Created with IMS Web Dwarf from Virtual Mechanics Inc.
Issue 16
8 - 21 March 2002
Dipping into the cheesy fondue of motoring every fortnight
The Geneva Motor Show is one of Europe's most Swiss motoring events. To get all the latest developments from the place that isn't the capital of Switzerland even though a lot of people think it is, we dispatched our old friend ROY LANCHESTER, motoring correspondent for the Harrogate Evening Weasel, armed only with a camera, a notebook and probably some sort of pen. Here's his Motor Show diary.
08:30 Ford
An early journalist catches the worm. Or rather, the buffet. There were, thankfully, no worms on my plate as I made my way around the Ford area and was astounded to spot the elusive Focus RS, brazen as you like at the edge of the stand. Unfortunately I was momentarily distracted by some sandwiches and when I turned back the car had gone. "Focus what?" said a mysterious Blue Oval spokesman I approached. "Never heard of it�Oh look! David Hasslehoff!"
RS vanishes (left). Roy relaxes (above)
Of more relevance, if only because it's scheduled on sale date is sometime before 2024, was the Ford Fusion. "We've got high hopes for this car," one insider confided to me as he helped me to open a jar of mustard. "We realised there was a whole untapped niche out there for people who wanted a slightly taller Fiesta with a different name. We're confident that this will be the car for them." However, I also noted an interesting development for Fiesta fans; a car stuffed full of pillows. Now I'm all for a nice relaxing nap but I can't help thinking that this is highly dangerous, even in a competant modern hatchback such as this. I challenged a Ford representative to explain this foolish development but I had my mouth full at the time and I don't think he could understand me.

Above (l to r): Ford Fusion. Like a Fiesta but slightly taller; new Fiesta stuffed full of pillows; Lanchester writes some copy
09:00 Mazda
With no time to lose I 'zoom-zoomed' on to Mazda. Ha. I couldn't help but notice that the Ford-owned Japanese concern is really cooking, although only some pitta bread sandwiches. This was a real shame. Bland and entirely unappealing, I wondered why they were bothering. The sandwich was rather disappointing too.
An sandwich
An 2
Half a 6. A 3, or something

09:20 Citroen / Peugeot / Fiat
Over to Citroen to see the new C8 MPV. Along with the closely related Peugeot 807 and Fiat Unpronouncable, this is a new entry in the never-popular large MPV segment. I have to say that, although I admired the two-tone paint treatment and prominent Double Chevron badging on the display car, I can't help thinking that drivers will experience great visibility problems which will have to be cracked before the car goes on sale soon. Some commentators have unkindly noted that these large, square-looking cars are rather like wheeled Portaloos. I've always refuted this but I had to smile when my previous consumption of six cups of coffee, coupled with the frankly inadequate toilet facilities at the Palexpo exhibition centre, forced me to relieve myself in the voluminous, plastic lined dashboard cubby of an 807 on display. I was going to go in one of the ornamental fountains but a typically rude French gentleman seemed ludicrously opposed to the idea.

C8: "visibility problems"
The other big fuss on the Peugeot stand was created by the RC concept cars. One is red and one is black. They also have special engines and things. "The RC concepts continue a proud Peugeot tradition," said their spokesman. "This is just the latest in a long line of attractive Peugeot show cars that we will tart about for a few months and then lock in a shed to stop anyone even thinking about building them. Ha! C'est tres frustrating, n'est pas?"
Of less annoyance were the
206 and 307 SW estate models. If you like the Vauxhall Zafira but wish that its seating layout wasn't so convenient and versatile then I think the seven seater 307 could be for you.

A black Peugeot RC
Oooh look, a red one
307SW: the slightly less good Zafira
10:00 BMW
There are certain things one can always rely on BMW to provide, and a beer at this time in the morning is one of them. Cheers. Suitably refreshed, I tried to locate the new CS1 concept car only to find that some clot had simply cut down an old NSU Prinz and stuck it where this exciting new design should have been. I was so disgusted I had to return to the bar area for another couple of liveners before taking one more glance at the spot where the CS1 should have been. Approaching from another angle I was even more horrifed to find that now someone had simply placed a big pile of shite on the upper deck of the show stand. Come on Mr Bangle, where was the supposedly sexy CS1? Only four people in the world claim to like the new 7-series, and one of them is your wife, so you need some evidence of your design abilities, and sharpish!

