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Auto Industry

Geneva Motor Show opens amid SUV frenzy

The 84th Geneva Motor Show has opened its doors, this time showing off about 100 new car models. Carmakers producing so-called SUVs may deem themselves lucky because they are billed to become the next big thing.

About 250 carmakers from across the world were about to showcase around 100 new car models and concept cars at the 84th Geneva Autosalon this year, the organizers of the motor show in Switzerland's biggest city said Friday.

After e-mobility with new electric car models dominated the headlines of recent motor shows, the conventional combustion engine is back in focus at Geneva. As a result, only 65 of the more than 900 car models exhibited meet the EU's stricter CO² emissions targets valid from 2021.

Carmakers hope for Geneva boost

Moreover, global carmakers are banking more and more on demand for so-called sports utility vehicles (SUVs) to turn around their business. The market for SUVs is growing everywhere across the globe. In the United States, the car model with its tall cabin, big cargo area and less-advantageous higher fuel consumption has become the fastest-growing market segment. In crisis-hit Europe, SUV sales have defied the general market downturn in recent years.

At the Geneva Motor Show, SUVs come in big and small versions. US auto maker Chrysler markets a smaller version of its Jeep model. Called the Renegade, it's the brand's first serious small and more fuel-efficient contender for European markets, where SUV sales have surged to 1.1 million units per year.

French car group PSA Peugeot Citroen hopes to find new customers with its Citroen C4 Cactus model, which is derived from a concept car and comes with rubberized panels on the side doors that have a real-life application.

"You can take a supermarket caddy and push on the car and no wear and tear on the car at all," said Citroen managing director Frederic Banzet. A diesel version of the model can average 3.1 liters per 100 kilometers, or 75 miles to the gallon, Banzet added.

German mass-market carmaker Volkswagen showcases a new concept car called T-Roc, which is an SUV built on the popular Golf platform. The model is available in all VW drive trains, from gasoline and diesel combustion engines to plug-in hybrid electric technology. Like Chrysler's Renegade, it offers the possibility to remove a panel and drive open top.

Volkswagen's marketing representative Heinz-Jakob Nüsser told reports in Geneva that the company had produced a cavalcade of new SUV's in recent years and that the T-Roc would be the logical extension to the Golf.

uhe (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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