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Sneak Preview: Frankfurt Motor Show 2019
Implications: The 68th Frankfurt Motor Show kicks off next week with a number of key and eagerly awaited new models, as a number of important new EVs and crossovers take center stage.
Outlook: Among the key new models launched will be the new VW ID. 3 which will lead the flood of EVs that the brand is planning to launch over the next few years. This car will be extremely important to the future of the brand and needs to present a compelling vision of an affordable and useable EV.
The 68th Frankfurt Motor Show gets under way next week with a compelling mixture of new launches, including important production-ready electric vehicles (EVs), imaginative concepts and a selection of new versions of high-volume 'bread and butter' core models. As is inevitable at a major global auto show these days, there will also be a high number of sport utility vehicle (SUV) and crossover launches.
There will be a bit of something for everyone on display at the show. The OEMs have one eye on driving sales in the short term with a raft of SUV/crossover launches and core models like the all-new Opel Corsa. And there is an acceleration into the uncertain future in terms of mainstream and high-end EV launches, best exemplified by the new VW ID.3 and the Porsche Taycan. It is hard to overstate how important both these cars are for their respective manufacturers. VW needs the ID.3 to present a compelling choice for buyers that would never before have even considered buying an EV, a true electric people's car. It is also spearheading the VW passenger car brand's hugely ambitious overall EV strategy, so it needs to be 'right' straight out of the box, with none of the quality issues that have affected other high-profile EV launches recently.
The Taycan is equally important to Porsche. As a brand that prides itself in making some of the best handling and dynamic cars in the world it needs to show that EVs can be dynamic as well. Although premium EVs are already known for the party trick of massive and hugely rapid straight-line acceleration, their sheer weight has thus far limited their appeal as pure drivers' cars. Porsche is hoping to change this with the Taycan. The new Opel Corsa is an important car too. Its sales tailed off badly in recent years as the outgoing one has grown long in the tooth against newer and more advanced opposition. The new Corsa will be a major test of PSA's ownership of Opel and Vauxhall. It will be built completely on PSA architecture and use PSA powertrains. Given the short gestation of the model following Groupe PSA's takeover in August 2017, Opel appears to have done a good job of differentiating the car from the closely related new Peugeot 208. It will also be a key test of the overall strategy that PSA has with Opel and whether it can generate the kind of R&D and purchasing economies that will make the acquisition a success.
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