Paris Auto Show 2016: 10 takeouts

peugeot-5008-paris-2016-2The Peugeot stand at the Paris Auto Show was dedicated to SUVs.

The Paris Auto Show 2016 is over: it just closed its doors on Sunday with a disappointing total attendance – down 14% on 2014 to 1.072.697 – but a lot more new launches than two years ago and faultless wifi access all throughout the Show. Before we go into the last set of interviews covering the stunning DS Experience I had the privilege to enjoy at the Show, here are 10 takeouts in no particular order nor importance. A shamelessly subjective selection of elements that have grabbed my attention during the Press Conferences and while wandering the aisles.

1. Peugeot finally jumps head first into the SUV world

There was one word on the lips of all Peugeot officials at the Show: SUV. And it’s about time. Just as the world craze for this type of vehicle is getting more screamingly loud every day, Peugeot unveiled both the 3008 and the 5008 at the Show, instantly forming a solid all-terrain-looking family along with the facelifted 2008. Exterior design and interior materials are in frank progress compared to the first generations of both nameplates but there are still a few nitty gritty frustrations such as a decidedly cheap adjustment metal bar under each seat.

peugeot-3008-dkr-paris-2016Peugeot 3008 DKRpeugeot-3008-interior-paris-2016-2Peugeot 3008 interior detail peugeot-3008-interior-paris-2016Peugeot 3008 interiorpeugeot-5008-interior-paris-2016Peugeot 5008 – Cavernous storage box just below the central console.peugeot-5008-interior-paris-2016-2Peugeot 5008 interior detail

toyota-wrc-paris-2016Toyota unveiled the Yaris WRC at the Paris Auto Show with Tommi Makinen

2. Toyota comes with a new personality

Akio Toyoda, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, was bubbly, warm and funny during the entire Toyota Press Conference, successively unveiling the new Yaris WRC, Toyota’s Microsoft partnership win WRC, introducing Tommi Makinen, the head of Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC, describing the brand’s progress in the autonomous driving field – a subject rarely touched before by Toyota in official communication – and talking up the much-awaited C-HR crossover, already available to order in Europe. All of this in the space of 15 minutes in a speech that was impeccably timed, tuned and delivered. Who said Toyota was beige?

toyota-c-hr-paris-2016Toyota C-HRtoyota-100-million-cars-paris-2016Toyota celebrates 100 million cars worldwide.

maybach-vision-6-paris-2016-1

3. Maybach shines with the Vision 6 Concept

Although not its first appearance – it was unveiled last August at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance – the Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 did stop me in my tracks. It is a bewitching mix of Jessica Rabbit, a 1930 vaporous period car and an incredibly futuristic panther about to pounce. I want one.

maybach-vision-6-concept-paris-2016-2

skoda-kodiaq-paris-2016-aSkoda Kodiaq

4. Skoda punches above its weight with the Kodiaq

Skoda has stepped up one more notch with the Kodiaq, whose interior happily bears the comparison with any Volkswagen. Two thumbs up once again for the Czech brand now rightly aiming at a U.S. market launch. All mass market brands should be worried, very worried indeed.

skoda-kodiaq-interior-paris-2016Skoda Kodiaq interiorskoda-kodiaq-paris-2016-bSkoda Kodiaq

opel-ampera-e-paris-2016Opel Ampera e 

5. Opel morphs into a green brand with the Ampera e

Impossible not to notice the jungle-looking Opel stand at the Paris Auto Show, proudly pushing the 500km+ autonomy per charge of the Ampera e. Also new is the Mokka X.

opel-mokka-x-paris-2016Opel Mokka X

vw-id-concept-paris-2016

6. Volkswagen keeps a low profile with the ID

A year ago in Frankfurt Volkswagen was shining bright. Since, it has been hit by – and is still reeling from – a now infamous emissions scandal. In Paris, VW kept a low profile with no new model unveiled and opted to look into the (far away) future with the electric ID Concept, which won’t hit the road before 2020. Disappointing.

kia-rio-paris-2016

7. Kia gets more European with the Rio

Kia is targeting 500.000 annual sales in Europe by 2018 and is counting on the all-new Rio to get there. It’s an attractive package that should hit the mark but the staged and awkward mock-interview Press Conference introducing it didn’t help one bit.

kia-500000-paris-2016Objective 500.000 sales in Europe for Kia.

tesla-model-x-paris-2016-1Tesla Model X interior: a true 6 seater.

8. Open doors at Tesla

Last April at the Beijing Auto Show, access to the new Tesla Model X was restricted to “actual owners” even during the Press Days. In Paris, it was open doors at the Tesla stand and the Model X could be explored in all its splendour. Impressive.

tesla-model-x-paris-2016-2Tesla Model X front seat detail

mitsubishi-gt-phev-concept-paris-2016Mitsubishi GT PHEV Concept 

9. Mitsubishi drives on the confronting design road

No one told Mitsubishi that their design direction is confronting to say the least, so they continue on that dangerous road with the GT PHEV Concept, while mentioning in passing that the Outlander was the best-selling PHEV in Europe both over the FY2015 and so far in 2016.

mitsubishi-outlander-phev-sales-paris-2016Mitsubishi stressed the fact that the Outlander is the best-selling PHEV in Europe.

fiat-tipo-paris-2016Fiat Tipo

10. The Fiat Tipo’s console has a touch screen

Random fact? Not so. Starting at 12.900€, the Tipo isn’t a low-cost car per se but almost, and competes with the likes of the Citroen C-Elysée. And when the screen on the 65.000€ Mercedes C-Class Coupe can only be controlled with a paddle near the arm rest, requiring your eyes to leave the road for dangerous seconds, the Fiat Tipo boasts a touch screen. Granted, Chinese cars half this price also do have touch screens, but in Europe it’s a rarity. Well done Fiat.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. While I appreciate your articles, I don’t agree with you on the following statement for Peugeot Vehicles “cheap adjustment metal bar under each seat”. What do you want as an adjustment bar? a gold one? or maybe you want electrical adjusted seats but with the price of manually adjusted ones?
    All cars and SUVs that have manually adjusted seats are a metal one (worst, it can be plastic on some). So frankly I don’t understand your nagging about this! Peugeot is trying to go upmarket but with reasonable prices. Give them at least the benefit of the doubt and command them for that instead of searching for meaningless things to bring them down!

    1. Hi Pedro,
      Many thanks for your note.
      Trying to go upmarket and manually adjusted seats don’t go hand in hand in my view so I stand by my comment. Moreover, the price Peugeot is charging for these pretend-upmarket cars is far from reasonable.
      I have also praised the progress of their exterior design and interior materials, so this is not a bringing down of Peugeot.
      All the best,
      Matt

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