Continental Corp
GENEVA FINDS ITS NICHE

Perhaps it’s because the town is known more for watches than vehicles that the Geneva Motor Show becomes the home for manufacturers not known to have a visible presence.

Perhaps it’s because the town is known more for watches than vehicles that the Geneva Motor Show becomes the home for manufacturers not known to have a visible presence. At the ’06 show, there were a number of these small players. Some even had innovative products. Among them:

  • KOENIGSEGG: Based in Ängelholm, Sweden, the company unveiled the CCX, which stands for “Competition Coupe X,” although it is meant to be a road car; the carbon fiber and Kevlar-bodied coupe was designed and engineered to meet U.S. regulatory requirements. Powered by an all-aluminum 4.7-liter, 806-hp V8 the company engineered and produces, it is mated to a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox developed by Cima and topped by an engine cover with a viewing hole that allows you to see the motor. What will this car, which is said to have a 0-62 mph time of 3.2 seconds, put you back? $600,910. (The company asks for a down payment of 25%—more than $150,000—before they’ll build you one.) 
  • CASTAGNA: This Milan-based coachbuilder, resurrected in 1995 by architect Cioacchio Acampora after a 40-year hiatus, debuted its Imperial Landaulet, a modern interpretation of the grand motorcars of the ‘20s and ‘30s. Measuring 16.7 feet long (slightly longer than a Rolls-Royce Phantom), it’s described as “something between a coupe and an MPV [multi-purpose vehicle],” with all-wheel-drive and an 800-hp 4.5-liter V8 engine. Styling is claimed to be reminiscent of a mid-‘20s Isotta Fraschini, complete with exaggerated wheel arches and long hood design cues, though the front and rear bumpers are constructed from a more modern material, carbon fiber. Acampora says pricing will be determined by the customer, depending on the features chosen.
  • SPYKER: This Netherlands-based manufacturer showed its D12 Peking-to-Paris performance SUV for the ultra-rich. It’s built on an all-aluminum chassis; it comes complete with four-wheel drive, carbon ceramic brakes, Koni FSD shocks, and power from Volkswagen’s 6-liter W12 engine mated to a six-speed F1-style paddle shift transmission. This 4,079-lb. machine reportedly moves from 0-60 mph in 5 seconds. The vehicle features a B-pillarless design with suicide doors, wide front grille, stacked taillamps, quad tip exhaust and 24-in. wheels. The interior includes a triple pod instrument panel with cues from art deco-era aircraft cockpits, complete with diamond-pattern brushed aluminum trim. It starts at $290,000. Spkyer plans to begin commissioned builds of the D12 later this year.
  • TRAMONTANA: This Spanish-based firm showed a V-12 bi-turbo 2-seat roadster producing more than 500 hp that is somewhat reminiscent of Ford’s IndyGo concept. The Tramontana comes complete with exotic leather and gold accents on the interior and a body that takes its styling cues from F1 racecars and jet fighters. It was designed by Josep Rubau, who created the concept after designing the Miura concept motorcycle and the New Beetle DUNE 4X4 during his short tenure at Volkswagen. Tramontana plans to build only 3 copies of its roadster this year, with output growing to 12 units annually by 2008 at a starting price $735,500.

Of course, the Geneva show also had some of the more recognized players in attendance:

  • PEUGEOT: The French automaker debuted its new 207 along with the 307 CC HybrideHDi concept—a 307-based coupe/cabriolet powered by a 1.6-liter diesel engine mated to a 22 kW hybrid electric powertrain system. Peugeot claims the diesel/hybrid configuration reduces fuel consumption by 25% compared to a gasoline/hybrid system.
  • ALFA ROMEO: Debuted its long-awaited Spider, which is based off the GM Epsilon vehicle architecture it shares with the Brera and 159. The 2-seat soft top could be the first in a series of models destined for the U.S., although Alfa insiders say the brand will need to devise a higher volume mid-size sedan, larger than the 159, for the U.S. market before the brand will return.
  • SAAB: GM’s Swedish brand has only produced a handful of concept cars in its history, making its new Aero X sports car concept all the more important. With its front-opening glass canopy, the Aero X is space-aged, but only the styling of the front and rear fascia are likely to appear in future Saab models.
  • FORD OF EUROPE: Ford debuted the first production vehicles to feature its Europe-only “kinetic design” theme—the S-Max MPV and Focus Coupe/Cabriolet. Built on Ford’s acclaimed C1 platform, the S-Max features a versatile interior, along with a range of diesel and gasoline powertrains. The Focus Coupe/Cabriolet has a 2-piece hardtop roof system with space for four adults and marks the first European Ford model to feature a power folding top.—KMK