Alfa Romeo: 147
Chrysler: Jeep concept
Citroen: C5, revised Xsara, concept small car
Ferrari: 550 Barchetta Pininfarina
Fiat: Doblo MPV
Lancia: Nea concept, revised Y
Lexus: RX300 SUV, LS430 and SC430 (European debuts)
Mitsubishi: Pajero Pinin five-door
Mercedes-Benz: C-class sports coupe, G-class
Nissan: X-trail and Fusion concepts
Peugeot: 206CC, Prometheus concept
Porsche: Concept sports car
Renault: Laguna, Modus concept vans
Skoda: Revised Octavia and Fabia
Subaru: Legacy Outback (European debut)
Suzuki: Ignis supermini
Toyota: Avensis face-lift, Prius (European model)
Volkswagen: Revised Passat
Volvo: S60 (show debut), concept car
This year's Mondial de l'Automobile is likely to be remembered as the show that finally establishes Paris in the top division of auto shows worldwide.
Paris 2000 boasts a long list of important production and concept car debuts in almost every major segment of the European auto market.
From the Seat Arosa mini to a new supercar on the Ferrari stand, Paris will host a bewildering schedule of launches as manufacturers compete for a share of media and visitor attention.
Nowhere is this more true than in the upper medium segment, where Skoda, Toyota, Ford, Renault, Citroen, Volvo and Volkswagen have new or updated production cars. Meanwhile, Nissan has a crucial concept car that previews next year's Primera replacement.
But Paris 2000 may already be suffering from its own success: In a bid to avoid the inevitable confusion and competition generated by eight new upper-medium cars, Audi has decided to unveil the new A4 to a select group of people on the Wednesday before the first press day on September 28. The new A4 will then be packed away and taken back to Germany, leaving the other upper-medium newcomers to battle it out at the show.
After a relatively quiet Geneva Show, where just three major production cars debuted, Paris will be chaotic, frenetic and exhausting. But most of all it'll be great fun, and should help stimulate sales across Europe after a static start to the millennium so far.
Here's an A-Z guide of new cars at Paris, with a more detailed analysis of the show stars from Page 28 to 41.
Alfa Romeo wants to move upscale with the 147, a car that replaces both the 145 three-door hatchback and the 146 five-door sedan. Basically, the 147 is a short-wheelbase 156 in three- and five-door hatchback forms.
To move upscale, the 1.4-liter entry-level model has been deleted. The 147 range now begins with a 1.6-liter version. It'll be positioned very close to Audi A3 in the market.
Alfa is not revealing its production forecast, but it is expected to make between 60,000 and 100,000 units a year. The 147 will be built in the Pomigliano d'Arco plant, near Naples, along with the 156 sedan and Sportwagon station wagon. The 147 will be launched in October with three-door body and 1.6- and 2.0-liter gasoline engines only.
The 1.9-liter common-rail turbodiesel, here equipped with a variable geometry turbine that takes the output to 110hp, will follow in spring 2001. An entire range of five-door versions to replace the 146 will also be launched at that time.
The 147 did appear at the Turin auto show earlier in the summer, but Paris is its first major show outing. Paris will also provide the first glimpse of the 147's interior.
Aston Martin will display two current production cars at Paris: the DB7 Volante and the DB7 Coupe. The British sports car manufacturer, owned by Ford Motor Co., is preparing another car, the V12 Vanquish. But that model has been delayed and will not be ready for an auto show until next year.
New A4 will be shown to selected journalists on eve of the first press day on September 28- but the car will not be at the show, say insiders. The Project Rosemayer supercar (see Page 14) is also expected to be absent from Paris.
See Rolls-Royce and Bentley.
Italy's Bertone and Edscha of Germany are unveiling KlappTop, a rigid car top that the companies say folds with the same ease as a soft top. It will be fitted onto a BMW 3 series cabriolet.
Only the Mercedes-Benz SLK and the Peugeot 206 coupe/convertible (also at Paris) offer rigid roofs that fold completely into the trunk.
