With more than 50 new models from different car manufacturers unveiled, the 2014 Geneva Motor Show evidenced the emergence of new markets and showed the global market’s direction towards hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles. First introduced in 1905, the Geneva Motor Show has since been one of the most popular car shows in the world, with automakers relying on the prestigious event to showcase their latest technologies and concepts.

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To get more insight and details regarding this year’s Geneva show and the international automotive trends, as well as the direction of the car industry, we spoke with A.N. Boukather‘s Co-CEO, Mr. Nicolas Boukather (Exclusive distributors of Mazda in Lebanon). As one of Lebanon’s leading automotive and motorcycle figures, he analyzed what is forecasted to be a huge growth and shift in the global car market since the economic crisis of 2008.

“The 2014 edition of the Swiss show was attended by more than 700,000 visitors from around the world and witnessed the launch of more than 50 new car models.” said Nicolas Boukather. “It has also showed the automotive industry’s future direction and the newest market players.” he added.

“In 2000, more than 50 million cars were sold worldwide with the US, Japan, Germany and Italy accounting to 50 per cent of these sales. However, in the year 2014, we are witnessing the emergence of new markets, and more than 60 million cars are now forecasted for the Chinese, Russian, Indian and Brazilian markets in 2020. In 2020 also, the these new markets (listed before) will account to 50 per cent of the global car sales, compared to 20 per cent in 2020  for the US, Japan, Italy and Germany. Therefore in the new direction we can see that the new markets will attract middle and low budget cars and this is were the concentration of many car makers is lying. Basically it became evident that small engines are now the trend. ” continued Mr. Boukather.

Boukather further elaborates, stating: “In the past 7 years, 500 Million cars have been sold globally. The forecasts show that the coming 7 years will witness the sale of around 750 Millions cars, which marks a growth of 50%. This will open the battle ground of car companies and increase competition to unprecedented levels. This is also why many car companies have shifted their manufacturing operations to countries that bear low costs of production. Addressing the needs of the emerging markets that we have already mentioned will be a priority especially when we speak of 50% of the global market share.”

The industry is heading towards a different automotive ideology thanks to the new environmental laws and regulations. Small crossover SUVs and hybrid vehicles are shaping up to be the future of the automobile market.


Mazda Hazumi Concept

“We have seen the introduction of many compact SUVs in Geneva, including new concepts from Subaru and Hyundai, the BMW X4, a refreshed Nissan Juke, Volkswagen’s T-ROC Concept and many others. Hybrid technology was also very abundant at the show; Honda showcased the hybrid powertrain on the upcoming NSX concept,and Porsche displayed their 918 Spyder and 919 Hybrid sports cars.”

Boukather added: “We look at the racing scene, such as Formula 1 and Le Mans, and see that the direction towards Hybrid technology is inevitable. Formula 1 is now Hybrid thanks to the Energy Recovery System (ERS), and the World Endurance Championship is featuring Hybrid cars from Porsche, Toyota, and Audi in the LMP1 category.”

The finalists for the 2014 World Car of the Year award, recently announced by the jurors at the Swiss automotive event, included 2 hybrid vehicles in addition to Mazda’s lauded Mazda3, which has been launched by A.N. Boukather almost a week ago.

Mr. Boukather reckons that Hybrid technology is being implemented in premium luxury cars and sports cars because it is still not affordable by the majority of people. Hybrid cars target a wealthy customer base, and countries where taxes and regulations are lenient; he believes non-hybrid small city cars, such as Mazda’s Hazumi Concept, will remain leaders in their segments for the time being.

“Mazda’s Hazumi Concept, which previews the upcoming Mazda 2, features the company’s latest SKYACTIV technology that combines the dynamism of a standard petrol powertrain and the efficiency of a hybrid powertrain.”

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