The Geneva auto show is filled with signs that automakers are bouncing back from the downturn of the past two years with a number of production vehicles and concepts.
Volkswagen AG, helped by its new subsidiary Italdesign Giugiaro, will unveil an array of concept cars to show the industry it has the design depth, as well as the production capability and the financial strength, to topple Toyota Motor Corp. as the world's No. 1 automaker. BMW AG will debut the Vision ConnectedDrive, a futuristic roadster concept that shows how driver-assistance systems and infotainment features can be networked via the Internet in ways unimaginable a few years ago. And Toyota and Honda Motor Co. will bring hybrid technology to the subcompact segment.
Here's a sampling of some of the production and concept vehicles making world debuts during the Geneva press days March 1 and 2.
Alfa plans to unveil a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe. The lightweight two-seat model is to go on sale as the 4C GTA in Europe in late 2012, delighting Alfa enthusiasts who have dreamed of an affordable rwd Alfa since the Duetto Spider was discontinued in 1994. Alfa sources said the 4C GTA could be sold in the United States, but no decision has been made.
Audi will debut a concept (pictured above) that previews a sporty notchback version of its A3. The concept is set to go on sale as a new addition to the A3 family, which currently consists of a three-door hatchback, five-door Sportback and a convertible. The A3 notchback will be built in Audi's factory in Gyor, Hungary, likely starting in 2014.
Audi will also premier the five-door RS3 Sportback, which will compete against the BMW 1-series M coupe, will top the A3 range. It offers a five-cylinder, 340-hp, 2.5-liter gasoline direct-injection engine linked to a seven-speed S-tronic transmission and is equipped with Quattro all-wheel drive.