Every few years a motor show is dominated by several new car debuts in one sector of the market.
Normally, the manufacturers avoid any such clashes in a bid to ensure their models receive maximum publicity and attention. But rarely has there been a list of such vital single-sector launches as at Frankfurt 2001.
Any show that offers five new superminis - including the new Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Citroen C3 - would be of interest to fleets, particularly daily rental operators.
But the small car launches at Frankfurt 2001 will resonate far beyond the daily rental market.
These cars will help shake up the entire fleet market by threatening models in the sector above: the C-sector defined by cars like the Renault Megane and Citroen Xsara.
In many cases, B-sector models like the Fiesta, Polo and Citroen C3 will be able to compete with C-sector vehicles in areas like space, safety, refinement and comfort - and beat them for fuel efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
For the first time they will appeal to company car drivers with families. Previous B-segment cars have been cramped four-seaters. The Frankfurt superminis will be proper five-seat family cars.
What this means for the C-sector, who knows. But what's certain is that the clutch of small cars that will debut in Frankfurt looks set to alter the European fleet market for good. Mark Catterall (September 2001)