Moving on to Mercedes I spied the surprisingly retro Maybach. Admiring its distinctive flowing wings I asked a Mercedes spokesman for more details. "You are looking at the wrong car, " he said rudely. "You are clearly drunk." Moving swiftly on, I spied the splendid Bugatti Veyron supercar. Although this car has been seen before, it seems to gain more horsepower with every show appearance. My sources say that, at the current rate of progress, the car will have over a 100,000bhp by the time it is launched, leaving no horsepower left in the world for other cars. Or horses. In search of a place to sit down and perhaps have a snack I passed a brand new innovation from Kia - an invisible car. Sadly the brave new model, likely to be called the Kia Disappear, doesn't have an on sale date as yet and it could be some time coming yet. "Development has been delayed," admitted a spokesman. "Mainly because we keep losing the prototypes. Hopefully we'll be able to work out where they are when it snows or something. Of course, this is not such a radical move for us," he continued. "No one notices any of our current range either."
Maybach: "surprisingly retro"
Bugatti: 100,000bhp
Kia announced invisible car
12:30 Rover
Time for the home team to show everyone how it's done as Rover unveiled its TCV concept car. I asked designer Steven Peters why he had abandoned Rover's usual retro style: "Actually the TCV is retro," he countered. "We're harking back to the halcyon days of 1999 - the golden era of those General Motors concept cars. I designed the McLaren F1 you know," he added hopefully. Moving away from the TCV I momentarily thought that my previous evening spent in Le Salon D'absinthe was coming back to haunt me. Fortunately it wasn't me that was having a horrific vomit inducing vision but designer William Matthewson who has re-trimmed a Rover 25 to look like Liberace's bathroom. I can exclusively reveal that in return Rover's Steven Peters will get to design some shoes. Unfortunately the shoes in question already exist so the British designer will have to use a limited budget to make his changes. "I'll probably lower them a bit," the moustachioed pencilman admitted, "and perhaps add some more aggressive plastic welts to improve the stance. I don't want you to be able to pick the badges off and see Jimmy Choo underneath," he concluded, familiarly.

Remember those GM concepts from a couple of years ago? So does Rover
13:30 Skoda
An unexpected announcement at the Geneva Show was Skoda's decision not to serve fine Czech lager throughout the day. They also showed a coupe concept based on the new Superb saloon. Called the Tudor, the new car is unlikely for production but if it were to be made my sources suggest it would be available with an attractive Barratt home-style black and white paint job. In the meantime, Skoda salesmen will be capitalising on the interest this car generates with a new welcoming salvo to customers entering their premises: "Have you been to a Skoda showroom before?"

The Tudor. It's an anagram of 'turdo'. Whereas 'Britney Spears' is an anagram of 'Presbyterians'

After a hearty lunch on the Nissan, Audi, Toyota, Opel, SAAB and Citroen stands I concluded my tour of the show. I couldn't resist a look at the Tata Indica which may one day be sold in the UK by MG-Rover. "We searched long and hard to find the right people to co-operate with," noted a spokesman for the British firm. "Only Tata with their Indica offered a car that was sufficiently cramped, tinny and dated to provide a suitable successor to the Metro."
Moving on to
Volvo I noticed the radical new XC90 which appears to have no sides. I asked chief test driver Sven Theboatcomesin about this feature. "Brrrr," he said.
Finally, I couldn't resist a peek at
VW's impressive executive saloon, the Phaeton. "We will never take customers from Mercedes or BMW with this car," admitted Volkswagen important person-elect, Bernard Thingy. "In fact we will never take any customers. We don't want you to buy this car. Stop touching it. You wouldn't like it even if you tried it. Stop looking at it. It's horrible, honestly. We don't want you to like it. Actually,I've changed my mind. It's not for sale. And it smells of poo," the bearded ex-BMW man insisted. "Are you drunk?" he added.

Indica: has Maestro stalks. No, really
XC90: that'll be a bit cold won't it?
Phaeton: they're just showing off
With most of the show covered I retired to the handsome new Renault Espace concept for a nap. However, one car conspicuous by its absense was the Porsche Cayenne. Fortunately, using a picture of a Fiat Stilo five door, a 911 and a bit of computer trickery, Sniff Petrol has managed to give you an accurate depiction of what it looks like (right). Awful, basically.
And finally, if the room service person at The Hotel Muesli is reading this, can I just re-iterate that your television remote controls are very confusing. As I said at the time, I was looking for the news on BBC World, something I often do without my trousers on. I hope this will be the last of the matter.
Ulysse: "unpronouncable"
807: "I'd leave it five minutes"
� 2002. Sniff Petrol every fortnight. Next issue 22 March
Big thanks to:
Poo, Ladytron and especially Scott B & Alun P
[email protected]
Complaints about this issue being not very good to:
Roy Lanchester