New concept cars: 626 MPS (Mazda Performance Series) concept sedan serves as a test bed for sports-tuning parts.
New production cars: Tribute, Mazda's new small sport-utility and stablemate of the new Ford Escape, will make its European debut. The restyled Demio mini-MPV, which Mazda touts as an ideal car for first-time buyers, will also be shown in Europe for the first time.
What you won't see: Any new examples of world car platform sharing with Ford.
Worth a second look: The rotary-engined RX-Evolv sports car, first shown at the Tokyo auto show in October, makes its European debut. The car should go on sale in Europe sometime in 2002.
Talking points: Mazda and Ford product developers will work more closely together in the future. The first project will probably be a world car in the 323/Focus segment.
MERCEDES-BENZ AND SMART
New concept cars: None - unless you count the Vision SLA roadster seen at the Detroit auto show in January.
New production cars: None.
What you won't see: New C-class - due at the Paris auto show this autumn. Smart sport coupe.
Worth a second look: S600 Pullman. SLK facelift with six-cylinder engine.
Talking points: Who is next on DCX's acquisition list? Will it announce a new venture with PSA to build small-car platforms together? Production go-ahead for the Smart roadster is delayed until DCX's small-car strategy is finalized.
New concept cars: None.
New production cars: The European derivative of the Pajero/Shogun sport-utility. The Japanese version appeared at last year's Tokyo auto show.
What you won't see: New direct injection diesel engines due later in the year.
Worth a second look: The SUW city car concept from Tokyo will make an appearance in Geneva.
Talking points: What is going to happen to the NedCar factory in the Netherlands that Mitsubishi shares with Volvo, now that Volvo is part of Ford? Is Mitsubishi in Europe a builder of well-positioned niche cars (Pajero/Shogun, Pajero Pinin, Space Star)? Or is it really a volume maker (Carisma, Galant) competing in Europe's major segments?
Wim Oude Weernink
New concept cars: None
New production cars: The Maxima QX has been restyled with new suspension and increased interior room. The Nissan Patrol GR sport-utility gets a new direct-injection 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine.
What you won't see: Any new cars being developed with Renault.
Worth a second look: The new Almera might have looked a bit dull on first sight, but it is attracting an increasing number of plaudits. It is slickly, if undramatically, styled and is a great drive. The Almera Tino, however, is one car too many for Renault/Nissan - how will they market this five-seat minivan against the almost identical Scenic?
Talking point: Renault is rapidly taking over Nissan's European operations.