Geneva motor show hits top gear

The new Bertone Concept Car was one of 80 premieres at the 77th Geneva International Motor Show Keystone

The 77th Geneva International Motor Show has come to a close, having attracted the second-largest number of visitors ever.

This content was published on March 18, 2007 - 20:01

The event featured more than 80 world and European vehicle premieres, including models from Russia and for the first time China.

The 730,736 visitors came from more than 100 countries and confirmed the international character of the event, according to organisers.

This year's motor show, which wrapped up on Sunday evening, was officially inaugurated by Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey on March 8.

Organisers, who had been hoping to attract 700,000 people, said on Sunday that a survey of more than 15,000 people during the first six days of the show revealed that 39 per cent of people eyeing up the goods came from abroad.

Another survey conducted among those behind the stalls showed that virtually all exhibitors were satisfied with the increased levels of buying interest shown by the public.

More than 80 world premieres were presented, and for the first time in its long history the Geneva International Motor Show played host to a Chinese manufacturer.

Brilliance, based in Shenyang, was aiming to use the annual event as a springboard for cracking the Swiss and European markets.

Green cars

In addition to new attractions from abroad, exhibitors were aware of the power of environmentally friendly products.

Last month the European Commission unveiled plans to force vehicle manufacturers to slash greenhouse gas emissions from new cars by almost a fifth within five years.

This year the big manufacturers were desperate to show off their green credentials.

Saab presented its BioPower 100 concept car that runs on pure bioethanol, Honda unveiled a hybrid sports car, while Volkswagen brought its Passat BlueMotion.

Toyota's futuristic Hybrid X concept car gave visitors an idea of the shape of things to come.

Rolf Studer, the motor show's general manager, told swissinfo that the development of new technologies was a major concern for car manufacturers in the face of global warming and tougher emission limits.

But the chances are that hybrid cars, which combine conventional fuel and electric motors, will end up on the shopping lists of a number of visitors.

"We know that every tenth visitor makes their decision here in Geneva which kind of car they will buy afterwards," said Studer.

"Exhibitors do not sell a lot of cars here but if we have 700,000 visitors, there are 70,000 decisions taken here at the show."

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The 77th Geneva motor show covers almost 77,000 square metres and includes over 250 exhibitors.
Around 700,000 visitors were expected – 40% come from abroad.
Over 80 world and European premieres took place in the vehicle sector alone.
It opened on March 8 and ran until March 18.

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