This year’s Geneva Salon will be remembered as being cancelled due to the coronavirus. What would we have seen? There was no stand-out star, although there were to be many important prototypes and production models making their world debuts. Please note that our preview was written before cancellation.
Unusually for Volkswagen the brand, all of this year’s big new launches are already known about. Only the ID.4 is yet to be seen, and rumour has it that it won’t be at Geneva, the electric crossover reportedly set for a world premiere in New York City in April. That leaves a couple of Golf derivatives – the new GTD and GTI – along with in all likelihood the new Caddy, which was recently shown to the media at a special event in Düsseldorf. The Arteon estate might also be revealed.
The mystery of the Touareg plug-in hybrid, meanwhile, is now solved: this variant was announced in November 2018 but no production model ever appeared. This will be the first Volkswagen PHEV to be badged as an R. Even though it will be displayed at the show, production won’t start until the second half of the year, VW says.
Other group brands will have some important premieres, such as the delayed and much needed successor for the Audi A3 Sportback. Word is, there won’t be replacements for the A3 or A3 Cabriolet though. The new A3 Sedan will be announced later in 2020.
SEAT has already revealed the new Leon to the media, and the same applies to the Cupra Leon but both will be on display to the public. There will be a true world debut from Cupra though: a production version of the Formentor concept.
Skoda will have a couple of premieres too, with the petrol-powered Octavia vRS becoming a PHEV, although it’s said that a replacement for the diesel vRS is also in the pipeline and due for release later in 2020.
Bentley has a concept called Bacalar, along with the Continental GT Mulliner Convertible. The new Flying Spur will also be on display and the V8 and V6 PHEV variants may be announced.
One brand which has in the past made quite a splash at the Geneva Salon has been suspiciously silent in the run-up to this year’s event. Might Bugatti have a show-stopping concept planned?
The second largest OEM in the greater European market will have only a minor presence at the Geneva Salon, DS being the sole Groupe PSA brand with a stand. The 9, a 5m long sedan which will likely be the French president’s next official ride, shares much with the extended wheelbase Peugeot 508L. It will probably be manufactured in the same Wuhan 2 plant too. Right-hand drive production is also planned, a spokesman has told just-auto.
Peugeot won’t be at the show but the prototype it revealed there a year ago will be announced soon. The 508 PSE (Peugeot Sport Engineered) packs the same 360PS from its 1.6-litre petrol turbo engine and two motors as the top-spec DS 9 E-Tense.
Groupe Renault had a terrible January sales-wise though that was mostly due to Dacia (-31% across Europe). The Romanian marque needs a replacement for the seven year old Sandero pronto, and also models and variants which help with the need to get the group’s CO2 average down to 95g/km. An electric Dacia is promised and this could be a rebadging of China’s Renault City K-ZE. All will be revealed on Geneva’s press preview day, the official statement being that the covers will be lifted on an electric ‘urban city car’.
Renault itself has some novelties for the show too, these also being either BEVs or PHEVs. Will the addition of the Megane E-Tech plug-in be enough to help this model range regain some sales momentum? Other than the Megane, the brand’s line-up is now one of the youngest in Europe so there shouldn’t be too much else launched in 2020, apart from a new Kangoo.
Hyundai Motor Group, which in January was ranked fourth largest by sales in the European region, will be showing a new Hyundai i20 as well as a mid-cycle facelift for the i30 and the Prophecy concept. Still no firm news on when Genesis will be launched though. As for Kia, the NQ4 Sportage is still about 9-10 months away, so the brand’s big news at Geneva is MQ4, the new Sorento.
BMW Group is continuing to build up interest in its future EVs, with a prototype of the i4 to be presented. The emphasis is also on PHEVs and that includes a 330e Touring, while the 3 Series diesel range is also being added to with the new M340 xDrive, to be available as both a sedan and an estate.
Mini looks as though it won’t have much in the way of fresh products this year, some sources now suggesting that the current main models won’t see replacements until late 2021 or even 2022. That would mean a very long life cycle for the F56 three-door, production of which began in November 2013.
As for Rolls-Royce, it may spring a surprise and reveal the new Ghost. Both standard wheelbase (RR21) and extended (RR22) are due on sale later in the year.
Thanks to the Corolla, Toyota is off to a good start in 2020, the Japanese firm’s Europe-wide combined sales being up by 10% in January. Lexus has been doing especially well, its deliveries surging by 29%. The C-HR, which has done so well straddling the B and C segments, can now be pitched against the likes of the T-Roc and 3008, as a pure B-SUV for the Toyota brand will soon be in production. As at the time of writing, this model’s name was not public knowledge but we do know that it will be manufactured at TMMF’s Onnaing plant near Valenciennes. The same factory will build the new Yaris, already revealed in Japan late last year.
FCA will reportedly be revealing a new electric Fiat 500 but as the brand only recently announced a mild hybrid powertrain for the existing 500, will the new shape car be sold alongside the existing one for a time? And what about the new Panda which some had thought was also due in 2020? We shall have to see what press day brings. The same applies to Alfa Romeo. The brand desperately needs new models as sales are in a state of collapse: a mere 3,395 in January for all of Europe. Whatever the world debut turns out to be – a GTA version of the Giulia and maybe of the Stelvio too – the resultant publicity should at least give the brand image a lift.
The smart brand is also in deep trouble after the decision to make it EV-only, January regional sales having dropped by a staggering 88 per cent to only 869 cars. Daimler has other, more pressing problems in the form of a festering diesel scandal to deal with, but at least Mercedes-Benz is doing very well. A facelift as well as a raft of new powertrains for the E-Class will be revealed at Geneva, and there will be multiple PHEV options too. The publicity machine has also been turning up the volume on the forthcoming EQA, the electric SUV which will be manufactured in France at the smart plant.
The biggest volume marque absent from the show is Ford, and the same applies to Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Tata, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo (but Polestar will show the Precept concept) and a few others.
Finally, Changan hasn’t given up on Europe, the world premiere of a dramatic looking crossover being scheduled to take place at the Geneva show. The model is called Uni-T and the sales launch for the Chinese market at least, is only months away.
The 2020 Geneva motor show world premieres list can be seen here. It will continue to be updated so check back for the latest news as well as a definitive list of all the global debuts once the curtain comes down on the media preview days.
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