Cautious optimism on display at Frankfurt Motor Show
‘No major signs of uptick but it does feel like we’re running along the bottom’
Picture taken with slow shutter speed shows visitors strolling over the stand of German car manufacturer Mercedes Benz during a media preview day at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
A charging plug symbol sits on the floor near the wheel of a Fiat 500e electric automobile, produced by Fiat SpA, at the 65th Frankfurt International Motor Show in Frankfurt.
As the Irish motor trade seeks another incentive scheme to boost flagging new car sales, there is better news emanating from Europe’s biggest motor show, which opens to the public in Frankfurt today.
While this year is expected to end with the sixth consecutive decline of the European new car market, there are indications that executives are cautiously starting to prepare for a recovery. “We are at bottom,” Stephen Odell, Ford’s European head, said at Frankfurt Motor Show. “There are no major signs of uptick but it does feel like we’re running along the bottom.”
Over at General Motors, Karl-Thomas Neumann, hired this year to run GM Europe, was cautiously upbeat. “No one here is expecting any wonders to happen, but I’m relatively confident that we’ve reached the bottom.”
“Perhaps a little bit of optimism is justified,” said Trevor Mann, Nissan’s executive vice president. “But . . . we should not get over-enthusiastic.”
The general lack of exciting new production cars at the show this year reflects the mood of crisis that gripped the industry in 2011, the last time the Frankfurt show was held. This time the talk is of the new model pipeline being primed for 2015, with many of these concept cars entering production then. That in itself is a sign of optimism returning to the industry.