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British car manufacturers out in force at 2012 Paris Motor Show

30 Sep 2012 at 09:14

The British motor industry is alive and well – thriving, in fact – as was proven to the world at last week’s 2012 Paris Motor Show.

Taking on the might of the Germans the Japanese and the French on home turf, British manufacturers took the covers off some of the most exciting, important and awe-inspring metal at the international expo.

What were the motors that made it so remarkable? Well, take the new Range Rover – lighter, more efficient yet faster and more luxurious. Who can argue with credentials like that? Sister company Jaguar was on hand to back the message up and fire a bolt of fear into the hearts of Porsche and Audi too, with its new F-Type sportscar.

This two-seat roadster really is a spiritual successor to the E-Type and it looks stunning. OK, so it might not have the effortless flowing curves of the two-seater from the ‘60s, but this is 2012 – and the chiselled front end and muscular, taut rear haunches were certainly enough to grab the gaze of the assembled critics.

And if that wasn’t enough, just a short way from the Jaguar Land Rover hullabaloo was a glittering McLaren stand. It’s been 20 years since the launch of the F1 road car and the Woking-based constructor was ready to celebrate with the release of an all-new hypercar. The P1.

It might not be pretty in the traditional sense, but this is function dictating form – the new car can produce as much aerodynamic grip as the firm’s full-on GT3 spec MP4-12C racer. The world’s press took note…

But it wasn’t just the high-end metal (or carbon fibre as the case may be) that put the British automotive industry in the spotlight. Even down to the city car sector Blighty was well represented. The Vauxhall Adam showed MINI, Fiat et al. aren’t going to have things their own way. Myriad customisation options, a cute but quirky face and a smart interior showed that Vauxhall mean business.

OK, it’s not strictly a ‘British’ car, but where do its creator and exterior designer hail from? You’ve got it: even this stylish city car has British genes…

There were reminders of the strength of the automotive sector in the UK everywhere. Honda’s new British-built small diesel engine, the latest British-built Toyota Auris, the continuing story of success for Nissan in Sunderland – British manufacturers stole the show across the board.

The future’s bright. The future’s British.