Niche super-car makers steal Geneva show

March 19th, 2009 - 9:06 am ICT by IANS  

By Thomas Geiger
Geneva, March 19 (DPA) Niche car producers stole the limelight at the Geneva Motor Show with such high-end sports car makers as Maserati, Lamborghini and Aston Martin apparently unaffected by the global financial crisis.

“There is a small section of customers who neither look at money nor carbon dioxide emissions,” says market analyst Nick Margetts of Jato Dynamics.

If sales show a downward trend, these manufacturers use another trick.

“They reduce the production run. If a sports car becomes a collectors’ item, it makes it so much easier to sell,” Margetts says.

The Audi subsidiary, Lamborghini, has limited the Murcielago Super Veloce to 350 units. The aggressively-styled sports car is 100 kg lighter and comes with a power package of 493 kW/670 hp and a top speed of 342 km/h. The price tag starts at 357,000 euros ($453,800).

South African sports car maker Perana, in cooperation with the Milan design studio Zagato, unveiled the P-One, a two-seater V8 coupe. Production is limited to 999 units. Priced at less than 50,000 euros ($63,500), it is cheaper than many medium-sized sedans.

The exclusive Aston Martin One-77, limited to 77 units with each vehicle selling for 1.4 million euros ($1.77 million) will probably be available in about a year. But marketing boss Ulrich Bez has disclosed some details. The V12 engine produces more than 700 hp and accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds. The top speed is over 320 km/h.

Despite its price tag of 892,000 euros ($1.133 million) the Mercedes SLR 722 Stirling Moss, produced by Formula 1 partner McLaren, has virtually been sold out. First unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show three months ago, production is limited to 75 units. The power package has an output of 478 kW/650 hp.

Ferrari has also joined the limited edition club, revealing in Geneva the F599xx racing version. The V12 engine has been boosted by 59 kW/80 hp to 515 kW/700 hp featuring an array of lightweight materials and race car chassis. The Italians have not announced the price, but a company spokesman said in Geneva that production would probably be limited to between 20 and 40 cars.

Based on the Bugatti Veyron, the German luxury maker Kourosh Monsory unveiled in Geneva from the Vincero featuring fine leather materials and an explosive 815 kW/1109 hp power unit. All can be had for 700,000 euros ($888,000), but Monsory expects to produce a maximum of three vehicles.

The even more exclusive Bugatti “Blue Centenaire” marks the 100th birthday of the marque which now belongs to the Volkswagen concern. Featuring unique blue colour combinations, the Veyron is on sale for 1.35 million euros ($1.71 million), but will be highly sought after as a single edition.

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