The March 8-to-18 event at the Geneva Palexpo is expected to attract abgout 700,000 visitors.
“Geneva may not be the biggest show, but it is certainly one of the finest and most effective image-builders for carmakers,” said Hefti, noting that 260 exhibitors from 30 countries representing 700 brands will be there.
For the first time this year, the Car of the Year trophy, will be presented in Geneva, on March 5th before the show opens, after 59 auto journalists judge it.
Last year the trophy was awarded for the first time to an electric car, the Nissan Leaf.
This year, there are seven car in the finals, including the Citroen DS5, the Fiat Panda, Toyota Yaris, Ford Focus, the Opel Ampera, the Range Rover Evoque and the Volkswagen Up.
The prize was awarded for the first time in 1964, said Hefti, recalling that the winning car then was the Rover 2000, followed by the Mercedes S600, and the Hilman Imp.
During the show, French designer and car fan Philippe Stark will unveil his “green car”, part of the Green Pavilion.
This showcases cars powered by the latest eco-friendly technologies. Visitors can test these cars on a nearby closed circuit.
Among the most awaited new cars are the Audi A3, the third generation of the German model since its launch in 1986, the new Porsche Boxster and the Dacia Lodgy, a low-cost multi purpose vehicle from Renault.
Other new cars expected to feature are the Fiat 500 L, a four-door built on the chassis of the Punto, the Renault Zoe, an electric car, and the luxury Ferrari California.