Jaguar C-X17

Jaguar C-X17

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Our detailed look at Europe's largest motor show of 2013 - the Frankfurt IAA - forms a two part series for this month's management briefing. Glenn Brooks follows just-auto.com's preview with a comprehensive post-Frankfurt report.

Maybe it's because we've all become so used to crises in Europe that the 2013 IAA seemed so, well, normal. Apart from the Audi nanuk quattro concept and the curious absence of Fiat's John Elkann and Sergio Marchionne, there were no last minute surprises.

The event was larger than ever and familiar faces moaned and sweated about how exhausting it is to just get around the multiple halls, let alone try to report live from the event. More than any other European show, Frankfurt is the one so many journalists seem to love to hate. Yet always, there are the contacts to catch up with, new execs to meet and of course, the new cars, all of which keep me at least, coming back.

If the 2011 event was all about the up! for Volkswagen, then this time around it was the e-Golf. The e-up! was claimed to be another world premiere but that's untrue, its world debut was months ago at the Barcelona show. The real story with these cars is yet to be told, and will not be reported until 2014. That is when we will begin to see if lots of European buyers, and Germans in particular, can be enticed to buy these plug-ins.

Volkswagen held off for a long time in the hope that there might be some breakthroughs in battery technology. Now it has committed itself to putting the first A and C segment EV hatchbacks from a European brand into production, while Audi takes a different tack by instead launching PHEVs. Will the A3 e-tron sell better than the e-Golf? Possibly, though VW is hedging its bets, with a plug-in hybrid version of the Golf set to follow.

Staying with Audi, the nanuk quattro was much admired but was I alone in feeling I had somehow seen it before? Last year's Lamborghini Parcour concept, also developed by Giugiaro, looked remarkably similar and who could forget that awful moment at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed? I'm not so sure we'll see a production version of the nanuk but the word is, Audi's other IAA concept, the Sport quattro, will be built in small volumes from 2016.

I mentioned in my preview piece how strange it is that Volkswagen has allowed so many of its models to become quite aged but the opposite seems to be happening at Škoda. I'm not sure how well the Rapid Sportback is going to sell. It looks the part but it has a lot less interior space than the existing five-door hatchback. Why not stick to what the brand does best and add a wagon instead of this?

Next year sees the launch of a new Fabia, and I will be surprised if the Practik and Roomster are also not replaced as these twins are now seven years old and Škoda seems to stick fairly closely to eight-year lifecycles. I thought we might have seen an MPV concept at the IAA to alert buyers of a new model due in 2015, not to mention the SUV that's also around two years away. One of the two should probably appear at Geneva next March, with the other to follow a month later at the Beijing show.

After some very tough times, SEAT is finally starting to see the sort of YoY sales improvements that we almost take for granted with Škoda. The new León ST is the replacement for the Exeo, I was told by company boss Jürgen Stackmann. Both sedan and wagon versions of the Exeo went out of production in the summer but would you believe SEAT is still building the Altea, XL and Freetrack? I had presumed these would have been pensioned off by now but no, nine years old they might be but there are no formal plans to directly replace any of them in the immediate future. Of the B segment or C segment crossovers that SEAT really needs, Stackmann would say only that his number one priority is to deliver strong profitability, though he agreed that a crossover or SUV would be "a good fit for our brand".

Ford, which now claims it is the region's second largest manufacturer - according to its own definition of what defines 'Europe' at least - had no new major launches at Frankfurt. Still, the S-MAX concept looked great and a production model should enter production at Valencia in late 2014. Some have even suggested that the next Edge would be built there alongside the S-MAX, Galaxy and Mondeo but I'm not so sure about that. There again, I cannot imagine how Ford of Europe is able to make a business case for importing the as yet unseen second generation Edge from Oakville in Canada - the division has said the vehicle will be sold here so let's wait for more news on where it will be built. That may well come as soon as Thursday 18 September...

Both PSA brands' stands were awash with new models and updates of existing ones so it shouldn't be too long before we start to see better times for both Peugeot and Citroën. The appearance of the Wild Rubis concept on the Citroën stand was probably more about reinforcing the message of premium pricing than a suggestion that the future DSX7 (or will it be called DS7x?) will be sold in Europe. This big crossover debuted at the Shanghai show in April and it will be manufactured in Shenzhen by the CAPSA joint venture from 2015.

