Tag: Renault

By on February 16, 2017

1993 Honda Crossroad, Image: Honda

The Japanese market is notorious for being closed to the outside world. It has forced successful U.S. companies to abandon the country, as Ford did recently, and propped-up sales of niche producer Porsche to outstrip sales of corporate giant General Motors. At first glance, it would seem Japanese buyers just don’t want cars built by companies outside the Land of the Rising Sun.

On this side of the Pacific, imports are so popular that domestic manufacturers attempted to make them their own multiple times. We’ve had Opels called Pontiacs and Buicks, Mitsubishis masquerading as Dodges, Toyotas and Suzukis selling as Geos, and Isuzus branded as Chevrolets.

But has it ever gone the other way? Have Japanese brands ever tried to appropriate the automotive culture of other countries to move the metal?

(Read More…)

By on January 18, 2017

Mitsubishi Motors Lancer collage - Images: Mitsubishi

Thinking back to just over a decade ago, Mitsubishi was still in the full-line automaker business. For most needs, there existed an option at your Mitsubishi dealer, which then was a place with functioning lighting and definitely not a former Pizza Hut or Carl’s Jr.

But that’s all changed now, and it has me wondering — is there really a point to Mitsubishi, you know, being a thing?

(Read More…)

By on January 13, 2017

1974 Simca-Matra Bagheera, Image: Matra Sports

The French have always had a penchant for doing things a little differently. Take Matra, for example.

The Matra R530 is a medium range air-to-air missile normally fitted to the Dassault Mirage fighter jet.

The Matra M530, on the other hand, is a mid-engine sports car. Of course, that was no coincidence, as the first real Matra sports car was named after the missile built by the same company’s weapon division.

Yet the company’s abnormal conventions didn’t end at naming a mid-engine sports car after an infrared homing missile, making Matra one of the more interesting — albeit obscure — footnotes in French automotive history. The company went from producing front-line weaponry to winning the Formula One title in five years, won Le Mans three times on the trot, and produced some of the first minivans. Yet, at the height of their power, they hung up their automotive jacket and today they produce….bicycles? (Read More…)

By on December 29, 2016

1995 Ford Transit Supervan 3, Image: Ford

There comes a dreaded moment in many automobile enthusiasts’ lives when the reality of having a family and the need for practicality outweighs all other considerations.

Enter that dreaded “V” word.

Getting a van — especially a minivan — is for many the automotive equivalent of getting neutered. You’ve given up, capitulated. Your desires to apex corners and outrace sports cars are now parked firmly in the third-row tier of importance, and haulin’ ass has been replaced by just hauling asses.

But getting a people-hauler doesn’t have to be all bad. In fact, there are quite a few vans people claim are “good to drive.” While I’ll take their word on such things for the time being and soldier on with my wagon addiction, let’s take a look at some more inspired options for heavy-duty hauling that made the prospect of a van actually seem quite cool.

(Read More…)

By on December 13, 2016

2016 Nissan Leaf, Image: Nissan

Renault and Nissan will build the next-generation Zoe and Leaf electric cars using a shared platform. The cooperative endeavor should result in leaner, cleaner, and better EV technologies — something the Japanese automaker needs to implement immediately in the helplessly floundering Leaf.

While the models will have their own distinct styling, they will share the same basic framework and electric motors. Arnaud Deboeuf, senior vice president of Renault-Nissan BV, said that the new generations of the Zoe and Leaf would compete in the same segment. However, since the current Zoe is a supermini, it will need to be sized up into a compact or the Leaf will need to be miniaturized slightly.  (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2016

Alpine (Renault)

Dormant since 1995, Alpine is re-opening shop and taking reservations for its “Première Édition” — an exclusive version of its forthcoming rival to the Porsche 718.

In 2012, Renault announced plans to join forces with British track car wizard Caterham to develop a new platform for a shared sports car for Alpine and Caterham (think Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86). Seemingly disinterested in making anything even remotely useful off-track, Caterham abandoned Alpine to carry on with the project alone.