The Bertone and Edscha concept roof tries to extend this solution to a proper four-seat car. Similar four-seat concepts have been unveiled in recent years by Karmann and Heuliez, but they have not reached production yet.
BMW is determined to establish Mini as its small-car brand right across Europe, not just in the UK. So BMW has chosen Paris to unveil the new Mini, rather than October's Birmingham, England, show. See Mini story, Page 7.
Chrysler will use Paris to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first Jeep. Based on the Jeep Cherokee Sport, a special 60th anniversary model will be far removed from that first workhorse Jeep produced at the start of the 1940s. The Paris car has 'sparkle silver' aluminum wheels, heated leather seats and antilock brakes. It will go on sale this autumn.
Elsewhere on the stand Chrysler will present a concept car that shows a future vision for the Jeep brand. 'It is a completely new category of vehicle, blending a five-door hatchback with the off-road capability of the Grand Cherokee,' said a company spokesman.
New C5 will replace both Xantia and XM, says Citroen. The decision to show the C5 at Paris was made only at the last minute, according to Citroen sources. There's also a new-look Xsara with a substantially revised exterior giving it a close resemblance to the new C5. The new models will spearhead Citroen's attempt to make more characterful cars in future. A concept city car will also debut.
See C5 story, Page 33, and Xsara story, Page 34.
Won't have any new cars at Paris, but is expected to show the new YRV at the Birmingham, England, show in October.
As Ferrari enthusiasts just don't seem to be able to wait for the F50 replacement, Ferrari is offering them another limited edition car: the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina. The car's price will be announced at the show - but it's expected to cost more than a200,000. It will be the first front-engined V-12 convertible Ferrari since the 365 GTB/4 Daytona spider of 1969. Pininfarina designed and engineered the car, although it will be built in Maranello by Ferrari along with the 550 Maranello coupe.
The 550 Barchetta Pininfarina will be sold worldwide, including the USA. The car won't offer a proper hardtop, but just a small canvas roof, to be fitted manually, as with the Dodge Viper roadster.
Fiat dealers finally get a product to sell in the booming Renault Kangoo/Citroen Berlingo segment with the Doblo multi-purpose vehicle. It's the last car to be made on the 178 world car program platform that also spawned the Palio. See story, Page 37.
The star of the Ford stand, and perhaps the show, is the new Mondeo. Its predecessor became European Car of the Year after making its debut at Paris seven years ago. But the dominance of the Mondeo doesn't mean Ford will ignore its other models. Fiesta and Ka will appear with some minor interior trim changes. Those two cars will also be shown with some powertrain variations updated now to meet European Stage 4 emission requirements. See Mondeo stories, Page 28.
Debut of new European Civic is most important event on the Honda stand. The bold Civic focuses on large interior space thanks to one-box design and dashboard-mounted gear lever.
See Civic story, Page 36.
With no new cars to show in Paris this year, the Jaguar stand will put the focus on safety features offered in its 2001 model year vehicles. The 2001 XK series will feature an adaptive restraint system with ultrasonic sensors, a feature Jaguar claims is an industry first. The sensors determine the sitting positions of occupants at any given moment. They also detect whether the occupants are wearing safety belts. The information dictates the force with which the airbags deploy. XK also gets what Jaguar is calling the 'world's first dual-band, fixed in-car telephone' plus an enhanced version of Jaguar's adaptive cruise control system.
After having revised its motor show strategy, Lamborghini will not be at the Paris show. It is also planning to stay away from the Bologna motor show in December. The Audi-owned supercar manufacturer will reappear at the
Detroit auto show in January 2001.
In addition to the Nea concept car, which previews the next Delta range, Lancia will also unveil the face-lifted Y. The a10 million revamp adds new bumpers and front grille, revised headlamps and rear lights, plus new interior trim. The Y is Lancia's entry-level model. Lancia plans to make 110,000 units a year. More than 70 percent will be sold in Italy. See Nea story, Page 39.
Making its debut at Paris will be a version of the Land Rover Freelander powered by a new 2.0-liter, 112hp, TD4 diesel engine.
