The first week of March brought two things; the first tenuous signs – sun and slightly warmer daytime temperatures – we might soon be seeing Spring in our corner of this green and pleasant land plus the annual highlight of the Geneva show. After pausing only to write a preview, the just-auto team was off to join the media scrum in Switzerland. Leaving me behind to man the fort.

Geneva is a favourite with us and many other auto noters. Apart from securing accommodation, that is. With the automakers, etc, block-booking every hotel room anywhere in the city, the independent traveller must usually be content with something two time zones east along the lake. Like Montreux, which is not at all bad, and Swiss trains work. Some auto noters choose to bed down across the border in France (not very far; I believe you can even leave the airport on the French side). Day trippers simply book a plane or train ride to Geneva airport, exit the conveyance and turn left. Walk half a mile. Flash press pass. In. Simple. And it’s a compact show spread across just a few halls all closely linked to each other. No motorised assistance or pre-show fitness regime required, unlike the sprawling Messe that is Frankfurt. We like it.

Green was again the colour, as VW proclaimed, and some clever stuff got wheeled out. A hybrid Porsche here, a hybrid Ferrari (painted green) there. Can you hear Enzo (RIP) spinning quietly at about the same speed as the electric motor in his old firm’s newest creation? Even Proton is getting serious about hybrids. And plenty of production cars mere mortals can buy such as the Focus wagon (one body style per international show seems to be Ford’s rollout plan) or a new (and long overdue) full size VW MPV (minivan).

Honda’s CR-Z hybrid coupe made its European show debut. I can’t wait to see what the LA customisers do with that in time for the next SEMA show. Turbocharged I4 with drainpipe exhausts, traction motor from a locomotive, 0-60 in about two seconds?

Away from the halls, Ford’s US domestic sales soared in February and General Motors’ much respected ‘car czar’ Bob Lutz announced another retirement. We took a closer look at those recent anti-trust raids on suppliers. And we learned that Tata Motor’s new hire overseeing Jaguar and Land Rover is a curry fan.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts
Deputy/News Editor