On October 3rd, 1984, American Motors announced that the Renault Espace would be imported to North America as an AMC product. 30 years later, the Escpace’s minivan heritage will come to an end.
From the Twitter account of Bob Flavin comes this map of Europe, overlayed with each country’s best-selling auto brand.
While France already offers a subsidy of $8,400 for consumers who purchase a new electric vehicle, a proposed piece of legislation would see that figure expand for drivers of diesel cars, bringing the total subsidy to a staggering $22,000.
First it was Mitsubishi that inked a deal with Renault Samsung to bring their wares over here as Mitsubishi branded cars. Now Fiat is getting into the action, by having Renault produce an unspecified commercial vehicle.
As an occasional user of Car2Go, I’ve come to believe that the Smart ForTwo is one of the least pleasant vehicles to drive. The car’s lone saving grace is its tiny footprint, which makes it ideal for maneuvering and parking in dense urban areas (the air-cooled 911-style pedals, hinged at the floor, would make the cut, were they not utterly joyless to manipulate). The newest Fortwo, visible below the jump, retains the same profile, but that’s not what I’m interested in.
Daimler and Nissan have agreed to a joint-venture that will see front-drive Infiniti and Mercedes models built at a Nissan plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Though a new Alpine is set to come out in 2016, the new car will be lacking in English blood: Renault and Caterham have broken off their engagement to revive the historic French marque.
Who invented the minivan? Americans may be surprised to hear that Europeans place that honor firmly in Renault’s lap. To them, the Renault Espace, which celebrates 30 years of production this June, will always be the epitome of the minivan and no Dodge Caravan or Chrysler Town and Country can touch it. To add to the complication, there is the trifle matter that Nissan introduced its Prairie three years before either the American or European contenders and that it, too, had what are considered the essential traits of the modern minivan.
In the automotive world “Smart” is little more than a punchline, a symbol of bad packaging and failed branding. The current lineup of cars has dragged on for far too long, languishing without any upgrades and watching its market share recede as newer, more exciting entrants come in to play. But the next generation might be a chance for the brand to do a complete 180.