The Citroën Cactus I am still trying to work out. We all know just how hot the C crossover segment is. But why launch another model when the C4 Aircross is already present? Or does the appearance of the Cactus mean that the supply deal from Mitsubishi Motors for the Aircross and Peugeot 4008 is soon to be wound up? Those two are made in Japan alongside the ASX original so perhaps PSA now feels it is time to go its own way with family sized crossovers? The buzz was that the Cactus will enter production alongside the C4 at Villaverde in Spain from the second quarter of 2014.

As for Peugeot, the 3008 drew praise for its lightness and good looks, and the interior themes set by the 208, such as the small steering wheel and general roominess, continue here. Expect a sedan next year, though not necessarily for Europe. The 508 is now three and so should by rights have had a facelift but PSA seems to be extending model cycles - the 3008 and 5008 were launched in 2009 and they each have only just had a styling update. Another car that at one stage had been due for a launch at the IAA was the 108 but it, as well as the C1 and Toyota Aygo successors won't now appear until 2014. The PCA plant at Kolin in the Czech Republic should start making all three from the second quarter of next year.

Toyota didn't have anything too surprising on its stand. It would have been nice to report that the GT-86 hybrid and convertible had appeared but they didn't. Let's see what November's LA and Tokyo shows bring. I am still hearing that the fourth generation Avensis has been delayed until 2015, meaning the current model will be a very un-Toyota-like seven years old when it goes out of production. The replacement model will use TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) and diesel power will be courtesy of BMW Group 1.6- and 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines.

The Nissan X-Trail unveiling was a strange affair. I am going to take a guess that the Qashqai isn't quite ready and has been pushed back to a Geneva debut in six months' time - this would have been the more logical vehicle for Nissan Motor Europe to reveal - and the fact that Nissan North America will soon start selling the new Rogue, the X-Trail's twin, more or less forced NME's hand. There was no information about X-Trail engines or transmissions from Nissan Europe, nor was there a statement about where our model will be manufactured. By contrast, NNA's media release was emailed out on the first press day of the IAA and contained powertrain details. We already knew it will be built at Smyrna in Tennessee and it goes on sale in NAFTA markets in two months' time. Nissan Europe's X-Trail won't be with dealers for another 10 months.

Opel is making good progress in improving its fortunes across Europe and the facelifted Insignia should give that model a lift in Germany (our very own Mr Roberts is driving it right now at the media launch so expect his report very soon), while the Vauxhall-badged version will undoubtedly extend the model's segment leadership.

The Adam isn't too visible on Germany's roads, at least in the western and central parts where I found myself for most of last week, and you don't see too many of them in the UK either. But sales are reportedly good in Italy, the Netherlands and France, and the new 1.0-litre engine and six-speed manual gearbox should help matters. No news on a potential cabrio, diesel engine or automatic transmission though - three things which will continue to hold this model back against the Mini and DS3 as well as the pricier versions of the 500. And why hasn't Opel rushed the Rocks concept into production? The fact that there was no evolution of it at the IAA likely means it was just a headline generator for Geneva six months ago - what a shame; it could have invented its own segment but some other brand will now no doubt do exactly that.

I should also mention that there were noises at Frankfurt about the Opel Cascada being presently adapted for an eventual launch in the US as a Buick. Will this happen? The car is really good, but sadly, I saw just one during my time in Germany and only a handful in England since it went on sale earlier this year.

Next up Renault. The media days saw the appearance of six concept cars, five of which had been seen before, with the new one a preview of the Espace replacement. The X-Trail was the first production vehicle for the Alliance's CMF architecture and the Initiale Paris was Renault's first concept to use it. This purple people carrier is claimed to be 250kg lighter than the Espace. A toned down version of it will be made alongside the next Laguna at Douai in France from 2015. That means the Espace will be an astonishing thirteen years old when it finally goes out of production at Sandouville in Haute-Normandie.

