TTAC readers seem to care not a whit for the flashy stuff. The Jaguar F-Type, possibly the most anticipated press car this year among journalists, lifestyle bloggers and other dubiously affiliated members of the media, garnered less than 50 reader comments. Meanwhile, reviews of the Chrysler minivans regularly generate hundreds. In a quest to be of greater service to our readers (and because I know that another Generation Why can scarcely be tolerated), I decided to sample something that is hopefully of genuine interest to you all: a minivan that is not available in the United States. Like the Chevrolet Orlando, the Kia Rondo is available in a number of countries that did not support the Iraq War, among them, Canada. Like the Chevrolet Orlando, it is supposedly “right-sized” for Canada, thanks to a smaller engine, a smaller physical footprint and an available manual transmission (which will be popular in Northen Quebec and nowhere else). And like the Chevrolet Orlando, it’s hard to rationalize buying one of these when you can have a Dodge Caravan for similar money. (Read More…)
One of the awful side effects of being really really good looking is that you tend to have lots of kids; and four kids later I find myself driving a VW Touran. It is the sensible-shoes option for the sexually successful in Europe- cheap to buy, cheap to run. Drinking in the TTAC cool aid, on a recent trip to the USA I booked a Lincoln Town Car for the six of us from Hertz, and ended up in a Dodge Durango; after which I have found a bit of red on my neck. (Read More…)
Hours after I longed for a return of the Fiat Multipla, Fiat delivered. The 500L Living will be a true MPV, carrying seven. The last Multipla only carried six. It will be a bit longer than our 500L and have the option of a 0.9L TwinAir engine, two diesels or a naturally aspirated 1.4L gasoline engine making 95 horsepower. I’ll pass. It’s not ugly enough to stoke my boiler. But it’s not coming to North America anyways.
The MPV segment, so popular in Europe, was basically invented by the French. The Renault Espace, the grandfather of the modern minivan, was originally supposed to be a Peugeot, until PSA deemed it too expensive and sold it to Renault. Nearly two decades later, Renault disrupted the segment again with their compact Scenic minivan, which spawned imitators from nearly every single brand.
It’s not often that automakers go to the trouble of bringing a car to Canada, but refrain from selling it in the United States. With one tenth the population and different homologation laws than the United States, the costs rarely make it worthwhile for automakers to import unique products to the Canadian market.
In GM’s darkest hour, in December 2009, GM and SAIC cut a strange deal: GM ceded control of the 50:50 China joint venture by selling 1 percent to SAIC. GM also transferred half of GM’s India operations to the Chinese company. GM received a $400 million line of credit. SAIC received access to the Indian market, which it had coveted, but the Indians had sworn to keep the Chinese out. Now they rode in on GM’s coattails.
At the New Delhi auto expo, GM India yesterday “unveiled the first two products from its joint venture with SAIC,” while our friends of Motorbeam.com were in attendance to snap pictures. (Read More…)
Dacia showed off their Lodgy MPV today, giving more fodder for Dacia fans who became aware of the brand via their slavish devotion to Top Gear. The Lodgy is a small minivan available in 5 or 7 seat configuration and sold under a Romanian auto brand certain to go on sale in the rest of Europe, but maybe not in the UK.
From the “how did we miss that?” file comes this Automotive News [sub] story, filed at the beginning of the week, which asked GM Europe boss Nick Reilly about plans for Volt-based variants. Reilly replied
We won’t do it with this generation, and that will run to 2015. You’d have to wait until after that until you see it.
Small-n-funky vehicle nerds, Honda Fit freaks and JDM fetishists with families take note: though we’ve heard no indication of it in the mainstream auto media (and Honda offers no hints of it at its “future cars” page), some Reuters reporting seems to indicate that the Fit Shuttle, which just debuted in Japan, is heading to the US market. Towards the end of a piece on Honda’s silly discount guarantee on out-of-stock cars (Japanese-built cars need not apply… go figure), Reuters notes:
The No. 3 Japanese automaker warned investors on Tuesday that operating profit could fall as much as 65 percent this year because it has had to delay the launch in the United States of major models, including its new Fit Shuttle and a new version of its top-selling Civic
Honda already has 7,000 pre-orders for the Fit Shuttle in Japan, according to another report, which goes on to note that the Shuttle Hybrid costs about $5k less than the Toyota Prius V in Japan. Remind us again, why did Ford decide to cancel its seven-passenger C-Max? To compete more directly with this one-two punch of Japanese hybrids?
When Ford showed the world its new crop of compact-based cars and MPVs at January’s Detroit Auto Show, it announced that its C-Max compact MPV would be coming to the US in 7-passenger Grand C-Max form. But in a strangely prophetic turn of events (see video above), the 7-passenger model refused to show up. Now, according to Ford, the 7-passenger Grand C-Max won’t be coming to the US… instead the 5-passenger version will be sold as a dedicated hybrid model with a plug-in option. Why? Because it’s big in Europe… and because “One Ford.” Hit the jump for Ford’s explanation, and then wonder along with us: seriously, why not sell the 7-seat version too?