Geneva Motor Show 2016's most prestigious reveals

Bugatti has unveiled the Chiron, the £2.4 million ($4.66 million) successor to the Veyron, ahead of the Geneva Motor Show.

On paper and to the casual eye, the car is faster, more powerful, and more beautiful than its chunkier predecessor. Bugatti head Wolfgang Durheimer said even he could barely believe the improvement.

"We asked ourselves, 'What do you do when you have already built the world's best super car?'" Durheimer said. "Bugatti had to take one further step. It's hard to believe we have delivered."

Chiron roars with a 1500-horsepower (1118kW) W16 engine pushed by a new, two-stage, turbo-boosting technology; it has 1600 newton meters of torque and a completely new chassis designed for improved rigidity and handling. Bugatti engineers said it comes with a unique linear power curve that will hit 100km/h in less than 2.5 seconds and 300km/h in just over 13 seconds. Top speed on the dashboard is listed at 500 km/h, though they hinted the car will go faster than that.

Durheimer is well known for his devout passion for auto racing and said he plans to use his "new monster" to attack the land speed record: "With Chiron, we will test the limits of physics," he said.

- Bloomberg

McLaren bullish on growth

McLaren Automotive, which only began building its range of luxury sports cars for general sale in 2010, could triple volumes to up to 5000 cars by 2022, its CEO said on Tuesday at the Geneva Motor Show.

The small luxury sports car manufacturer, which unveiled its 570 GT model at Geneva, has been ramping up production in recent years and built 1654 cars in 2015, with prices ranging from about £120,000 ($233,400) to more than 800,000 pounds.

But CEO Mike Flewitt said an increase in numbers will come from its widened range of seven models, with the new 570 GT being part of its plan to broaden the brand's appeal to new types of buyers, including more women.


"4000 (vehicles) is a very good business model for us. I actually think volume by 2022 will be more consistently around 4500 and I don't think it will go above 5000 cars," he said.

- Reuters

Rolling into younger markets

Rolls-Royce customers are getting younger, chief executive Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes says, as the luxury carmaker embraces YouTube and Instagram and prepares to replace its ageing flagship, the Phantom.

Since 2013, the BMW-owned British brand has introduced the Wraith Coupe, Ghost II limousine and now the Dawn convertible to appeal to customers who would rather take the wheel themselves than rely on a chauffeur.

Last month it announced - on Twitter - that the current Phantom, up to six metres long and selling for more than £300,000 ($583,000), would enter the last stages of production in 2016. The company is moving to all-aluminium architecture in every vehicle sold from early 2018.

"In 2009 the average age of our drivers was 55, now it is 45," Mueller-Oetvoes said in an interview on Tuesday at the Geneva Motor Show, adding that deliveries of the Dawn are due to start in the second quarter of this year.

Rolls has marketed the new cars via social media like Instagram, where it now boasts over a million followers. For the first time, the brand is emphasising outright performance rather than style and discretion, in a bid to attract customers who want sporty driving features.

- Reuters

Fiat in model offensive

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is embarking on its biggest expansion in Europe in at least a decade, as the Italian-American carmaker faces crunch time in a strategy to more than double profit by 2018.

After delaying investment in the region for years, chief executive Sergio Marchionne is going all-in at the Geneva International Motor Show this week with 10 new or refreshed models, ranging from the affordable Fiat Tipo to the upscale Maserati Levante sport utility vehicle.

Alfa Romeo is a particular focus with entry-level and performance variants of the new Giulia sedan, as well as refreshed styling and upgraded features on the Giulietta hatchback.

"There is much more to come, so prepare yourself for more unveilings," Marchionne told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday. "We are in good shape. I don't have any bad news to give you."

Marchionne will need the new cars - which includes the Fiat 124 Spider roadster, built in Japan in partnership with Mazda - to be immediate sales successes to overcome skepticism about his targets. The 2018 goals also include eliminating 5 billion euros in net industrial debt and generating a cash surplus of 4 billion euros. Amid the doubts, Fiat shares have tumbled 24 percent this year, making it the worst performing major automaker.

- Bloomberg

BMW, Toyota still want to make a car together

Toyota and BMW are still keen to develop a common sports car architecture but have yet to decide on a timeline for the project, a senior executive at the Japanese carmaker said on Monday ahead of the Geneva Motor Show.

BMW and Toyota have for some years been collaborating on fuel cell technology, lightweight components, and on possibly jointly developing the underpinnings of a sports car, which would spawn separate vehicles for each brand.

Toyota executive vice president Didier Leroy said all three projects were going very well and there was strong support for the sports car from both firms.

"On both sides we have strong motivation to make it successful, we want to make the car," Leroy said. "We know exactly which kind of body we want to do, we know exactly which kind of powertrain we want to use ... now we just have to decide by when we want to start this car."

- Reuters