Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Despite Gloom, Geneva Motor Show Offers Some Hope

Ford Fiesta

Amid the gloomy comments from auto executives at the Geneva Motor Show (in Switzerland), the unveilings of several important new models are being overshadowed.

Take the new Ford Fiesta. This compact car is being sold in Europe, but the design cues and architecture behind this car will be the underpinnings of compact cars the automaker will roll out in the U.S. in the future. Along with what we saw with the Verve at the Detroit Auto Show in January, the Fiesta shows Ford's small car strategy is about to take off. In the past, Ford's compact cars were mundane, to say the least. The Fiesta and Verve show more style and attitude. Something Ford has sorely been lacking.

Meanwhile, GM's showing the new Saab 9-X BioHybrid.This concept is important not only because of it's design cues, but also for what it says about GM's commitment to continue pushing Hybrids. In fact, GM CEO Rick Wagoner is in Geneva touting the automakers next generation of hybrids with a new, more powerful lithium-ion battery. We're still a ways from hybrids taking off, but GM, and other automakers, are making real progress.

That's the thing with what we're hearing out of Geneva. Are auto executives worried about sales and the economy slowing down? You bet, But there's still plenty of reasons to be optimistic, and a few in Geneva show why. (Video clip is on GM plan shutdowns.)

GM to Idle Two Plants

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