With sales unpredictable, the world’s carmakers are keen to drive up interest by showing off new green technologies at this year’s Geneva Auto Show.
Companies that were hit hard by the recession have been surviving with the help of government funded incentive schemes designed to boost sales, but those are ending and the underlying recovery remains far from certain.
As well as a focus on more environmentally friendly cars the manufacturers are looking to growth markets like developing nations.
Patrick Pelata, Renault’s Chief Operating Officer, told euronews: “We see the world car market growing very weakly, but with a lot of contrasts. Asia on the rise, Latin America on the rise, perhaps Russia rising and Europe falling. We reckon sales in Europe are going to decline by around 10 percent this year.”
The once dominant Toyota is reeling from recalls and criticism over its safety failings; its sales have been sliding sharply, but the company’s top man in Europe, Didier Leroy, said they will not cut prices to lure buyers back.
Leroy added: “The recent recalls had the effect of making us respond to our customers. The first thing was to reassure them and then to deal with the problem, as quickly as possible, as we’re doing now right across Europe.”
Toyota was the pioneer of hybrids and that trend is spreading this year at Geneva, even luxury car makers are going greener with the likes of Mercedes rolling out models fitted with electric motors as well as the main engine to cut fuel consumption.
They join a growing range of smaller eco cars aimed at taking advantage of tighter emissions legislation and attracting drivers looking for greater fuel efficiency.
Summing up, euronews correspondent Fabien Farge said: “The car market needs perking up, which is the goal of every manufacturer at the Geneva Auto show: somewhere over the rainbow we can perhaps forget the gray days of the crisis. Green is the colour, for low emission vehicles, from hybrids to electric powered one, from Peugeot to Audi, and even the most unlikely carmakers such as Ferrari and Porsche, green is the way to go in Geneva this year.”