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Auto Brands Showcase New Products in Geneva

Auto Brands Showcase New Products in Geneva

By Jeff Youngs, March 07, 2012

European consumers and industry types let loose this week at the Geneva International Auto Show, where new production and concept vehicles seem to be plentiful and where technology and design have reasserted themselves as fonts of innovation.

Reports from the Swiss exhibit are that brands are showcasing the next wave of automotive technology and design, aimed at not only the challenging European market but also at the United States and other markets worldwide.

Here's a look at what just some of the brands are showcasing:

Bentley caused a stir with a utility concept called the EXP 9 F, which features large headlamps and lower vents in the grille, as well as 23-inch tires and rims--a considerable departure from the luxury brand's historically conservative styling.

Ford introduced two new vehicles for the European market in its new Kuga SUV and the B-Max compact people mover, the latter of which Ford will use to introduce its Sync interface to the continent. These models are important to Ford's plans to lower costs by using the same designs and parts for vehicles around the world.

The company also highlighted a feature called a "kick-activated automatic tailgate" that will be offered this spring on its Kuga in Europe and already is offered on the Ford Escape in North America. The idea is that, if your hands are full or you're otherwise unable to open the tailgate manually, just kick a spot on the bumper, and it lifts up; it also works in reverse to close the tailgate, the company says. Kick activation uses sensors and is tied in with Ford's keyless entry system. It simply requires a human kick to open the tailgate.

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