As the Geneva Motor Show opened to the public – expecting 700,000 visitors – the question was were they coming just to look or to actually buy?
European manufacturers particularly have been experiencing a bumpy ride and hoping the latest oil price spike will not empty their showrooms of customers as the economic crisis did.
Sales did pick up last year to 57.3 million vehicles from 2009’s 51 million. In 2008 the total was 52.3 million.
The industry’s much anticipated electric cars have been too long coming and are a bit too pricy according to Christoph Stürmer, an analyst at IHS Automotive.
He said: “Consumers have been expecting electric vehicles on their roads ever since last year. And they were utterly disappointed that they couldn’t buy them a year ago and they were equally disappointed that it would cost more to buy them at all. So the consumer wants to be painlessly green, he wants to have the newest stuff at the lowest possible price.”
The key theme at this year’s Geneva show is fuel efficiency of the 170 new models are being unveiled, many are powered by electric, hybrid and more efficient conventional engines.