The 2012 Paris Motor Show opens today, and no amount of fanfare around new vehicles and concepts can convince everyone to ignore the fact that times are not good for the European car industry.Auto sales on the continent are set to drop eight per cent this year, Renault’s CEO Carlos Ghosn predicted.
McLaren’s brand new P1 supercar is gorgeous, but it will not, and is not meant to, fit into an industry that demands luxury combined with excellent fuel efficiency.
These 13 cars, from Ford, VW, Mitsubishi, and more, have nothing in terms of power or looks on the P1. But they are their makers’ best bets for boosting sales in a shrinking market. How they do will determine what the auto industry of the future will look like.
The 2013 five-door Audi is 200 pounds lighter than its predecessor and engineered for fuel efficiency.
It will be available with three engines: a 1.6-liter diesel, 1.4-liter diesel, and 1.8-liter gas. The A3 has all of the luxury features that are the mark of the Audi brand.
It will hit German dealerships in February 2013 for €22,500 ($29,000).
Taking fuel efficiency to the next level, Hyundai announced it will build a hydrogen fuel-cell electric car, based on its Tuscon.
The South Korean automaker plans to produce 1,000 of the vehicles by 2015, and eventually to build 10,000 units, according to Green Car Reports.
Hyundai says that one tank of hydrogen will give the high-tech Tuscon a range of 365 miles.
Porsche's latest version of its diesel SUV features a twin-turbocharged V8 that pumps out 381 hp and 626.9lb ft of torque.
It will go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, have a top speed of 157 mph, and come with a $94,300 price tag, Top Gear reports.
The Dacia Sandero is the polar opposite of the Porsche Cayenne. The 2013 version of the Renault brand is marketed as 'affordable, robust and generous.'
The little car, which seats five, certainly is affordable: It is predicted to sell for less than $12,000.
Back on the luxury side of the auto market, Aston Martin has trotted out a brushed up version of its DB9, the car that has been around since 2004.
The 2013 model is more powerful than its predecessors, with a 6.0-liter V-12 engine that produces 510 hp.
Ford released its new Fusion this month, and stressed that the midsize sedan is made to be successful in car markets around the globe.
Fittingly, the Detroit automaker brought the 'Mondeo' -- the European version of the Fusion -- to Paris.
We drove the Fusion and were impressed, so it's a good bet the Mondeo will succeed.
Volvo's new crossover is based on the V40 sedan, and is set to go on sale in Europe and China this November.
The Cross Country features a start/stop system and a pedestrian airbag.
The available 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine produces 254 hp. There is also a diesel option.
In Paris, MINI will debut the production version of the Paceman Concept it brought to Detroit in 2011. The little two-door car seats four and has 16-inch wheels (19-inch wheels are available).
Set to launch in March 2013, the Paceman has available all-wheel drive. The 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine in the entry-level version is good for 112 hp.
In Paris, French automaker Peugeot is on its home turf, and the RCZ coupe is a strong showing.
The futuristic ride comes in diesel and gasoline versions, and produces up to 200 bhp.
With the new Outlander, Mitsubishi has built the world's first plug-in hybrid SUV. Ready to hit the Japanese market in early 2013, it will feature a remarkable 143 mpg and a range of more than 500 miles.
After its Japan debut, the SUV will come to Europe and North America.
For drivers who live in rainy locales, Citroen's new DS3 is a good choice. Its canvas top can open or close at speeds up to 74 mph, so a sudden storm during a highway drive is no big deal.
It's quite close to the Citroen hatchback Top Gear named its Car of the Year in 2010, so expect a solid performance from the DS3 Cabrio.
For Paris 2012, Maserati built its fastest, lightest, and most powerful car ever. The GranTurismo MC Stradale seats two and has a top speed of 186 mph.
'Stradale' is Italian for 'street,' and the luxurious interior combined with 460 hp make it a driver's car that fits in anywhere.
The 2013 version of the Range Rover is lighter and more luxurious than its predecessor.
Unveiled earlier this month, it has lots of legroom, and acoustic lamination to reduce noise in the cabin. Best of all, its 5-liter V8 engine consumes 22 per cent less fuel than the last version Land Rover rolled out.
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