The Turin auto show is fighting for its future despite turning 100 this year. Although it was moved from its traditional date in late April to early June to distance it from the Geneva auto show in March, this year's event was missing a number of major names. Absent carmakers included Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda and BMW. In addition, just two production cars made their debut here: the Alfa Romeo 147 and Hyundai Elantra.
Only the design houses keep Turin in the major league of European auto shows, but even they struggled to deliver show-stopping products this year.
Pininfarina's Rossa was one of the show's highlights. The two-seat spider is based on the Ferrari 550 Maranello. But it is a pure show car, and not feasible for production.
Only two smaller studios produced new concepts for broader application worldwide: Fioravanti's Tris modular car and the X-tile open-top technology developed by a consortium of Turin-based small companies.
Other show news:
De Tomaso announced it would help develop and sell 20,000 sport-utilities a year provided by Russian manufacturer UAZ. Santiago De Tomaso said his company will modify and distribute 20,000 cars derived from the UAZ Simbir over the next five years.
UAZ will send the Simbir to De Tomaso in Modena without any engine, transmission or interior. De Tomaso will add a 2.5-liter turbodiesel engine, the complete running gear and a more sophisticated interior. De Tomaso will distribute the UAZ-branded vehicle in Italy, France, Portugal, Greece and Spain.
Italdesign-Giugiaro SpA and IDIADA SA of Spain said they would create a 50/50 joint venture to provide customers with a full vehicle design, development and testing service. Based near Barcelona, IDIADA has 250 workers and a 3.7 million-square-meter testing facility. It also has branches in South Korea and Germany. The joint venture company, to be called IDIADA Giugiaro Automotive Technology, will be operative from July.
Andrea Pininfarina, managing director of Industrie Pininfarina, said his company wants to 'become a full service provider,' strengthening its engineering capabilities in addition to Pininfarina's two traditional strengths of design and production. Pininfarina will raise its engineering staff by 50 percent over the next 18 months, and double it by the end of 2003.