In Geneva, the sedans are re-inventing themselves in order to exist in the face of the SUV


by Gilles Guillaume and Laurence Frost

PARIS/GENEVA (Reuters) – The sedans are traditional constraints to reinvent themselves or play all their finery, to remain under the spotlight of the upcoming auto show of Geneva in the face of the 4X4 of the city that are gaining ground after having already caused the extinction of minivans.

The 88th edition of la grand-messe automobile suisse, annual rendezvous of the most luxurious and more focused on the products of the profession, opens its doors to the press on Tuesday.

“Baby SUV” UX Lexus and Vision X Concept from Skoda the large Bentayga Bentley V8, via the Citroën C4 Cactus and Honda CR-V, the show will once again be dominated by these silhouettes sports raised becoming the industry standard.

The SUV has surpassed at the beginning of the year, the third-party registrations of new cars in Europe, and even reached 37% in France, according to the latest figures of the Committee of French manufacturers of automobiles (CCFA).

And even if this type of model is more diesélisé than the average to stay sober in spite of a less good aerodynamic, which can ultimately pose a problem while diesel technology has fallen into disgrace.


“The questions about the choices in terms of investments for the next few years on the technologies of the future, are always there, with little visibility,” says Flavien Neuvy, director of the observatoire Cetelem automobile.

“And in terms of products, the question is to say : how far will the crossovers and SUV’s.”

One of the attractions of Geneva, however, will be a large sedan, the new Peugeot (PA:PEUP) 508.

But the shape and the dimensions of the car, which will be launched in September, have been modified to distinguish on a segment to compete with the SUV – its market share in France has fallen to 49%, against 52% at the start of 2017 – and ultra-dominated, for the sedans traditional four doors with a separate trunk, by the builders germanic.

“The brands who want to offer large sedans must find a way to make them more attractive, either by design, as for the 508, or by technology such as the C-Class Mercedes,” said Ian Fletcher, analyst at the firm IHS.

The new station wagon V60 Volvo, unveiled also in Geneva, could the same way prefigure the style of the future sedan S60 from the Swedish brand.


If the last restyling of the C-Class will be very discreet, the success of Mercedes taking a lot of the respect of codes of timeless, Peugeot has made the bet on the opposite, by starting with a blank sheet of paper for its new 508.

“We had heart to come back to this segment rather difficult for a generic brand since it is clearly preempted by the premium brands in German,” explains Aude Collerie of Borely, product manager for the lion brand. “But we wanted to create the surprise with a proposal that is radically different from the previous generation.”

Sedan “fastback” coupe with a hatchback instead of trunk to trunk, more bass, more short of 8 cm to be more maneuverable in the city and in the parking lots, the 508 is also distinguished profile with a nose of hood sharp overlooking the headlights to the way of the “muscle car” american Chevrolet Camaro.

The car will also, for the high-quality finish, light strips in vertical order that you recognize from far away.

“The sedan segment the traditional four-door is on the decline and, conversely, we have a sub-segment in full progress, the sedans more compact, more dynamic”, adds Aude Collerie of Borely.

According to data from IHS, the european sales of sedans traditional are expected to decline by 8.2% in 2018, while those of their cousins coupe should, on the contrary, grow 14.4%.

Breaking with the classicism of its famous 504, 505 or 607, Peugeot has converted to turn its large sedan to the silhouette hatchback that has made the beautiful hours of the French automobile. Especially at Renault (PA:RENA), with the R16, R20, R30 and Laguna, even though the renault brand is back a design classic for his latest Talisman.

And Citroën, which has not abandoned that recently the tailgate on his last C5, should return for its next-generation full-size sedan.


The Geneva salon will also be dominated by the latest developments in terms of autonomous car – presentation of the concept of Robot Taxis expensive to Carlos Ghosn on the Renault stand – and by the electrification accelerated models – concept Urban EV at Honda, SUV, i-Pace, Jaguar.

The event will also have its higher bid of models less reasonable. Such as the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, the most powerful 911 with naturally aspirated engine ever produced with 514 horsepower, the McLaren Senna, P15, in tribute to the brazilian driver who died in 1994, with under the hood, with 789 horsepower, or even the well-named “Missile” of Corbellati, claiming 500 km/h, thanks to a cavalry… 1.800 horses.

(Edited by Dominique Rodriguez)

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