Mazda's Kabura sports coupe concept, one of the big hits of the show, could be heading for the Geneva show in March.

Moray Callum, Mazda's design chief wants it there - although the car is very much a US project.

It was designed at Mazda's California studio and is the first car from there under new Design Director Franz von Holzhausen who joined Mazda in early 2005 after five years at GM.

Holzhausen said that the Kabura would fit into the Mazda line-up beneath the MX-5, on which it is based. It has an unusual 3+1 seating arrangement with two passengers sitting in tandem alongside the driver and a fourth, occasional, seat behind the driver.


A production version of Nissan's Urge - another small sports car - will be on sale "before the end of the decade," said Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn.
"It's a sports car for a new generation of Nissan drivers," added Ghosn.


Volvo's C30, unveiled on Monday as a concept, will be seen in production form at the Paris show in September, said Frederik Arp, president and CEO of Volvo Cars. Before that comes the redesigned S80, which will be unveiled at Geneva in March as Volvo embarks on an unprecedented five new model launches over the next 18 months.

The NAIAS marked the debut of C70 Coupe Cabriolet - "so that's six cars if you count the C70 Cabriolet as two," said an ebullient Arp.

The C30 is important to Volvo because it will attract a new generation of younger buyers to the brand - new buyers that Volvo will need if it is to reach its target of eventually selling 600,000 cars a year.

Steve Mattin, Volvo's design director, said the C30 is nine inches shorter than the S40 and slightly wider. It draws heavily on the SCC (Safety Concept Car) which has been widely seen at recent motor shows while the rear pays homage to the P1800 of the 1970s.


This year will be the year that Ford's Premier Automotive Group completes its revitalisation, said Lewis Booth, president of Ford of Europe and head of PAG. "We don't need to change our strategy which, although over-ambitious at the beginning, is starting to work," he said.

"We have three brands in the black and this year PAG and Ford of Europe will launch 20 new products, all developed with greater efficiency as we learn how to share across the brands; 2006 will be the tipping point for shared technologies in Europe. We are driving down costs by sharing components and sourcing from low cost countries."

Anthony Lewis