A host of new car models and technology dreamed up by Midland engineers has gone on show at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.
Gaydon supercar firm Aston Martin showed off its new Rapide Bertone at the annual Swiss show, which is regarded as the most important date on the European auto calendar, while Worcestershire-based Morgan revealed its latest 155mph Plus 8.
It was a case of the haves and have-nots with major players such as Ford and Peugeot having to make cuts to their operations while Jaguar Land Rover announced giant investment plans and revealed the world’s first nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Elsewhere, Birmingham-based Dunlop announced it would supply the tyres to GreenGT H2, the first Hydrogen Fuel Cell Le Mans car.
The Rapide Bertone is unveiled in Aston Martin’s centenery year, and celebrates a 60-year relationship with Bertone with a one-off Rapide shooting brake.
It has been comissioned by a wealthy Aston Martin collector, who helped design the final look of the car, and is sourcing its engine outgoing Rapide’s 470bhp six-litre V12.
The company also took the wraps off its new four-door Rapide S.
Malvern-based Morgan, which always has a strong presence at Geneva, showed its latest Plus 8 as well as its Aero and retro looking three-wheeler models.
The new Plus 8 is the lightest V8 passenger car in the world approved to European safety standards, using technology from the aircraft industry to achieve an unladen weight of only 2,425 lbs.
Ever-growing Midland giant Jaguar Land Rover revealed the world’s first nine speed automatic gearbox which is said to be super efficient and will make its debut in the Range Rover Evoque later in the year.
Jaguar also gave the XFR-S – its fastest ever production saloon – a European debut as well as showing off the new F-Type roadster which will be on sale in the next few months.
Of all the British companies Land Rover is enjoying rapid growth selling more than 300,000 models last year – a record performance and 36 per cent up.
The firm is now in its 65th year and global brand director John Edwards said: “We are an iconic brand in high demand across all of our 177 markets and we have seen 40 per cent growth in Europe despite the economic uncertainty.”
In all some 130 models are making their debut at the annual Swiss show, with Rolls-Royce and Bentley offering up headline grabbers with the unveiling of the Wreath luxury coupe with its unusual rearward opening doors and the Flying Spur limousine.
MINI revealed a new high powered John Cooper Works Paceman model.
Dunlop, celebrating its 125th birthday this year, revealed its latest technologies for hybrid, electric and alternate fuel cars, with the Le Mans car at the heart.
With that announcement, Dunlop is effectively embarking on a specific development programme to cater for future generations of electric and hydrogen powered race cars.