Lexus will debut the RX300 sport-utility in Paris, with European sales beginning immediately after the show. The car was styled in Japan, but includes many US design elements.
The RX300 is more of a comfort-focused vehicle than a Land Rover Discovery, for example, with a unitary body structure and normal final-drive ratios. It has no off-road low-gear provision, but offers traction control and vehicle stability control instead. Toyota Motor Europe intends to sell 5,500 units of the V-6-powered RX300 in 2001, its first full year in the market.
Meanwhile, the LS430 makes its European debut as the new Lexus flagship. It closely follows the distinctive design of the outgoing LS400, but offers more power (282hp) from its enlarged V-8 engine and further driving refinements. But its suspension has been adapted to more dynamic European driving styles. Innovative equipment includes advanced air conditioning and a high-tech sound system. Lexus expects to sell 1,500 units next year, following the car's introduction in Europe this autumn.
Next year, the LS430 will be joined by the SC430 coupe. The production SC430 makes its world debut in Paris. The concept, with its retractable roof, was originally designed by Sotoris Kovos of Toyota's European design center. Kovos recently left for Audi.
The SC430 is largely based on the LS430 platform. Finally, Lexus' premium GS300 sports sedan, is shown with improved detailing.
There are several new Mazdas on show at Paris, but they are mostly new variations or minor updates. The MX-5 will be present with a new 1.8-liter, 146hp engine, with variable valve timing. The car also has some body modifications. Updated versions of the Xedos 9 and 323 will be shown, the latter with improved engines.
The compact Mitsubishi Pajero Pinin appears at Paris in five-door form. Produced in Turin by Pininfarina, it comes with Mitsubishi's 2.0-liter, 129hp GDi direct-injection engine. The new Pajero Pinin will compete with five-door vesions of the Land Rover Freelander and the new Toyota RAV4.
Mercedes-Benz will choose its words carefully when it launches its C-class sports coupe at Paris. It is not a C-class hatchback, or a C-class compact, according to Mercedes' marketing chiefs. It's a standalone range of cars.
Clearly designed to attract a younger type of customer, the sports coupe will be built alongside the C-class sedan at Sindelfingen, Germany. Paris visitors will also be able to see the new S-class V-8 diesel, which has already gone on sale in some European countries.
Paris will also see the debut of the updated G-class, with a new interior design, a V-8 diesel, and new features derived from the S-class.
Although the X-trail is a concept car, it closely previews a future compact sport-utility to be launched next year.
It combines off-road capabilities with everyday car comfort, says Nissan. A new electronic 4x4 system has been developed for the X-trail. Versatility was kept in mind during the design of the X-trail.
Elsewhere on the Nissan stand, the Fusion concept car gives an idea of how Nissan's all-new Primera for next year may look. This, more than any car, will be responsible for Nissan's future in Europe. Conceptually, the Fusion must succeed, or Nissan will have to think again about the strategy for its next upper-medium contender.
See Fusion story, Page 38
The CC (coupe-convertible) acronym has been chosen by Peugeot as the name of the long-awaited 'sport-fun' version of the best-seller 206 supermini.
Peugeot wants the CC to make up 10 percent of all 206 sales - that is 75,000 to 80,000 units a year.
The car will be made at a daily rate of 400 units at PSA's Mulhouse, France, plant. Two versions will be available: a 1.6-liter, 110hp model costing FF108,000 (E16,335), and a 2.0-liter 137hp model at FF123,000. Both come with full standard equipment including antilock brakes, four airbags, anti-fog headlamps and a radio-CD set.
Meanwhile, Peugeot will also show the Promethee concept at Paris. The car previews the 306 replacement, expected to be called 307.
See Promethee story, Page 39
The Italian design house will have two world debuts at Paris: the Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina it designed and engineered and the five-door version of the Mitsubishi Pajero Pinin compact sport-utility it builds in its new plant at Bairo Canavese.
