The new Volvo S80 flagship will be available in Bi-Fuel versions in 1999. Two new variations will allow it to run on methane or LPG.
The S80 Bi-Fuel's emissions conform to low US emission standards. If methane is used, emissions decrease by 95 percent.
The Bi-Fuel is equipped with a 2.4-liter five cylinder with four valves per cylinder.
Volvo is convinced that, for a few years at least, methane gas will be the most common alternative to gasoline or diesel.
The range of engines for the new S80 has been extended to include a turbodiesel using a direct-injection 2.5-liter engine similar to the one used in the S70 and V70. It will be available at the beginning of 1999.
Also making its debut will be an all-wheel-drive version of the high performance V70.
The V70R AWD produces 250hp from its 2.3-liter, five-cylinder turbocharged engine. The full-time all-wheel-drive system uses a viscous coupling that automatically and instantly distributes power between the wheels.