The Geneva Motor Show 2013 Blog

Geneva Motor Show 2013 is upon us and, along with hundreds of fellow British motoring journalists, I’ll be out there in force.

Stay updated with my experiences, sights, discoveries and the state of my feet here, in one motoring journalist’s live blog.

New updates will run from the top… so, here’s to #geneva2013!

Geneva Motor Show 2013 Blog

Wednesday 6 Mar


So now I’m in Grenoble, having got here by Vauxhall Cascada, which embargoes forbid me from commenting on until Sunday. Sorry…

It’s been a bit, er, bitty, this Geneva blog. Thank God I didn’t call it a live blog. It’s all well and good in the planning stage but in this multimedia motoring journalist world, it’s impossible to concentrate on one comms channel.

And that’s why there are professional bloggers, to use channels like this in a live, interactive way. And that’s why the blogging world is so energetic, and why I certainly think it’s worth investigating for a future show. Other channels are super for snap-jack instant response but, for automotive journalism, I’m convinced the best blend of instantaneous reaction and considered thought at events such as motor shows remains the blog.

What do you think?


Literally closed the laptop, ran out of Geneva, jumped into an Opel Vivaro taxi and hot-footed it to a restaurant next to Lake Geneva. Why? To drive the Vauxhall Cascada. It’s embargoed until Sunday but that won’t stop pics and impressions – particularly as, tomorrow, we’re onto Route Napoleon.

Dash to the hotel now though: Geneva work to do when there…


More copy filed; for what? Well, this – the MSN Cars Geneva Motor Show 2013 coverage superpage.

Which is what I’ll be doing shortly, after I’ve trekked to the show and hopefully not encountered too much traffic. Who has the record for the longest delay? I heard an hour and a half yesterday – can anyone beat it?

Tuesday 5 Mar


I didn’t call it live blog for a reason. I finally left Geneva’s Palexpo at 19:00 (when they threw us out the press room) and, via a circutous route, jumped into a Mercedes minibus to a Renault press briefing. Then back, via Audi 80, to my hotel. File two pieces of copy, catch up on emails and think… yes, blog.

It was seven formal interviews at the show, lots of brief conversations, lots of walking about, lots of filing copy, lots of checking spreadsheets and making sure we’re on track, lots of words of praise to @majorgav who was managing operations, brilliantly, for MR back at base. Lunch was two packs of Belvita biscuits. Who cares: I got to speak with Bentley’s CEO, Vauxhall’s MD and two of the key players aiming to make Qoros the next big thing.

Geneva had real charisma this year. It was a memorable show. One full of highlights, and launch battles, and oddities to be celebrated. McLaren v Ferrari is the obvious one. But how about 2008 v Captur? Rapide S v Bertone Rapide? Golf GTI v Kia cee’d GT?

Many motoring journalists will be talking into the night about the show highlights. I might pick it up with them tomorrow morning. For now, it’s a few hours’ kip before Product Wednesday starts – the time when many of us actually get to sit in some cars. This year in particular, I can’t wait.



Standing out in chilly Geneva, waiting to get in. They stick to strict times here. As prepped as I can be: and, as I type the green light at the gates shines. Going in…

Monday 4 Mar


Just back from JLR business briefing evening. Dr. Ralf Speth was there to confirm the Wolverhampton engine plant will DOUBLE its workforce, creating 700 jobs – and it’s not even been built yet! Investment in the facility will now top £500m: yet another good British business news story from JLR.

Sushi with Phil Popham, group sales operations director of JLR, who spoke about the growth potential of the business, particularly in MIST regions. Where? Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey: all regions where GDP growth is predicted to exceed 3% up to 2017. That’s yet another new phrase I’ve learnt today. Embargos mean the others can’t be shared until tomorrow…

I’ve been watching the VW Group night from afar. MR’s @pburgess123 is over there, seeing what looks like a flurry of new product. Skoda Octavia looks brilliantly sensible, SEAT Leon SC looks good, Porsche 911 GT3 looks incredibly desirable. Jury’s out on the Lambo, though…

Email pinging. Best dash and see what else Geneva will wow me with!


The Range Rover Evoque 9-speed drive review from today’s drive is live on MSN Cars. Even if you don’t like autos, you’ll like this. Superb piece of technology.

MSN Cars review of the Range Rover Evoque 9-speed


Just back from Palexpo; interview with McLaren’s Paul MacKenzie, P1 programme director, went well. Appetite suitably whetted there. He admits they’ll be watching the Ferrari reveal with equal relish too – the Italians really have managed a keep-it-under-wraps miracle there.

Dashed across to Car of the Year 2013 awards. Praise be, the Golf won. The best car won, then – with a delicious second place for the Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ. Does this reflect a newfound commonsense approach by the CotY judges? If so, it looks to be led by the Brits, judging by the score sheet…

Writing up CotY now, while speaking with Team MR over email. Busy times. But, @keithwrjones, your mail (and your fine words) is on the to-do list, too… #GoMW remains a priority, naturally…


There was also quite a kerfuffle when I got back to the hotel. Not because I was enjoying my first passenger ride in a very nice new Range Rover… but because TWO Bugattie Veyrons were parked up outside. Heat haze shimmering from the exposed W16, they looked amazing. Garish, sure, but still amazing.


A full-on day already. JLR has rolled out some interesting jewels from its technology development department, including a nine-speed auto Range Rover Evoque and a full EV Land Rover Defender. I’ve just filed the copy on the Evoque: an early heads-up is that nine gears is not too many.

Another passenger ride in the F-Type too, this time with some historical context. The more I sample it, the more it feels alluring, and the more I fall in love with the noise it makes. Doing it early morning, when the roads were still slippery, was a sensible move, too. Dab of oppo indeed…

Sunday 3 Mar


A flight, a JLR greeting and a ride across town in an XF Sportbrake. Passed the VW Group night location, lit up like a pop concert arena: we question each year whether it can get any bigger – this year, it’s sure got bolder. Peter from MR is covering that for us (and seeing the new Lambo that appears to have leaked). Me, I’m at the JLR business briefing. With Dr. Ralf Speth, Ian Callum, Adrian Hallmark and John Edwards in attendance, it should be worthwhile. For now, bed. I’ve an early start and a nine-speed automatic Range Rover Evoque to go and drive…


Just caught up with Volvo HQ PR supremo Duncan Forrester in the queue for the plane. Spoke of energised atmosphere at Volvo, how the product plan stretches to 2019, and how those who haven’t seen the new models will be surprised at how ‘new’ they are. Much more than a facelift: one to investigate on Tuesday.


Furious tapping in Heathrow T5, plus Skype chats, plus emails: now to the middle seat of a BA plane to play arm rest bingo and continue at 36,000 feet. Held off Wetherspoon’s fish and chips to see what the BA roll is. Mmm? Or, hmm…


Sitting on a Purple Parking bus. In 10mins, will be at T5 – for some last minute planning and comms with Team @editorial_mr. They’re a bit military, these motor shows.


I’ve started the blog for Geneva 2013. I initially called it ‘live blog’ but know only too well that this may not strictly be true once I get stuck into show day. It’s an ‘almost live’ blog – and an experiment, into how blogging like this can fit into a motoring journalist’s motor show schedule.