The Espace/Grand Espace successor(s) won't be the first vehicle(s) to sport Renault's premium priced Initiale Paris model grade. That honour will go to the existing Clio in late 2014, making it an aspirational rival for the Audi A1 Sportback.

Daimler used the IAA to show a preview of a four-seater smart but the production model which is being twinned with the next Twingo will not be seen until late 2014, some six months after the arrival of the third generation fortwo. It has also all gone very quiet on the topic of plug-in smarts and Twingos. Let's see what Geneva brings but we already know what the Twingo 3 will look like - the strangely named Twin'Run was revealed during the practice days of this past May's Monaco Grand Prix. Incidentally, I am supposed to be talking about smart and Mercedes-Benz but I learned something at Frankfurt which is related to the plant which will make the smart forfour and next Twingo. Revoz, at Novo Mesto in Slovenia, has just ceased building the Renault Wind after only three years of production. Sales were meagre so don't expect to see another B segment roadster with Renault badges for a long time.

I talked about the various IAA global debuts from Mercedes-Benz in my preview briefing but I want to mention the GLA-Class now that I have sat in it. The interior is as good as that in the A-, B- and CLA-Class models but like those models, the rear compartment is tight for headroom and legroom. I liked the S-Class Coupé - the design team has done well to disguise how big a car it is. The marketing department has been clever to ditch the CL-Class model name. Why do I say that? Well, in the years after 2017 when the S-Class reaches mid-life and starts to risk being outsold by the next Lexus LS, Mercedes-Benz should still be able to say the model series is the world's best selling luxury car, thanks to multiple body styles.

I want to have something to say about Chevrolet, Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Suzuki and Volvo but the reasons I haven't are either because the relevant models were discussed in the preview or in other cases, there wasn't anything much at Frankfurt to talk about. Do run your eye down the final list of world premieres below to see any vehicles it might seem I have neglected - in many cases there will be a just-auto.com news story link to click on.

All of that leaves three companies. Changan was the sole China-based manufacturer at the IAA. Its stand was hard to get to, up several poorly signposted escalators but I am glad I persisted and found the entrance. Directly opposite was what I can only describe as the rather sad and extremely small Mitsubishi Motors display. The Outlander PHEV was there, as were several examples of the otherwise rarely seen i plug-in car but can you imagine that the Space Star (Mirage in many countries) was not on display?

I stood listening to an engineer from Changan for a good 15 minutes or so and kept glancing over to see if any journalist had wandered onto the MMC stand. Few did, but then why would they when there was nothing new to see? The brand is doing really well in the UK but that Frankfurt show stand shocked me - how did Mitsubishi Motors Europe, which really needs a sales lift and at last has some new models to promote, allow itself to be pushed into such a hidden away place?

As for Changan, the engineer I spoke to was reluctant to be quoted but the moment I put my pen down and my dictaphone away, he opened up. The CS75, a big SUV and a world premiere, was developed by Giugiaro. A production model is supposedly not too far off. Call it first half of 2014. I learned that the EADO models are a contraction of EAsy DOing but I'm still unclear as to what this is supposed to signify - easy to drive for first time buyers perhaps? Chery and BYD are the brand's targeted rivals at home and what about sales in Germany, other European markets or the US? Maybe, I was told, in the medium term. But the stand at the IAA was mostly about showing German and other European journalists that Changan is serious about a future global expansion but it won't launch cars in Europe until it has highly competitive products - it already has R&D centres in Turin and Nottingham, plus two others in Yokohama and Detroit.

If one of the biggest question marks over the European region remains when the Chinese will enter in a serious way, the other has to be which, if any manufacturer can convince Germans to start buying alternative energy vehicles in anything but small volumes. A recharging infrastructure for EVs and PHEVs is still in its infancy in most EU markets, but as the examples of the Netherlands and Norway show, a critical mass is on its way to being reached in some countries. Yet the question remains - where do people who live in apartments plug in? For now, the answer is at the office or airport or shopping centre or supermarket carpark during the daytime.

