Geneva gossip #2

March 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

More snippets and bits ‘n’ pieces.

GM has killed the Cadillac Converj development programme, according to Bloomberg News. The Converj was to have been a  range-extender hybrid coupe, but GM has decided that it can’t make this car – which would have to be both plushy-upholstered and very well-equipped, as a Caddy – cheaply enough for it to be profitable. Its inevitable weight was also limiting range in its electric-only mode.

Honda has announced UK pricing for the CR-Z hybrid coupe. It’ll cost from £16,999, order books are now open, and first cars will be delivered in June. All models get six airbags, climate control, a CD player, ignition button, electric windows, heated door mirrors and daytime running lights; Sport versions (£17,999) add ambient lighting, alloy pedals, cruise control, leather gearshift, a multi-function steering wheel, parking sensors, tinted glass, an uprated 240W stereo and USB port for MP3 input. GT versions (£19,999) add full leather upholstery, heated front seats, a glass roof, xenon headlights, hands-free phone kit, and auto headlights and wipers; sat nav is a further option.

– Despite the CR-Z, and confirmation of a Jazz hybrid early next year, Honda reckons fuel cell cars are the best bet for future mobility. President Takanobu Ito said in a speech that “we believe that fuel cell cars are the ultimate solution”, and noted that “we have recently produced a solar-powered hydrogen refining unit without a compressor, that’s 25% more efficient than previous units, ideal for home use so you won’t need to buy hydrogen elsewhere.”

Ford is to launch five electric/electrically-enhanced vehicles by 2013: it has confirmed an all-electric Transit Connect (2011) and Focus (2012), plus full hybrid Focus and Mondeo models (by 2013), and a plug-in hybrid Focus (2013). Up to 25% of all Fords sold will have some degree of electrification by then, European product development chief Joe Bakaj told Autocar.

Tata is going to launch an electric Nano city car in the UK and Scandinavia first, reports Auto Express. Chairman Ravi Tant says it’s coming within three years, and that it will have the same batteries as the Indica Vista, giving it a 99-mile range.

Volkswagen has launched an all-new Sharan MPV. Too boring to warrant its own post, but salient points: longer and wider than outgoing model, but weighs 30kg less; a roomier third row of seats to take adults; a new series of engines including 150bhp 1.4 TSI; stop-start and regenerative braking in all models except the 200bhp 2.0 TFSI. The 2.0 TDI 140 returns a meritable 52.3mpg and 143g/km of CO2. On sale later this year.

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