Our European bureau chief, the man with the supersize Rolodex, makes the rounds at the Paris auto show.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
6:45 a.m.: Breakfast at the Ritz
No BMW engines for Jaguar/Land Rover. No BMW engines for Aston Martin, either.
7:45-8:45 a.m.: One-hour cab ride to the show
Receive an e-mail naming Porsche R&D chief Wolfgang Dürheimer as new boss of Bentley, effective March 2011.
9 a.m.: Volkswagen stand
If VW gets an opportunity to acquire Alfa Romeo, it wants Lancia to be part of the deal.
10 a.m.: Espresso at Alfa Romeo stand
Alfa? For sale? Never!
11:15 a.m.: Meet a contact in a steaming hot Genesis at the Hyundai stand
Maserati is developing new engines and a new rear-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive platform that will debut with the next Quattroporte in 2012.
12 p.m.: Lunch at Renault stand
He who drinks red wine at this early hour might be coaxed into spilling the beans about Dacia’s future products.
1:25 p.m.: Meet with another French contact
Renault Alpine will return as a mid-engine coupe/roadster powered by two electric motors. A more mundane Renault sports car is to be based on the next Nissan Z.
2:05 p.m.: Coffee number twenty-five at Mercedes stand
Plans for a mid-engine sports car have stalled. A high-level meeting with Toyota officials is said to have yielded little more than hot air. And it looks like Mr. Bez of Aston Martin won’t get Mercedes-Benz engines, either, despite being a good buddy of M-B head Dieter Z.
2:15 p.m.: Škoda stand with Automobile Magazine editors Jean Jennings, Joe DeMatio, and Jason Cammisa
Ogle the high-heeled models, photo op with the boss.
3:30 p.m.: Cucumber sandwich courtesy of Bentley
Nobody knows yet about their new chairman, it seems. No diesel, no plug-in hybrid, no small car. At least not in the foreseeable future.
4 p.m.: Rolls-Royce stand
Ghost cabriolet and coupe on the way. Work has started on an even smaller car.
4:50 p.m.: En route to Audi stand
Handed an envelope containing info on the superhot Renault Mégane RS Gordini. Nice.
5 p.m.: Audi stand. Sadly, much too late for Weisswurst und Brezel
Plans for a U.S. production facility and a North America-specific model are maturing quickly.
5:35 p.m.: Brief encounter with a friend from Mazda
Mazda and Audi might work together on a small rotary engine.
6 p.m.: BMW stand
The proposed X4 has been killed. The 1-series M coupe will not be a limited-production model.
6:28 p.m.: At a pissoir across from Hall 5, next to a bloke in a light gray suit
Did I know that the Audi A2 may not share a steel platform with the VW Space Up? I did not. Apparently, such a low-tech approach won’t work against BMW’s sophisticated carbon-fiber Megacity Vehicle.
7 p.m.: First champagne of the day at Porsche stand
All green lights: next-generation four- and six-cylinder boxer engines, a Q5-based crossover named Cajun, a totally redesigned Cayman, a flexible mid-engine platform for the long-awaited 356, and an aluminum-bodied Cayenne replacement.
8 p.m.: Dinner with Jaguar/Land Rover
All-wheel-drive and plug-in-hybrid Jaguars on the way. But all everyone talks about is the C-X75 and how beautiful it is. Could it be that sports cars are the real drivers of the green revolution?
11:50 p.m.: Back at the Westin
A message from a friend at Lotus predicts a brilliant answer to the brand’s engine squeeze, and it has nothing to do with Toyota. Or BMW. Watch this space.– Georg Kacher