Automaker executives gathering this week at the Geneva auto show will be hoping lots of shiny new metal will push into the background troubles such as the wider impact on the industry of the Volkswagen diesel scandal.
While debuts such as the Chiron, Bugatti's successor to the ultrafast Veyron, will be showstoppers, automakers will be unveiling "solid product aimed at raising share and volume in the mainstream European market segments," according to IHS Automotive.
"There may not be a lot of big and exciting new technology trends on offer at this year's Geneva show but instead we have the European industry taking care of business, coming up with compelling product that will bring buyers to showrooms and maintain the current positive sales trend in the Western European market," the researchers said.
The aftermath of VW's cheating of emissions tests likely will lead to tighter regulatory control, pushing up costs for car companies. "This year a thick diesel cloud hangs over Geneva," Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, head of the CAR-Center Automotive Research in Germany said, noting that just over half of cars sold in Europe are powered by diesel engines.
A key trend at this year's show will be lots of new SUV and crossover entrants as automakers compete to win more sales in Europe's fastest-growing mainstream segment.
The show's press days are Tuesday and Wednesday. Here are some of the main debuts:
Alfa is expected to unveil the everyday versions of its key Giulia midsize car after the Giulia Quadrifoglio, the sedan's range-topping version, had its public debut at the Frankfurt show in September. The Giulia is likely to be shown with a 2.0-liter gasoline powerplant, which will be the entry-level engine, and a 2.2-liter diesel version. Deliveries of the Quadrifoglio and the diesel variants to Italian dealers are scheduled to begin by late May or early July. The Giulia Quadrifoglio has a Ferrari-derived 505-hp twin-turbocharged V-6 engine. The Giulia with the 2.0-liter gasoline is due in Europe by the end of the year. U.S. sales of the Giulia Quadrifoglio will begin in the third quarter, with other versions arriving in U.S. showrooms in late 2016.
Aston Martin's new DB11 coupe will kick-start a product offensive at the British sports car brand, which has struggled since Ford Motor Co. sold it to an investors' consortium in 2007. The DB11 debuts an all-new aluminum platform that will underpin future Astons, along with a V-12 engine that uses turbocharging for the first time in a production Aston model.
The Q2 that debuts in Geneva will be Audi's entry-level SUV, sitting below the Q3. Its sporty styling is designed to attract younger buyers. Unlike the Q3, the subcompact-sized Q2 is not likely to be sold in the U.S. because it's too small for most American buyers.
BMW will unveil the 600-hp M760Li xDrive, the flagship of its new 7-series range. The all-wheel-drive sedan is powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V-12 engine and gets slight exterior tweaks. BMW also will show the 740e iPerformance, a plug-in hybrid 7 series.
The Chiron replaces the brand's sole model, the Veyron. Bugatti says the Chiron will be the world's "most powerful, fastest, most luxurious and most exclusive production super sports car," although the brand is not disclosing performance details until the Geneva reveal. Motoring press reports say the car is likely to get an upgraded version of the Veyron's 1,200-hp engine with performance boosted to at least 1,340 hp.