The German sports car maker is expected to unveil details of a surprise concept early in the morning of September 28 at the Louvre art museum. Porsche sources say that it won't be the long-awaited sports-utility developed with Volkswagen. The Paris concept was developed at Porsche's California studio, say insiders.
Renault will unveil its new Laguna in both hatchback and station wagon versions. See stories on Page 32.
Rolls-Royce and Bentley
Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars will not show any new vehicles in Paris. The Volkswagen-owned British luxury-car company will use Paris to demonstrate the full capabilities of its 'commissioning' services, offering individual versions of Rolls-Royce or Bentley models. Buyers order their vehicles by visiting the dealership or factory. The cars can be customized according to individual tastes. There will be a special Bentley designed to show the full range of custom-ordering services available.
Seat's Arosa develops more of an individual look at Paris following a mid-life restyling. The new corporate nose will be extended to other models in the Seat range in the future.
Skoda has given its Octavia a mid-life face-lift and introduced a powerful new RS sport version. See Story on Page 33.
A revised Fabia at the show features a new engine line-up. Sources say the Fabia range may also get an RS derivative in the future.
Subaru will show the Legacy Outback H6 wagon. This four-wheel-drive model is already on sale in the USA. It will compete in the premium car-derived 4x4 leisure segment with Volvo's Cross Country, and is equipped with a 3.0-liter flat-six engine. The car is expected to be launched in Europe by the end of the year.
The new 1.3-liter Ignis hatchback will debut at Paris, before its launch later this year in major European markets. Ignis fills the gap between the Swift and the larger Baleno. Ignis is already on sale in Japan, where it is called Swift.
A face-lifted Avensis will make its debut in Paris, available with a new 110hp direct-injection diesel engine as well as a 150hp direct-injection gasoline engine. Toyota hopes the updated Avensis will help it maintain a competitive presence in the upper-medium segment in Europe.
New 90hp direct-injected diesels will be presented for the Corolla, as will new 3.0-liter engines for the Land Cruiser.
Toyota will introduce a new brand called T Sport at Paris. Toyota hopes it will create a sporting flagship range - in a similar way to BMW's M brand - for special high-performance versions of mainstream cars.
T Sport cars will feature high-performance engines and related handling packages. The Yaris T Sport will come with a 106hp engine, while the Celica T Sport will get a 192hp 1.8-liter engine featuring variable valve lift in addition to variable valve timing.
The Celica T sport goes on sale in December but the performance Yaris will arrive next year. Toyota expects to add more T Sport variants in the future.
The hybrid-powered Prius sedan makes its world debut in improved European form. It has improved performance, a European handling package and refined powertrain management. To show its commitment to eco-friendly motoring, Toyota could announce plans to produce a second model with hybrid power.
This car is likely to be based on the four-wheel-drive Previa-bodied HV-M4 concept, which was shown last year at Tokyo and Frankfurt.
Finally, a sequential five-speed transmission with a push-button, clutch-less operation on the steering wheel is a new feature of the MR2 roadster. Sales will start later this year.
See Avensis story, Page 31
Four-year-old Passat is refreshed at Paris to face the raft of new upper-medium competitors.
See Passat story, Page 31
Paris marks the world auto show debut for the S60 sedan, the smallest vehicle on Volvo's P2X large car platform.
The S60, below, will compete directly with the Mercedes-Benz C-class and BMW 3 series.
Paris will give Volvo a chance to explain what happens now to the S40/V40, which was also supposed to compete with the BMW 3 series.
Volvo will also unveil a concept car 'hinting at what a future high-performance car with a Volvo badge might look like.' The car was developed in tandem with the S60 sports sedan. Volvo engineers produced the concept to study technical innovations they might use in a future sporty model.
Volvo will also unveil a 2.4-liter, 160hp common rail turbodiesel engine. The five-cylinder engine, to be used on all of Volvo's large cars, is the first diesel engine Volvo Cars has made in house. It will go on sale early next year.
Wim Oude Weernink, Luca Ciferri, Stephane Farhi, Bradford Wernle, Dorothee Ostle, Gunther Hoffmeister, and Mark Catterall contributed to this report.