PORTUGAL’S ANNUAL motor show had a few surprises up its sleeve this year for the quarter of a million or so guests who gawked, dribbled and drooled their way through the 40,000sqm exhibition. The Salão Internacional do Automóvel de Portugal 2006, at FIL in Lisbon’s Parque das Nações, ran from April 28 to May 7 and was, as always, a fantastic success and much enjoyed by car enthusiasts and partners alike, not to mention The Resident team!
With hundreds of car manufacturers displaying their wares, motorcar afficionados had definitely found their utopia, with the Dodge Viper stand proving the ultimate attraction. The Lamborghini and Ferrari stands were also immensely popular, but perhaps the most talked about manufacturer was BMW, purely for its mysterious absence at the event. The launches of several new models, concept cars and environmentally friendly vehicles, even impressed non-car lovers, and gave everyone something to talk about.
Saab nationally launched their 9-3 Cabrio 1.9 TiD at the show, a more attractive and powerful car than its predecessors and Renault’s Clio Sport and concept car Altica, also drew the crowds. The Altica showed off Renault’s idea of the future of motor vehicles, bringing the sporting spirit of a coupé together with a sci-fi vision of the future.
As well as its Ford GT, Ford displayed four new models, the S-MAX and Galaxy (a few days ahead of their launch in Portugal), the new Focus Coupé-Cabriolet, and, for the first time in the country, the new Ford Transit. Finally, with huge importance to the industry of alternative fuel, Ford presented their Focus FFV (Flexi-Fuel Vehicle), a vehicle that uses bio-ethanol with gasoline, lowering fuel costs as well as being more environmentally friendly.
Of course, a huge event like this would not be complete without celebrities. Formula One driver, Rubens Barrichello made an appearance at the Honda stand, and Fabrizio Micolli, an Italian football player, now playing for Benfica was also spotted, maybe checking out the next addition to his garage. All in all, the exhibition was a massive success for both buyers and sellers, and here are just a few highlights of the day.