It was back in 2005 that I visited the ‘Salon International de l’Auto’. It’s a well-known and very large car show which is often chosen by car manufacturers to present their latest model(s). This year Aston Martin decided this was the place to unveil their new car and, of course, I couldn’t miss that. So, instead of heading to Barcelona for Formula One testing, I flew to Geneva.
Something I had noticed through the years is that all three car shows I visited it somewhat regularly – Geneva, Frankfurt and Amsterdam – the way cars were presented/unveiled and promoted was getting less extravagant. Of course this was most noticeable near the credit crunch.
Now it seems things are picking up again. I’ve not seen any repeated shows to present a new car model, but I have seen dancing girls, more brochures being handed out (as opposed to the emails you can get, and only for one model, mind you!) and the stands looking generally better fitted out.
It was also extremely busy, however I don’t think that that ever changed much, especially on a Saturday.
My main focus and reason for visiting was the new Aston Martin, but I’ll get to that later.
When visiting any car show I have a tendency to visit any brand I’m interested in first and spend time just browsing if I have any time (or energy) left. I also like to have a look at the prototypes and I was surprised to see how few there are nowadays. The Peugeot Fractal stood out, though.
© All Rights Reserved
© All Rights Reserved
I am not sure I’d ever want to buy one, but the styling is definitely different. I certainly hope Peugeot are on to something here, because I find their cars consistently boring when it comes to styling. About a decade ago I loved visiting their stand, because the cars were an absolute joy to look at. It would be nice to see them returning to the same styling standard.
I can’t say anything about the driving experience, because I have never owned or driven a Peugeot.
The Audi stand was so busy you could barely see the cars. Of course this is a good sign for Audi, but it’s not good from a photographer’s perspective. Unfortunately for me there was also no A7. I would have loved to sit in one, just to see what that’s like. I absolutely love the styling of it and I’ve had a soft spot for Audi for a very long time (thank you, original Quattro!). I guess I will just have to plan my next track day and make sure I get to drive an R8. To be continued…
Another car I have a huge soft spot for (and trust me, it needs to be a huge spot!) is the Toyota Hilux.
No, it’s not a very pretty car and yes, it is very big indeed. I think that’s probably it. I do like large(r) cars and this one takes the biscuit. I know there are bigger – and usually American – cars out there, but I like the styling of the Hilux. It’s a good looking beast, it IS a beast and, depending on what type you pick, it can be very practical. I sat in the one on the photo above and the view is also not bad at all. It’s certainly a vantage point over all cars around you.
Now if only they’d sell these at a price that falls within my budget.
One of the other stands I visited was McLaren. My friend had not yet seen the 650 ‘in the flesh’. It gave me a chance to have a good look at the 675LT. That is not an ugly car at all.
There were quite a few stands I visited, but my main focus was on Aston Martin. It’s where my day started and I spent about 20% of my total visiting time there.
On the Tuesday (1 March) I had watched the unveiling of the DB11 live. It made me very happy I had decided to skip F1 testing and go to Geneva instead. What a car!
For a long time my favourite Aston Martin was the DB4. It’s the original, the one the other DBs took their looks from. Yesterday that title was stolen and it is now held by the DB11. To be honest, I have no words to describe this car. I love it. It’s as simple as that.
This is the way Aston Martin is heading. I cannot wait to see what they come up with next.
But let’s for just a moment go back to the main topic: the car show itself.
Yes, it was busy and yes, it was warm. That is to be expected at a big, international car show. The quality of the stands is definitely improving again. The public seemed to enjoy themselves. There were a lot of interactive elements at many of the stands. So there is not just a lot to see, there is also more to do. The brochures and bags are making a comeback. Let’s see if the balloons, stickers and caps will follow.
The atmosphere was good. It’s time to start visiting more car shows again.