Paris Motor Show: Crossover is King as the French Renaissance continues

So what did we learn from this year’s Paris show? Well, not a lot really.

Most manufacturers had chosen to reveal details of their offerings well in advance, a tactical move to ensure maximum coverage. But is it as exciting when you know what lurks under most of the satin sheets – and is the wow factor lost?

A number of OEMs, such as Land Rover with the Discovery Sport, used pre-show launches to win over the media and get their news out ahead of the game. It’s a sensible strategy when you consider the number of press releases vying for attention on press day one.

If there is one thing to take away from the show it’s that the rise of the crossover continues apace – a cursory glance at the debuts list sees the Fiat 500X, Lexus NX family, new Honda CR-V and Suzuki Vitara making three door hatchbacks look outdated and impractical. Headlineauto understands that yet another brand will be bringing a new segment-busting crossover to market soon, so watch this space…

France’s Big Three manufacturers are seemingly on a steady recovery course, however it was no surprise to find a political undertone to proceedings. Peugeot Brand Chief Maxime Picat used his presentation to request more action from the government to support French industry – and exports in particular, to enable them to compete fairly with the rest of Europe.

Meanwhile, Carlos Ghosn – who drew the largest crowd at the show as he unveiled the new Espace, confirmed that the scope of cooperation of Daimler and Renault-Nissan Alliance will continue to accelerate, with his belief that joint ventures are key to a profitable future – the new real-wheel drive platforms for Twingo and Smart are already testimony to this. In the current climate working on a new Crossover on a shared platform would probably be a good option.

For concepts, the French quarter didn’t disappoint, with Peugeot’s Quartz a real gem and the Exalt concept providing plenty of headlines – mainly all over the ‘Newspaper Wood’ interior finish. The hope is that they build on this – and the ONYX from 2012, to introduce some of this real cutting edge design flare into the range.

Citroen weren’t to be outdone, with the C1 Urban Ride and C4 Cactus AIRFLOW 2L concepts garnering plenty of column inches. The latter claims a scarcely believable 141mpg – presumably a result of a challenge set by the French government to produce such a vehicle. Wonder if that will ever get to put that to the test in the real world… DS also proved its credentials as an up-market standalone brand by presenting the simply Devine DS, showcasing the further potential for personalisation that has already helped them sell over half a million DSs in four years.

Back in the real world, the little and large stars of the show for many were the all-new Mazda MX-5 and Volvo XC90, with the medium-sized Jaguar XE sandwiched in between. The elegant Renault Espace makes an inevitable move in to Crossover territory, but sadly not on UK shores for the foreseeable future. BMW meanwhile continues to create its own niches with the X6 a rather surprise offering at the Parc des Expositions. With very little competition Lamborghini takes the honours in the supercar category for the Asterion. It was interesting to see classic Lambo lines rather juxtaposed with a forward-looking 910bhp hybrid powertrain.

So with another unique Paris show done and dusted, attended by media drawn from all over the globe, there appears to still be some mileage in the traditional motor show format. As the British automotive industry keeps growing the question remains: could the UK sustain its own flagship industry show again?

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headlineauto is a specialised online resource for journalists and PRs, bringing automotive industry specific press information and data to the UK's media.

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