BMW is the last brand to mention in this report and apart from the 4 Series and a preview of armoured versions of the new X5, its stand was all about plug-in vehicles. A PHEV version of the X5 was on display but the big news was the i3 and i8. There were two examples of the supercar but you weren't free to climb in and out as one was locked up on an island surrounded by a low glass fence and the other had its doors open but was equally frustratingly out of reach. Not so the i3 though; media shuttles scooted around the roads which connected all the halls but it was a bit awkward getting in and out of the back as to flip open the rear-hinged doors, you must first open the driver or passenger's door. The interior took me some getting used to - remember the shock the first time you sat in the original smart fortwo and noticed...how shall I say this...noticed that it didn't have quite the same feel and look to its plastics and fabrics and door panels as a Mercedes-Benz?

I spoke to the board member for Manufacturing and he wouldn't tell me how many i3s and i8s BMW is geared up to build at its Leipzig plant but my own sources say it's a combined 40,000 units. The production story itself is fascinating, with workers and robots using glue to bond parts, some of which are pre-coloured body panels - there's no need for a press shop or a paint shop. Yet even that is only half of the story. Cast your mind back to 2009 and the experimental Mini-E. It ran on a bank of 5,088 cells similar to those which power laptops. The high-voltage battery in the BMW i3 instead consists of eight modules, each with 12 individual cells, which together produce a rated voltage of 360 volts and generate approximately 22kW/h of energy.

The i3's battery pack is mounted flat and weighs "approximately 230kg", BMW says. The base version of the car itself weighs an official 1,195kg thanks to carbon construction (these comparisons aren't terribly relevant but out of interest, VW quotes 1,139kg for the e-up! and a hefty 1,545kg for the e-Golf, neither of which is a similar size to the i3). I have just looked up some other figures in case they are of interest to some readers: VCC claimed the cells of the experimental C30 Electric weighed 280kg, and GM quotes 180kg for the Volt's battery pack. Is progress being made in the race to get the weight out of EV cells?

In the i3, acceleration from 0-100km/h is claimed to be just 7.2 seconds (7.9 if your car has been fitted with the optional two-cylinder petrol Range Extender engine), with the top speed limited to 150km/h "for efficiency reasons", according to the company.

For me, this little BMW was the car of the show - imagine a BMW stand where EVs, not high powered, combustion engined sports cars were the main attraction. The i8 might have been a bigger star but unlike its more affordable little brother, I couldn't sit in it so it's difficult to form a firm opinion of this plug-in supercar just yet. Others might nominate the Jaguar C-X17 as their favourite IAA debutante but as the production version of it is over two years away so its time is not yet here. I would say that the styling of the concept and the choice to paint it an attention grabbing electric blue was inspired.

The i3 might look like a design study but it isn't. The button to fire up the production line has been pushed and the first cars rolled out of the Leipzig plant a fortnight ago. Deliveries commence in November and a few months after that, we will finally know the answer to this question - what if a premium brand launched an electric car at under EUR35,000 (the range extender is a EUR4,500 option). By the time the next big European show, Geneva, comes around in March, we should all know if the BMW Born Electric experiment has been a success.

You can find detailed information on cars which made their global debuts at the IAA in just-auto's proprietary Production Life Database. PLDB contains an extensive number of codenames for future combustion engined models as well as EVs, and it lists expected launch dates for such models. PLDB is updated daily and can be rapidly searched for details of over 1,500 current and future global vehicles, from 187 makes/brands and 99 vehicle groups.

IAA 2013 world premieres:

Alfa Romeo Giulietta facelift: dark headlights standardised, new 110kW 2.0 diesel

Alfa Romeo MiTo facelift: new grille, also gains 105HP 875cc TwinAir petrol engine

Audi A3 Cabriolet: switches to MQB platform, retains a fabric roof

Audi A3 1.6 TDI ultra: first car for 'ultra' (low emissions epithet), 3.2l/100km

Audi A8, hybrid & S8 facelifts: mid-life updates to face challenge of new S-Class

Audi nanuk quattro concept: Giugiaro designed V10 TDI crossover supercar

Audi Sport quattro concept: PHEV powertrain with 700PS biturbo V8 & 800Nm

Bentley Continental V8 S: new coupe and convertible variants, 521bhp turbo V8

BMW 4 Series coupe: replacement for the two-door 3 Series, on sale from October

BMW 5 Series, GT & M5 facelifts: on sale since July, this is their motor show debut

