CAIRO: Automech Akhbar Al Youm fulfilled its mission this year with a mixture of dreams and reality: a selection of Italian, German and Japanese supercars, some good bargains, and very charming hostesses.
With car models for all budgets and a variety of auto loan packages, cars are more affordable than ever.
Exhibitors used every single way to attract visitors: from refreshing drinks and free gifts (bags, caps, pens, etc) to semi-naked eastern European dancers – Skoda’s booth on the first day was filled with wide open eyed visitors.
The main attractions of the show were indisputably the Italian beauties; the Ferraris and Maseratis were the most photographed, especially the F430 spider that so proudly exhibited its V8 under the glass screen. The cute Fiat 500 made a successful introduction in its first presentation in Egypt:
everyone wanted to sit behind its wheel, see every single detail, and although it is overpriced, 70 percent of the upcoming shipment coming in is already booked. It offers a cheaper alternative to the trendy Mini (almost LE 120,000 cheaper) for rich girls who want to show off at university.
Young men, however, were drawn to Nissan’s “Playstation Generation model, the “GTR. The car is packed with cutting-edge technology, its supercharged V6 surpassing cars that are twice as expensive. Its best feature is the onboard multifunction display system that monitors everything from engine coolant temperature and turbo pressure to steering angle and longitudinal and lateral G-Force. The panel can also display data telling you how effective your driving is.
Video games programmers were involved in the design of the interface.
Luckily, German honor was saved by the sporty and chic C-Class, the topless SL-Class, the newest clever 4×4 the GLK, and BMW’s overpriced sexy sports cars: the new M3 convertible (420hp), the baby Coupé 135i (306hp) the 3 series Coupé and the X range (the offroaders).
The crowd around Minis (Cooper, Cooper S and Cabrio) confirmed the brand’s status in Egypt and the new Clubman was cheerily welcomed by extravagance addicts.
Audi and Volkswagen made a very shy apparition although they presented interesting models.
Audi’s V8 powered S5 and the new A4 adopt curves and subtle lines in an attempt to substitute the brand’s uniform designs by Italian inspired lines. The Passat CC, which enters in direct competition with the Mercedes CLS in the segment of four-door coupes provoked different reactions. Some loved it while others laughed at the idea of a sporty Passat. The baby offroader from VW, the Tiguan surfs on the trend of urban SUVs (sport utility vehicles) and thanks to the VW badge on the hood, it will probably give the less trendy X3 a hard time.
From the country of dragons, the Chinese carmakers offered the cheapest cars – in price and quality – ranging from sedans and compact to 4×4. To be honest, the quality and the technology are improving, and soon, buying a Chinese car will not imply shame. But meanwhile, they still ridiculously lack inspiration. Speranza had the most kids-attracting car: the purple S16, often referred to as the “Candy Car , looks like a caricature sketch of the VW New Beetle.
Many Chinese coupe cars with sports pretentions were presented as well, one of them (Geely) was announced as costing less than LE 75,000, but all of them in fact just share the sedans’ specifications with some sporty elements (two-door line, spoiler, sports seats).
A special mention to Daihatsu’s Materia is due. For LE 100,000 it offers a combination of comfort, safety, style and practicality. The style is futuristic and different from any other car on the road today; the dashboard has a spaceship look that makes you wonder why there is a traditional driving wheel instead of a playstation joystick to control the car. Its rear seats can be folded down and offer space big enough to fit a washing machine.
It’s a clever car and if you like the funky design, don’t hesitate for a second.
One very good surprise is the Renault Logan, in both its sedan and seven-seat station variants. For less than LE 70,000 the sedan offers a great combination of power, safety and economy. Priced at LE 92,000, the station is one of the smartest and most practical cars at the show with seven seats and 180 degree opening rear doors. If you’re looking for economical cars in terms of maintenance, and fuel efficiency, they are just the right choice.
This year witnessed the absence of Peugeot, Citroen, Porsche, Mazda and the emerging giant TATA, which all offer interesting vehicles. g vehicles.