The Paris Motor Show has been stretching column inches for the best part of two months, leaving motoring fans frothing at the mouth and manufacturers licking their lips at the potential to entice new customers with each trying to steal the attention of the thousands that will dawn on the fashion capital of the world from October 2nd onwards. The Mondial l'Automobile has grown in importance and significance in the past decade, so rapidly that it is now considered the most influential motoring event - and for good reason. It's an opportunity for manufacturers to really WOW us, because announcements and previews throughout the interlude between now and the next show will - unless it's Jaguar with another XE - ultimately fail to attract as much interest as vehicles revealed at the most recent edition of this biennial event.
We resume our preview in South Korea - ok, not really - but, with Hyundai the largest manufacturer from the country. It was some time ago now that we saw the first images of the all-new Hyundai i20 and the Motor Show will offer the perfect springboard for Hyundai to propel this car into the hearts and minds of potential customers. A new interior, and a bigger boot are on the list of new features boasted by the i20, and Hyundai hopes the vehicle will act as a rival to the Skoda Fabia and the new-look Mazda-2. A better fuel economy and CO2 consumption is expected to be announced in order to offer distinction between the original model and that which will be seen in Paris.
It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that Jaguar are putting all their eggs into one basket. After a successful London launch, the momentum is certainly with the legendary British manufacturer, but that isn't necessarily a good thing. The XE was superbly impressive on it's own turf - and expectations and interest are sky high following an excellent PR scheme which involved dangling the brand-new vehicle from a helicopter across the London evening skyline. But, depsite all of that there remains questions marks over Jaguar's strategy. The XE is a superb model and will succeed, but you do feel like Jaguar are playing a fairly risky game on a design process that will have run up a multi-million pound bill.
Kia may have the funniest manufacturer Twitter account, but that won't necessarily do it any good here. The all-new Kia Sorento will debut in Paris, and we are very excited to see what Kia can offer the show after a fairly quiet run up. It's always the silent ones that make the biggest splash, so watch this space.
We've seen a few images of the new Discovery Sport, which aims to steal the show and might have a fairly good chance. Details are scarce, but we know it will share engines with the XE and offer a plethora of in-car technology options. The Land Rover stand will be one to watch, with the latest four-wheel drive system also set for implementation into the new Discovery Sport model.
Mazda shook things up in the sports car market earlier this month with the release of the Mazda MX-5 making a first return since production was cut in 1989. The original mode, was arguably one of the best sports cars of it's time and the Japanese manufacturer will be hoping this success can be replicated. The spear like LED lights will provide the focal point to what is ultimately a stunning vehicle.
Other manufacturers biggest test will, ultimately, be to drag onlookers from the Mercedes presentation. The AMG GT is making it's debut at the Motor Show, and there is a great deal of clamour to see what the new look supercar has to offer. We expect unlimited levels of technology, and perhaps the sleekest design ever offered by Mercedes. The vehicle's nippier cousin the GT S will also hopefully make an appearance. The Mercedes B-Class will also offer a sound option lower down the ladder - and we expect to see this also revealed by Mercedes.
MINI will give an official debut - not a home one it'll have to wait - to the John Cooper Works Concept vehicle. It's set to be a fairly nippier version, and if MINI fans are to be believed (and they are) then it offers one of the most exciting propositions from the legendary manufacturer in recent times. The MINI Superleggara was already seen in Italy, one of MINI's traditional popular markets, and will be given an official airing in Paris. As a sports car it could threaten to upstage MINI's other debutants, so we'll see how this plays it out. The MINI five door will also be making it's official debut at the Show.
If you're one of the hardy souls to have made it to the end of this preview, and you're wondering why the show defines motoring, and whether it was just a fancy heading to entice you in? Well, no it truly does define it. It's the single biggest event on the calendar for motoring fans, and potential vehicles success will be won or lost in Paris. It's make or break time for manufacturers which are percieved to be fading into the background, and this show, perhaps more than any other could define not just their own futures, but that of the entire motoring landscape.IM, Email, and Social Networks in one easy to use application!