January 24, 2017

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After the traditional summer lull in activity, the automotive world springs back into action again with the Paris Motor Show. The Car Design News team will be reporting from both press days of the event, on ourCDN Live blog. We’ll also be updating the Car Design News Facebookand Twitter accounts throughout the show, so don’t forget to give us a follow.

The Paris show is held on alternate years from its sister event in Frankfurt, the show is one of the most visited in the world and that means the launch of plenty of new production and concept cars to get excited about. So here’s a handy list of things that have caught our eye so far:

Electric goes mainstream

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Volkswagen’s new electric-car concept teaser

Thanks to the VW Group’s #dieselgate exploits and the popularity of Tesla, the electric car’s transition from niche to mainstream has been rapidly accelerated. Two concepts have been announced for the show so far that  look to set the tone for how the new mainstream electric cars will look on the road and the sort of technology they will employ.

Volkswagen’s effort is currently labeled the ‘electric car for a new era,’ and appears to build on the connected tech that was introduced with the Budd-e at CES at the start of the year. Despite claims that the new car has the potential to be as revolutionary as the original Beetle, the teaser images point more towards evolution, but we’ll have to wait to see it for ourselves to be sure.

The second key car is a concept from Mercedes that will give us a clearer idea of what its forthcoming family of electric vehicles will look like. Mercedes has been exploring e-mobility through concepts for some time, most notably completely stealing the autonomous agenda last year with its F015. Will the new show car have the same impact?

French brands at home

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The Citroën CXperience concept

Motor shows are traditionally a good excuse for the home manufacturers to flex their respective creative skills, so we’re expecting big things from Peugeot, Citroën and Renault this year.

Peugeot has been on something of a show-car roll recently, but seems to be focused on its production offerings this time around, with the rethought 3008 and 5008 which ditch quasi-SUV and MPV formats respectively for pretty handsome-looking crossovers.

Also pre-releasing its show stars, Citroën has confirmed that it will have a new show stand, reinforcing its new comfort-centric brand message. On display will be the new C3 supermini, which adopts Cactus-like airbumps and a strong product-design aesthetic, and a new concept, the CXperience, that revisits the firm’s classic CX sedan.

Last but by no means least, Renault has already confirmed its Alaskan pick-up, but we’re really keen to see its new concept, which promises to show a new direction for the next generation of cars, overseen by Laurens van den Acker.

Crossover and over and over again

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Land Rover’s Discovery through time

The format of the moment is again likely to sit front and centre in Paris. We’re at an interesting point with crossovers now, though, where some carmakers are still struggling to fill line-ups with first-generation models such as the Skoda Kodiaq, while established acts are adjusting products to suit contemporary tastes like Land Rover’s much more on-road-friendly Discovery.

The aforementioned Peugeot 3008 and 5008 do look well worth a look, and we’re intrigued to see whether Audi’s angular, sharp surfaces have made it to the second generation Q5 that’s due to debut at the show.

We’re also keen to see what the Lexus UX concept has in store for us. Rumours of a BMW X2 sound plausible, too, although we can’t confess to being fans of BMW’s rather bland current line-up of X models.

New hatchbacks

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The new Kia Rio, or should that be Hyundai?

Europe is home to the cleverly packaged, increasingly premium small car, and the show is promising to provide us plenty to look at. The new Citroën C3 looks interesting, while pictures of the Kia Rio and Hyundai i30 continue to have us convinced that the design strategy to separate the brands is working, so we’ll check that out for sure at the show.

There’s also the promise of a new Nissan Micra. This time around, the design team has been charged with helping change perceptions of the brand’s small car to something driven by someone less than 80 years of age.

Who won’t be there

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Volvo’s new V90 Cross Country has just been unveiled but won’t be in Paris

Although Paris is one of the biggest shows of all, this year’s event will be marked by who’s not attending.

Like Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce, the VW Group has elected to keep its premium brands Bentley and Lamborghini away from the event, and cancelled its traditional Group Night pre-show evening, as it bids to keep costs in check. Likewise, Volvo isn’t attending, in line with its strategy of only exhibiting at Detroit, Geneva and Beijing or Shanghai. Mazda has also announced it will skip Paris, citing the fact that the home French carmakers will steal all the headlines.

Interestingly, while the BMW 5 Series launch is imminent, it’s not scheduled to be at the show, instead it will get its own, dedicated event in order to maximise headlines. We believe the same is true for the new Mini Countryman.

Perhaps the biggest no-show of all though is Ford. Having launched its crossover family in Europe, a new Fiesta is due – the first mainstream production car to show the firm’s new interior direction under global interiors head Amko Leenarts. We were hoping to see it in Paris, but we’ll have to wait a little longer instead.

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