After dropping the Vision Concept earlier this year, Renault is now ready to take orders for the unnamed, A110-inspired Alpine model and officially bring the French performance brand back from the grave.  (Read More…)

By on December 7, 2016

2016 Nissan Titan XD PRO-4X Grille, Image: © 2015 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Nissan and Renault consummated their marriage in 1999, but some family members still aren’t happy living under the same roof.

In an effort to put a lid on infighting, Renault-Nissan has asked its head of powertrain engineering to take a walk, replacing him with a company veteran who — the company hopes — can bring both sides together.

The alliance needs a hug-filled happy ending in a hurry, as regulators are gunning for the automaker’s not-so-clean engines. (Read More…)

By on October 14, 2016

alpine_moments_la-route_bleue-1200x675 (1)

A modern take on one of the sexiest four-cylinder cars of the 1960s will officially debut before the end of the year, and there’s a chance it will find its way to these shores.

Alpine, a reborn subsidiary of Renault, is putting the final touches on the production version of its Vision concept, a practical sports car that harkens back to the glory days of the nearly forgotten brand. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2016

1993 Mitsubishi Diamante wagon, Image: © 2015 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars

Carlos Ghosn, the synergizing executive that Sergio Marchionne only wishes he could be, isn’t mincing words when it comes to Nissan’s plans for fledgling automaker Mitsubishi.

According to the Renault-Nissan top boss, the deal between Nissan and Mitsubishi is “massive.”

(Read More…)

By on September 30, 2016

Renault Duster

Few good news stories seem to originate in Iran, but Renault wouldn’t agree.

The French automaker has inked a deal with the government of Iran to massively boost vehicle production in the middle eastern country. (Read More…)

By on September 30, 2016

BMW i3 and i8

A day before the Paris Auto show opens to the public, Amnesty International has accused manufacturers of clean, green electric cars of having dirty hands.

The human rights organization threw a wet blanket over the large crop of EVs exhibited in Paris, issuing a release targeting certain automakers for indirectly employing child labor in the construction of its vehicles. (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2016

Rio_2016_logo.svg

I’ve been glued to various screens watching The Games of the Thirty-First Olympiad, much like many of you, I assume. Streaming some lesser-known sports, such as kayak slalom, which resembles a water autocross save the distinct lack of Tilley hats, has helped me get through slow days at the office.

But like any other time I’m watching a broadcast from another land, my petrol-addled mind wanders to the streets outside the televised event’s venue. I daydream about the cars parked there. What are those people driving that I can’t get here?

(Read More…)

By on June 21, 2016

2016 Dacia Duster Commercial “Another one bites the dust.” Queen, 1980.
“Another one drives the Duster.” Dacia, 2016.

As the elites gaze at yet another Dacia Duster drive by, they adopt the 36-year-old words of Queen. Sort of.

“Another one drives the Duster,” Dacia’s latest ad repeatedly says.

“Relax, you can drive one too,” the commercial ends. And if you live in one of Dacia’s mostly European markets, you surely can. The Dacia is priced from only £9,495 in the United Kingdom, less than half the price of Nissan UK’s Rogue twin, the X-Trail. (Read More…)

By on May 12, 2016

s-l1600-1

No one designs cars like the French — though many would say that’s a good thing.

Uniquely styled, mechanically complex, and (sometimes) rewarding to drive, French cars are an experience like no other. Buying a French classic is a bit like being married to a supermodel: They can be very high maintenance, but the rewards are well worth it.

Here are five of the most fantastically French cars you can buy in America.

(Read More…)

By on March 4, 2016

E10 + 100 Percent Gasoline at the Pump

Gasoline is gloriously cheap and the automotive industry is taking a break from the tiresome “more mpg” game.

That, Christmas comes early for Volkswagen employees, Carlos Ghosn has a plan to save big bucks, Google is luring more humans and Bentley can’t build enough SUVs for the “you call this caviar?!” crowd … after the break!

(Read More…)

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