The rubbery, hole filled cheese of motoring, every month
Switzerland is famous for many things; muesli, mountains, cuckoo clocks, palette damaging chocolate, Nazi gold and muesli. But for car fans there's only one reason to visit Switzerland. The Geneva Muesli Show. So relax, put your feet up, pour yourself a glass of muesli and let Sniff Petrol guide you through some of this international event's most oats, nuts and raisiny stars.
Star of the show has to be the new 'entry level' LAMBORGHINI, the Gallardo. However, this stunning newcomer's unveiling was tinged with controversy as linguists noted this was the second unpronounceable car the Italians have launched within two years. 'Not at all,' insisted a company spokeser. 'It's quite simple. The double L is silent. Or is it the G? Sorry, I'm new.'
Another, slightly taller, spokesman was quick to correct; 'This car's name is meant to be more usable and accessible than its big brother, the Murseealaligo. Just remember, the D is silent.'
The Lamborghini Ahhh Oh goes on sale later this year but in the meantime its designer, Luc Donkerbonk, is clearly delighted. 'I am honoured to have been responsible for not one but two high profile supercars from one of the most respected manufacturers in the world,' he beamed. 'Surely now this will make me those most famous Belgian in the world, along with, erm�thingy...errr...'
AUDI stunned show goers with its handsome Nuvolari concept. Chief designer Walter of Silver explained some its design influences; 'What you see on this car will influence the unique look of future Audis. You see the grille extends down deep into the front facia, the headlamps have become narrower and more aggressive and at the rear we note the tail lamps are also narrower and wider. We're also thinking of offering four door saloons with concealed rear door handles and perhaps using a radical offset front licence plate.' Of Silver later denied that he was lobbying the company to change its name to Audi Romeo, and insisted he was not simply rehashing the old tricks he has already used at Alfa and SEAT. 'That's plainly not true,' he spat, 'I think you'll understand more when you see our next large saloon, the A156.'
RENAULT brought some glamour to the Megane range at Geneva by pulling the covers off the new Coupe-Cabriolet version. However, the event was marred by rumours of a major design flaw encountered during development testing. 'I wouldn't drive this car near to any military airbase,' muttered one insider. 'The rear deck of this car is so vast and flat that fighter planes keep trying to land on it. Our test drivers in Arizona had to keep a broom in the car so that, after a long day's driving, they could brush all the F15s off the bootlid.'
'This is the first time in years that I've been able to use the word "bustle",' noted car historian Langsdon Papsmeek. 'In fact, I hear that Renault are already hoping to exploit this with a unique product placement opportunity involving a high profile costume drama.' Spies within Renault's UK headquarters have added weight to this rumour with news of a plan to have a Megane CC stapled to Judi Dench's arse.
There was a major shock on the SUBARU stand as the company revealed its B11S concept car. Whilst the respected Japanese manufacturer hoped to stun the world with a radial new design direction most onlookers were more shocked by the apparent revelation that the company has finally run out of blue paint. 'Don't worry, we've got some on back order,' whispered a company sauce, sourcily. Meanwhile, senior designer Mitchiko Tikitaki explained the influence of newly appointed chief stylist Andreas Zapato, whose previous work includes a kind of large moustache: 'Andreas arrived at the company as work progressed on the B11S,' Tikitaki revealed. 'Naturally he was keen to get involved in the look of the car but unfortunately he got a bit carried away and broke the key piece of equipment Subaru uses to style all its cars; the ugly stick. Fortunately before it was irreparably snapped we were at least able to use it on the nose of the car.'
'Excellent,' smiled British designer Steven Peters. 'I'll expect a call soon then.'
CITROEN used the Geneva Show to give the world a sneak preview of its forthcoming small car, the C2. Although the production model will lose some of the show model's rally car-style design cues, it should be an attractive piece of work nonetheless. The only missing part of the C2 puzzle is the spectacularly wank way in which Citroen will decide to advertise it. 'We are still working on that,' admitted marketing chief Singe Pommesdeterre. 'We have already used the theme of completely weird and unsettling with the new C5 campaign, and of course there have been two highly successful campaigns for the C3 which used the theme of, 'ow you say, making no fucking sense whatsoever. For the C2 we will think of something equally strange and hopeless, perhaps involving unprovoked violence against dogs.'
One thing is for sure, Citroen's current cashback offers are unlikely to end soon. The company has become so used to just giving money away that at its Geneva press day breakfast journalists were stunned to discover the main offering was a large cheque served on a bed of money, drizzled with a jus of debased brand image.
Finally, FORD gave the Focus C-Max medium MPV its first public airing. Trying to explain why, when Renault is unveiling its second generation Scenic at the same show, Ford has only just announced its first entrant in this popular market, a speaksperson was quick to defend his company's policy: 'It's very simple,' he speaked. 'We developed a five seater car for this segment several years ago. But when GM announced the Zafira they moved the game on with their radical approach to a seven seat design. We knew our car couldn't compete so we went back to the drawing board and spend another few million dollars on developing a brand new package with five sea�. Shit!'
SEIFIGE PFUNFEN, news editor for Liebliches Auto, Switzerland's premier car magazine, gives a local view of the Geneva Show
I was impressed with a lot of the expositions to the Geneva Show this year and that does it, a difficult knowledge where to begin. Of course one never cannot neglect a new supercar and that is why the Lamborghini Gallardo must be the shiny cat of this event. Of course, if you want that Italian movement on a budget lower the new Alfa GT was also impressive in his own manner. Naturally practicals wasn't forgotten with all this athletic one in metal because Renault announced their new Scenic one, Ford had their C-Max of Focus smooths and there was Volkswagen Touran. The fan of motoring fresh would have assessed the Mercedes CLK convertible and the smashing SAAB 9-3 convertibles. Return in the world of extremely rich cars, Bentley paraded the final version of his to excite GT Continental meantime the MX Sport of Mazda, the Subaru B11S and the Chrysler Airflight is all concept cars that must become finally cars that you and I can buy some does. I am wet.
� 2003. Sniff Petrol every month. Next issue 4 April
Written by Sniff Petrol, with thanks to Jim Wood, FA and Poo