THE Geneva Motor Show opened this week with a bang as manufacturers unveiled some of the most luxurious vehicles in the world fit for royalty and A-list celebrities. Geneva, one of the most expensive cities in the world, lived up to its reputation for sheer opulence.
And one of the luxury brands was Rolls-Royce. Owned by Germany’s BMW, it says it is looking into building a car in the luxury crossover SUV segment.
But the company, renowned for its refined limousines, is wary the soul of its brand might be lost in the process.
Former Port Elizabeth motoring executive, and now Rolls-Royce sales chief Jolyon Nash, who worked previously at Volkswagen in Uitenhage a few years back said: “The SUV segment is a interesting segment for us,” he said, pointing to the strong growth and rosy outlook for the segment.
Not to be outdone Bentley Motors unveiled the new 331km/h Continental GT Speed coupe in addition to revealing the Flying Spur V8 luxury sedan.
Maserati unveiled the Alfieri, a 2+2 concept car to celebrate the brand’s centenary.
The Alfieri is an exciting but realistic and 100% functional prototype that says much about the design DNA of future Maseratis; it could well be a door to the future of the Trident Marque.
And a vehicle which may grace our South African roads in the near future is Volkswagen’s T-ROC.
On the evening before the show the Volkswagen Group traditionally presents its highlights. With the world premiere of the T-ROC concept car the Volkswagen brand gave a preview of a SUV range.
The vehicle is based on a Golf-format concept car positioned a step down from the Tiguan.
The striking features of the concept car include its progressive design, the front section with the LED headlights and two removable roof halves.
With the Tiguan and Touareg Volkswagen has in its model range two of the most successful SUVs of European origin.
In the future, Germany’s largest car manufacturer will be expanding this spectrum appreciably with new models in a variety of classes.
The T-ROC follows a new design line and interior style, with the progressive design of the front section being particularly striking. The two-door vehicle also combines the talents of an all-wheel drive SUV – which doesn’t capitulate even when faced with rocky off-road tracks – with the summery airiness of a convertible. The middle section of the roof consists of two halves that with just a few flicks can be taken off and stowed in the boot.
And last but not least was the announcement that the 2014 car of the year award at the Geneva Motor Show was won by the Peugeot 308 hatchback. – Bobby Cheetham