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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: September 12, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

    Frankfurt show: VW’s preview night

    Michael McAleer

    Volkswagen flexed its motoring muscles last night at a preview show in front of 2,352 journalists from 43 countries (they apparently counted us in).

    The Frankfurt show, which opens this morning to the media, is home turf for the German brand and it brought together its stable of brands to showcase its latest wares.

    The new VW Up! takes to the stage

    Top billing, of course, goes to the new VW Up!, which Paddy Comyn reported on last week, but there was room on stage for a new Audi A2 concept (electric of course), the gorgeous new 911 from Porsche and a very impressive concept version of an upcoming Skoda that will slot in between the current Fabia and Octavia models.
    While the Up! will draw most of the media attention given its relevance in urban areas and ultra-competitive price (starting at €10,800 in Ireland) the Skoda is certain to wet the appetites of many motorists. The car not only looks smart but with prices likely to start below the current Octavia range it could well shake up a market already focussed primarily on price and value for money. The Fluence has delivered that share for Renault up to now but Skoda is set to give chase.

    The Bugatti Veyron built in conjunction with Berlin's Royal Porcelain

    As expected from a brand that also boast marques such as Bugatti, Bentley and Lamborghini – not to mention the aforementioned Porsche – within its ranks, there was plenty of mouth-watering metal on display, and some odd-balls. That particular prize goes to a version of the Bugatti Veyron that has been built in conjunction with Royal Porcelain in Berlin. Featuring porcelain inserts on both the interior and exterior, the supercar brand is making no bones about the fact that this is a work of art as much as a car. The display car is the only one built so far but has already been sold – for an undisclosed sum – to a buyer in the Middle East. It’s a viable Veyron but with an immaculate white interior and the various porcelain parts its unlikely to take to the road very often if at all.
    The show didn’t go without hitch, however. Seat unveiled a rather lacklustre concept version of a future replacement for its Exeo but as it made its way off stage the shutters came down a little too quickly, knocking a new kink into the rear tail design that’s likely to have had designers working late into the night to remedy before its public unveiling later today.

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