Reflecting growing interest in battery-only cars, the Paris Motor Show, the largest auto festival in the second half of the year, kicks off Tuesday, featuring a variety of green cars ready for market debuts.
From sport utility vehicles to compact cars, the show will present a series of world premieres, but the size of the show is likely to be smaller than previous editions, with a group of carmakers skipping the event.
It is considered one of the five major auto shows in the world, but it has been losing ground to the Geneva Motor Show and the Frankfurt show, all set to be held next year.
Carmakers not participating in the Paris Motor Show include Aston Martin, Bentley, Ford, Infiniti, Lamborghini, Mini, Nissan, Volkswagen and Volvo.
The next-generation Mercedes GLE (Mercedes-Benz)
Rather than showing off fancy concept cars and grandiose visions for the future, carmakers appear to have chosen to present cars targeting the mass market, to promote sales in the region, which has seen a steep increase in sales.
The European auto market grew 8 percent in the January-August period, according to recent data. “They chose to be practical than being flamboyant,” said an industry insider.
The Paris Motor Show is home turf for French cars, but electric cars are likely to steal the limelight, with German luxury carmakers all bringing plug-in cars to the French audience that is increasingly becoming green-conscious.
Tesla is bringing the Model 3 to the Paris Motor Show, to compete with German carmakers. Audi will show the much-anticipated electric e-Tron SUV, while Mercedes-Benz attempts to confront the move with EQC, also an electric SUV.
The French carmaker will also showcase the E-Legend concept, to offer a hint of future autonomous technologies, and a full-electric drivetrain.
PSA Group will offer the new C5 Aircross compact SUV, the brand’s first model to get a plug-in hybrid version.
Renault will also suggest possibilities of autonomous, electric and shared mobility services.
Targeting the mass market, BMW will bring the all-new BMW M340i, a high performance sedan from its best-selling 3-Series line.
Mercedes-Benz will announce its B-Class four-door wagon-style car, AMG A35 hatchback, and the next-generation Mercedes GLE will also make a world premiere.
Korean carmakers, meanwhile, are expected to unveil Europe-only brands aimed at accelerating sales growth.
The Proceed (Kia Motors)
i30 Fastback N (Hyundai Motor)
Hyundai will introduce the i30 Fastback N, its third high-performance car under its N brand. Its sister company Kia Motors will unveil the Proceed, a five-door model replacing the Ceed three-door car.
More than 200 carmakers and parts makers are participating in the event, which is expected to attract more than a million visitors this year.
The Paris Auto Show, Mondial de l’Automobile, runs from Oct. 2 through 14 at Porte de Versailles.
By Cho Chung-un