Tag: Renault

By on July 14, 2017

2015-Buick-Avenir-Concept-10

Today marks the third and final entry in our Domestics Abroad miniseries. This is where we take a look at the models proffered around the globe that wear a domestic company’s badge on the grille, but are not offered in the brands’ domestic markets. This is ground zero for “you can’t get that here.” All nameplates you’ll see in this series are current production models.

We kicked off this series with Ford and its 13 qualifying models. Second was Chevrolet, which had 9 models accounted for, and one which I forgot (you can see it below the jump). The Unmentionables will cover the remaining international offerings from Buick, Dodge, and Ram.

(Read More…)

By on June 21, 2017

Image: 1983 Talbot Matra Ranco, image via KGF Classic Cars

Today’s Rare Ride was inspired directly by this comment on the Question of the Day, where I asked which car brand you’d bring back from the dead if given the chance. Commenter Menlo suggested the oft-forgotten Talbot, and specifically a unique vehicle they used to make.

Now we can all learn about the Matra Rancho.

(Read More…)

By on May 13, 2017

Peugeot 208, Image: PSA Group

They do protests a little differently in France. A French supplier of brackets, bumper and steering column components to Renault and PSA Group might soon close down for good, so the shop’s unionized employees figured it would be best to turn its protest efforts up to “11.”

That apparently means destroying the equipment used to make those essential parts, as well as threatening lives by rigging the factory to explode.

So. Much. Passion. (Read More…)

By on March 10, 2017

Alpine A110

In the immortal words of ex-fighter pilot and Boeing 707 rescuer Ted Striker, “What a pisser.”

The resurrected Alpine A110, which never seemed like it had much of a chance of making it stateside, is officially barred from American driveways. Renault’s retro, mid-engined performance stimulated saliva glands when it debuted last year as a near-match concept car, leading some to dream that a French alternative to Porsche’s Cayman could become a U.S. reality.

The late Charles de Gaulle once said that France has no friends, only interests. Well, France isn’t interested in making this American dream come true. (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2017

Alpine A110

Tantalizing. Alluring. Desirable. And yet, just out of reach.

We’ve all pined for a vehicle made all the more exotic and lustworthy by its complete unavailability in the country in which we live. It’s the automotive equivalent of that would-be significant other — you know, the one you once shared a fleeting moment with, knowing with bittersweet regret that if circumstances were different, this could be Bogie and Bacall.

In Europe, it was the American pony car. The Mustang, that American icon of big-bore, go-where-the-wind-takes-me freedom, remained nothing but a tease for decades. Until, of course, Ford realized it could cash in.

The Chevrolet El Camino’s death in the late 1980s prompted many truck-car hybrid aficionados’ eyes to turn to Australia, where not one but two utes beckoned from afar. Now, teary eyed Aussies are busy stocking shrimp for that bodystyle’s funeral barbie.

Maybe the object of your affection is a Europe- or Japan-only sports car or hot hatch. You’ve investigated steep import costs and searched classified ads in a vain attempt to snap up an enterprising importer’s cast-off, to no avail. Yet the heart still yearns. (Read More…)

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…)

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