BMW Concept X5 eDrive: prototype of a PHEV, TwinPower I4 + one electric motor

BMW Concept X5 Security & Concept X5 Security Plus: future armoured models

BMW i3: production model, EV powertrain, optional (petrol) range extender

BMW i8: PHEV supercar, production to begin at Leipzig plant in 2014

BMW X5: four-cylinder (diesel) power a novelty for the third generation of this SUV

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse Legend Edition: three cars will be made

Caterham Seven 165: €25,000, on sale in Jan, 80hp Suzuki K6A 660cc engine

Changan CS75: prototype of a new SUV due for launch in China in late 2013

Chevrolet Camaro convertible facelift: only the coupe debuted at NY show in Mar

Chevrolet Cruze: new 81kW/110hp (99g/km) version of existing 1.7-litre diesel

Chevrolet Orlando facelift: minor update was announced in South Korea in July

Chevrolet Trax front-wheel drive 1.4 petrol turbo: new variant, on sale from Oct

Citroën Cactus concept: four-door crossover, bubblewrap-like bumpers & on doors

Citroën C-Elysée WTCC: 380bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engine from DS3 WRC

Citroën Grand C4 Picasso: seven seats, wheelbase extended by 11cm to 2.84m

Dacia Duster facelift: Romania-made model only, UK and Ireland's car unchanged

Ferrari 458 Speciale: 445kW/605hp 4.5-litre V8, 0-100km/h in 3.0 seconds

Fiat 500: 105HP 875cc TwinAir two-cylinder petrol engine is new for the 500

Fiat 500L Living: motor show debut for this Serbian-made 5+2 MPV

Fiat 500L, 500L Trekking & 500L Living/MPW: 1.6 MultiJet II 120HP diesel engine

Fiat 500L, 500L Trekking & 500L Living/MPW: 1.4 T-Jet 120HP petrol engine

Fiat Fremont Black Code: new top trim level, unique grille and 19" alloys

Ford 99g/km Focus: specially calibrated 100PS 1.0 EcoBoost, on sale in early 2014

Ford Mondeo Hybrid: Europe's version of the US and Canada's Fusion Hybrid

Ford S-MAX concept: preview of project C539, to be built in Valencia from 2014

Ford Mondeo Vignale sedan & wagon: top-spec model grade from early 2015

Honda Civic five-door facelift: its debut was at the last IAA in September 2011

Honda Civic Tourer: production version of wagon concept from the Geneva show

Hyundai i10: project BA, has just entered production in Turkey and India

Infiniti Q30 concept: preview of Daimler MFA architecture model due in 2015

Jaguar C-X17 concept: preview of 'XQ' (X761) crossover due in early 2016

Jaguar XJ '2014 model year': revised rear suspension for LWB, updated interior

Kia KED-10 Niro concept: designed in Europe, likely preview of a B segment SUV

Kia Optima diesel facelift: petrol variants premiered at New York show in March

Kia Picanto LPG: 49kW/67hp 1.0-litre bifuel model for DE, IT, NL, PL, PT, & GR

Kia Soul diesel: petrol engined version premiered at the New York show in March

Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse: 570hp (419kW) V10, loses 70kg

Lancia Delta 2014MY: refreshed interior, side skirts & body-coloured bumpers

Lancia Voyager S: black grille & tinted headlight backs, same as Chrysler T&C S

Land Rover Discovery (no longer '4') facelift: second update for this nine-year old

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque: new 'Active Driveline' 4WD and ZF 9-speed auto

Land Rover Range Rover Hybrid: TDV6 diesel + one motor, 340PS peak power

Land Rover Range Rover Sport Hybrid: same powertrain as RR Hybrid, 169g/km

Lexus LF-NX concept: arrestingly styled preview of a future Audi Q5 hybrid rival

Maserati Quattroporte 3.0 diesel: 250hp & 275hp versions of a VM-supplied V6

Mazda3: public debut for the five-door hatchback, on sale globally from October

Mercedes-Benz 9G-TRONIC: Daimler's nine-speed auto debuts in E 350 BlueTEC

Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Racing Series: customer motorsport prototype

