Cullen Blog

All roads lead to Geneva as world's biggest car show delivers in style

This year's Geneva Motor Show delivered the usual spectacular showcase of hot new cars and cutting edge technology, writes Pearse O'Loughlin...

It's one of the perks of working in automotive PR. Last week, we were lucky enough to drop in on the 87th annual Geneva Motor Show, which runs until 19 March.

During its two-week run, some 700,000 visitors from Switzerland and across Europe will have flocked to the huge Palexpo complex beside Geneva Airport to drool over the latest models and wonder at the new cutting edge technologies – in particular the latest steps towards the ‘holy grail’ of autonomous driving.

The first two days of the show are reserved for media only – closed to the public – with more than 10,000 accredited journalists making the marathon trek around the vast complex (comfortable shoes essential) to visit each of the 180 stands.

There is huge competition among the automotive brands to achieve significant share of voice in the countless media outlets that report on the show. The run-up to the show is marked by a veritable frenzy of media releases and teaser pics as the car brands seek to outdo the competition in the race for coverage.

This year, however, there was only one story in town: the breaking news that PSA Group had signed a deal with GM to purchase the German car-maker, Opel.

Either by accident or design, news of the agreement was announced the day before the Geneva Motor Show opened for business. On that same day, Peugeot received an additional boost as its new 3008 SUV model was named European Car of the Year for 2017 at a pre-Show event. Not a bad day’s work…

So, what’s been on offer for the hordes of visiting car fans? For starters, there is no shortage of supercars from the likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari, Koenigsegg and Pagani – to name but a few. Most attention was on the new Pagani Huayra Roadster, which took an incredible six years to develop and made its world debut at the show. Don’t get too excited, however – only 100 Huayras will be produced (at a cool €2 million per car) and the full production run of 100 has already been sold!

At the other end of the spectrum, a car with many more fans than the Pagani, the latest version of the much-adored Ford Fiesta, also made its debut in Geneva. The new Fiesta ST was revealed on the Ford stand and the car that the Top Gear team has named one of their all time favourite hot hatches was a huge draw for the media on the first two days.

The new Fiesta, which incidentally sells for a good deal less than the Huayra Roadster, features a new 1.5 litre petrol EcoBoost engine that delivers 200 horsepower, a technological work of art and performance as impressive as any Pagani supercar… in my humble opinion!

If you’re into cars, if you ever have the opportunity to visit the Geneva Motor Show, let me tell you it is well worth the trip. Looking forward to next year already.

Pearse O'Loughlin is a Senior Client Director with Cullen Communications, and head of the agency's Automotive PR division which includes Ford, Continental Tyres and others.