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2007 Frankfurt Auto Show: Eric at the Show Eating Fried Green Potatoes

Date: Sept 10, 2007

Source: Edmunds Inside Line

Author: Eric Tingwall

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The guest list (which doesn’t include our names for some reason; we just smile and nod until we get in) is like the roster of an automotive journalism all-star game. In addition to several of my childhood writing heroes, GM car guru Bob Lutz, GM Design Chief Ed Wellburn and Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak are here along with some key Opel people. And they’re not just here, they’re socializing with anyone and everyone, even peons like me! Rumor has it that GM chief exec Rick Wagoner’s around here, too, but he must be avoiding me.

The occasion is the unveiling of Opel’s Flextreme concept. Sized between an Astra and a Zafira, the Flextreme is another take on GM’s silver-bullet E-Flex technology. Regardless of how far off the technology is, there’s a lot to like about the Flextreme. The interior design is futuristic, yet not unrealistic. The rear taillights are thoughtfully integrated into the rear windscreen. Opel says the Flextreme’s exterior styling, which includes a wickedly sloped A-pillar, could point toward a next-gen Astra design. You can read more about the Flextreme elsewhere, as I’ll use the rest of this space to pass on some of the most memorable moments from my first full-blown auto press event.

Most down-to-earth auto exec: We’re at an international auto show, and we’re talking with Saturn's Lajdziak about screaming babies and jet lag. Eventually I’ll grow the cajones to talk cars, but it was comforting to know within minutes of meeting her, that Lajdziak and I share a general dislike of napping. I spent a decent amount of time talking with Lajdziak regarding the Saturn/Opel relationship and future products we’ll see from the Ringed Planet automaker. But I’ve got another meeting with the Saturn general manager tomorrow morning and plan to fire off a few more questions so I can put up a whole post on the topic.

Most absurd vehicle feature: Opel’s Corsa and Antara currently offer an option called the Flex-Fix. It’s a tray that slides out from the rear bumper to carry two bikes. At tonight’s premier event, Opel took it a step further, which coincidently happened to be a step too far. Rather than bikes, the Flextreme contains two Segway scooters completely hidden behind its rear bumper. GM claims they’re to be used for those final few blocks you need to travel between your parking spot on your final destination. We thought that’s what feet were for.

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