Mercedes-Benz Concept S-Class Coupé: previews C217, will replace C216 CL-Class

Mercedes-Benz E 200 NGD: 115kW 2.0-litre natural gas engine

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class: to be built in Rastatt, and likely by BBAC in Beijing too

Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG, S 63 AMG L & 4MATIC: 430kW/585hp 5,461cc turbo V8

Mercedes-Benz S 500 PHEV: evolved from a prototype which debuted at 2009 IAA

MG: did not attend as European markets launch not yet extended to Germany

Nissan X-Trail: was also the global debut of Renault-Nissan's CMF architecture

Opel 1.0 SIDI Turbo: 85kW/115hp three-cyl petrol engine, Adam will be first model

Opel Cascada: 147kW/200hp 1.6 SIDI Turbo petrol engine, sales commence in Oct

Opel Insignia Country Tourer: high-riding and high-priced rival for Passat Alltrack

Opel Insignia facelift: should last until its E2XX platform successor appears in 2016

Opel Monza concept: previews new styling direction for Opel/Vauxhall

Peugeot 208 HYbrid FE concept: lightweight tech, updated since its Geneva debut

Peugeot 308: claimed 140kg weight saving, EMP2 platform, 9.7-inch touch screen

Peugeot 308 R concept: two-tone black and red paint, lowered suspension

Peugeot 3008 facelift: mid-life update but still no PHEV version of 3008 HYbrid4

Peugeot 5008 facelift: first update since its debut at the 2009 Frankfurt show

Porsche 911 50th Anniversary: wide body, 1,963 cars, EUR121,119 in Germany

Porsche 911 Turbo: 383kW (520HP) 3.8, seven-speed PDK, PTM all-wheel drive

Porsche 911 Turbo S: 412kW (560hp) 3.8, EUR195,256 in Germany, on sale now

Porsche 918 Spyder: production starts on 18th September, 918 cars to be built

Porsche Panamera Diesel facelift: power is also up by 47bhp to 296bhp

Renault Initiale Paris concept: big crossover, likely to preview the next Espace

Renault Laguna facelift: already on sale, but this was its motor show debut

Renault Latitude (Safrane in some markets) facelift: updated Samsung SM5 twin

Renault Mégane facelift: hatchback, estate and coupé but not coupé-cabriolet

Rolls-Royce Celestial Phantom concept: special paint, rims & fibre optic headliner

SEAT León Ecomotive: low emissions (87g/km) for all three body styles

SEAT León ST: the third bodystyle and the first wagon in this model's history

SEAT León TGI: runs on CNG or petrol, to be sold in selected European markets

Škoda Octavia Greenline: emits 87g/km of CO2, 81kW 1.6 TDI

Škoda Rapid Spaceback: shorter than hatchback, boot volume drops by 135 litres

Škoda Yeti facelift: new grille & headlights, first Škoda to have a reversing camera

Škoda Yeti Outdoor: additional variant, silver mirrors & black lower body cladding

smart fourjoy concept: previews the proportions of the four-seater due in late '14

Suzuki iV-4 concept: preview of a B segment SUV, XA project, due in 2015

Suzuki Swift facelift: five-door Sport is new as is AWD for Hungarian-made model

Toyota fuel cell vehicle: updated version of 2011 Tokyo show's FCV-R concept

Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R concept: 1.6 Global Race Engine and two electric motors

Volkswagen Caddy Bluemotion: 4.5l/100km and CO2 emissions of 117g/km

Volkswagen e-Golf: five-door body style, 85kW/115PS electric motor, a pure EV

Volkswagen e-load up! concept: blocked out windows for this van version of e-up!

Volkswagen Golf R: 300PS 2.0T, AWD, six-speed manual or DSG, 3 or 5 doors

Volkswagen Golf TDI BlueMotion: 85g/km, 1,500km claimed range, 81kW 1.6

Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan concept: preview of Golf Plus successor due in 2014

Volvo Concept Coupé: first of three SPA architecture design studies

Volvo DRIVE-E engines: I4 petrol & diesel in S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 & S80

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