Hopes of Dacia Kwid in Europe vanished by crash test results?

Renault_Kwid-IndiaFor the past 12 years, Renault has enjoyed an incredible worldwide success with its line-up of low-cost models, which are marketed under the Dacia brand in Europe and North Africa, and under the Renault brand in most other markets like Russia, South America, Arabia and India. In fact, these low-cost models currently comprise as much as 46% of worldwide sales for the combined Renault and Dacia brands. In India, the Duster had been the most successful Renault model so far, but the French carmaker has really shaken up the Indian car market when it launched the Kwid small car there last year. The Kwid is slightly larger than the European Twingo, and has a higher ride height, giving it a sort of mini-crossover look. Initially only produced in India and launched there, the Kwid has become an instant hit, with 70.000 orders in the first two months of sales, while Renault’s previous sales record in India stood at less than 45.000 sales in 2014. Production capacity was quickly upgraded to 10.000 units a month and so far Renault has sold every Kwid it could build in India, helping the French brand to a record 4th place in April, ahead of local manufacturer Tata. The model itself has stormed up the Indian sales charts as well, rising quickly to the segment 2nd place, ahead of the Hyundai Eon and unsuccessful Tata Nano, and closing in quickly on the perennial overall sales leader in India: the Maruti (Suzuki) Alto, which suffered a drop of 23% in dealer orders in April, possibly as dealers expect the Alto to suffer from competition from the Kwid in coming months.

Renault_Kwid-Maruti_Alto-Hyundai_Eon-Tata_Nano-sales-figures-India

Sales trends in the A-segment in India. Credit: Team-BHP.com

Continue Reading …

Volvo’s new small models previewed [w/ poll]

Volvo Concept 40.2

Today Volvo unveiled two new concept cars that are, as US vice-president Joe Biden would put it, a “big f’ing deal” for the carmaker. Called the Concept 40.1 and Concept 40.2, the cars preview not only a new range of Volvo small cars, including its first compact crossover, but also a new platform that’s the result of collaboration with Chinese owner Geely.

Continue Reading …

Acura CDX: the next frontier for the brand? [w/ poll]

2017-Acura-CDX-1

As has become customary, weeks before a car premieres the first pictures have leaked onto the internet. Unusually, they are actually of decent quality, which is why I think it’s OK to post them, especially that they bring up an interesting question.

Continue Reading …

Tesla reveals the eagerly-anticipated Model 3 [w/ Poll]

Tesla Model 3After years of speculation and eager anticipation, Tesla finally revealed the Model 3. Or, at least, a version which indicates what the final production model will look like, somewhere between what traditional carmakers call a concept and a production version. The reaction has been overwhelming, with some 180,000 people putting down a $1,000 deposit within 24 hours to get in line for the new EV. So, is the Model 3 really all that great?

Continue Reading …

Photo gallery of the new Alpine sports car by Renault – video on our Facebook page

Alpine-sports_car-2016Today is the official launch of the Alpine sports car brand and its first (concept) model, which will hit European showrooms in the second quarter of 2017. We’ve just uploaded a video of the car on our Facebook wall.

Follow us on Facebook to check it out!

Full photo gallery below.… Continue Reading …

Toyota going to kill off Scion, rebadge cars as Toyotas

Scion_xB-2003Toyota has decided to kill off the US-only “youth-brand” Scion and rebadge its current vehicles as Toyotas by August 2016, which means the experiment to lure younger buyers by desperately trying to be hip has failed. Of course, that was something everybody could’ve seen coming from a mile away when the boxy first generation xB was replaced by something that might as well have been the replacement to the Toyota Matrix.

The Scion line-up currently consists of no cars which couldn’t just have been badged as a Toyota and sold in the regular Toyota showrooms in the first place. Except for the FR-S, which is known as the Toyota GT86 in the rest of the world, current Scions are totally forgettable: the IQ has flopped in the US, the tC isn’t halfway as sexy as a coupe should be, the iA is a rebadged Mazda2 sedan with an uglier nose and the iM is a Corolla hatchback in a market that craves crossovers. … Continue Reading …

Chinese automakers suspect in EV subsidy fraud

Zhi_Dou_D2-EV-ChinaUnder pressure because of air quality concerns in its major cities, the Chinese government has heavily subsidized the sales of electric cars since 2010 and forced municipal governments to do the same. These subsidies could slash more than half of the price of the car or even more, as CarNewsChina reports the Zhi Dou D2 EV can be bought for just 49.800 Yuan ($7.560) after subsidies, which total an astonishing 109.000 Yuan ($16.550).

Such a scheme is bound to cause a distortion in the market place, but even worse: cause companies to fraud, and that’s exactly what has happened, according to various Chinese news media. The Economic Observer in Beijing and National Business Daily in Shanghai reported that unspecified domestic automakers have over-reported sales of their plug-in cars in order to wrongfully claim government subsidies. Some of them are claimed to have reported sales of EVs to subsidiary “shell” companies, only to remove the batteries and reuse them in the next production run.… Continue Reading …

Hyundai shows off its Prius-slayer, the Ioniq [w/ poll]

hyundai-ioniq-1-1Hyundai finally released full pictures and details of its new eco-warrior, the Ioniq. Uniquely for a manufacturer, Hyundai plans for the Ioniq to offer a variety of different powertrains, all using the same body:

  • A standard hybrid, to battle the Toyota Prius and its ilk
  • A plug-in hybrid, to battle the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in and similar
  • An electric version, which will compete with the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt

Continue Reading …

Chrysler debuts new Town&Cou… Pacifica [w/ Poll]

Earlier today Chrysler revealed its crucial new model, the Pacifica minivan. “Wait, isn’t this the new Town&Country?” I hear you say? Yes, the name change is pretty surprising, given that the Town & Country and Voyager were pioneers of the segment and enjoy great name-recognition, but Chrysler’s logic is that they’ve become too synonymous with the old-style minivan and were tainted by the lackluster predecessor. Enter the “Pacifica” name, which last served on an upmarket minivan/crossover model, sort of like the Mercedes-Benz R-Class, that Chrysler retired in 2008 after only five years of sales. Such a name change is not unprecedented, but only time will tell if the new name will stick (as it did when Ford replaced the Escort with the Focus) or whether the carmaker will have a change of heart (as Ford had when it replaced the Taurus with the Five Hundred, only to  change the name back a few years later).… Continue Reading …

Look-a-like: Chevrolet Cruze hatchback and…

Chevy Cruze

Chevy showed off its new Cruze hatchback today, and it’s a pretty good-looking car, with styling that manages to strike a good balance between an aggressive front and a family-friendly shape, and has the potential to do pretty well for the brand. However, there is no denying that its overall stance and some of the detailing look a lot like one if its closest competitors in the marketplace…… Continue Reading …