Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A mini Toureg ... could it really be?

VW's Brazilian unit is introducing a pint-sized SUV that brings back all the magic and fun of the 4x4 VW's of the past. Remember the days when Vermont roads were filled with VW Foxes and Quantums and Ben and Jerry's hadn't sold out to corporate America. Well, those days could return if VW ever decides to bring the new CrossFox here. Sounds very promising.


Monday, April 11, 2005

A sad day indeed

Say it an't so. Rover, the last major independent British automotive company is on the verge of bankruptcy. Last Friday the company anounced that its talks with Shanghai Automotive had collapsed. The deal offered by Shanghai always sounded too good to be true. $1 billion in total investments for a ragged line up of stale vechicles. BWM already took the only two jewels of the Rover crown, Mini and Ranger Rover. Now it looks like Rover is done for good and will never make an appearance in the United States. It was clear when BMW unloaded the debt laden company that operating Rover was a losing proposition, but hey, you can't fault them for trying. The 75 was a great car and when it first hit the market it was arguably the best front wheel drive car in the world. The MG, while competent, never captured the magic of the Miata, a car inspired by the MG's of old. Later attempts to turn Rover and MG into a TVR-like operation also failed. By then it was too late to try and create interest in a marquee that had already become irrelevelent in the marketplace. Still, it is a sad day for any fan of British motorcars and now we can begin mourning the fact that we will never lay eyes on the 75 and MG.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

There is a such thing as a practical convertible

What makes a practical convertible? Right now, GM is pushing its new G6 hardtop convertible in the US as the utlimate in convertible practicality. But if you're really looking for practicality, hop over the pond and check out the Opel/Vauxhall Tigra roadster. This pint sized roadster comes complete with a retracting hardtop and a very practical 1.3-litre diesel engine. Yes, you read that correctly - a diesel engine. There are a few other diesel convertibles available in Europe, but none are as cute and cuddly as the Tigra. Packing a pint sized 70 hp, the Tigra isn't going to win over true driving enthusiasts, but in terms of practicality you can't beat it.

Learn More

Monday, April 04, 2005

Another look at the two new TVRs ( ... sigh)

Here is another take on TVR's two new monsters. Beautiful set of pictures too. I only wish they would make the jump to America. Quality issues aside, there has to be a market for this type of raw motoring experience. Maybe if the dollar wasn't so weak?

Learn More

Sunday, April 03, 2005

GM fails to surprise

Designed, developed, and engineered in Australia, the Holden Adventra looks the part. But just like GM's American brands, it falls short of the competition. Part Opel, part Cadillac Catera, this Allroad competitor is all Astrualian and certainly has an appealing look. It's amazing to think that Holden developed this car exclusively for the Australian market, when not one of its brands in the US has a true wagon crossover. Once again GM is missing an easy opportunity to expand its base with a nice niche product. A Pontiac or Saturn version could have competed quite nicely against the Allroad or Outback. Oh well. Just another missed opportunity by GM. Nothing new there.

Learn More

Friday, April 01, 2005

Smart is saved ... kinda

DaimlerChrysler announced a $1.5 billion restructuring plan today for its ultra-compact Smart brand and is now hoping that Smart will break even in 2007. DamilerChrysler also confirmed that its next generation products will fulfill all U.S. regulations, paving the way for Smarts introduction into the United States. Despite the good news, the company said it will end production of its Smart roadster this year. (The planned sport utility version model will also be scrapped.) For those of us who have been Smart fans since the get go, it's sad to hear because the Roadster looked even more interesting and exciting than the Smart fortwo and Smart forfour. Will someone please tell me why this keeps happening?!?

Thursday, March 31, 2005

TVR - the British Viper

For most Americans, the only exposure they have ever had to a TVR is (1) they vaguely remember their crazy uncle having one, which is now gathering dusk in the back of his garage; or (2) they vaguely remeber seeing some Hollywood star driving one in some terribly over-the-top big budget summer blockbuster (the movie was Swordfish and the star was Travolta), or (3) they spent $8.00 on a copy of the glossy British magazine Car, and ogled over some glorious TVR shots. Back on the continent, TVR keeps trying to move the brand forward, doing what it's been doing for the last decade. Now owned by a twenty something Russian billionaire, Nikolai Smolenski, and located in the British equivent of Atlantic City, TVR is continuing to build a reputation among European motorists as a petrol heads ultimate sports car. Powerful, raw, and as always outrageously syled, these cars are for true adrenaline junkies only. Luxury and reliability come second to function and power. Despite massive improvements in quality, however, TVR still remains the redheaded stepchild of sports car manufaturers. Despite everything TVR has don,e it just can't seem to shake its working class roots.

Two new TVRs are set to change that. The Tuscan 2 and the Sagaris are out to prove that TVR can compete with the worlds best. My step-brother once owned a Griffith 500, TVR's first great car, and can tell you from personal experience that these cars are awesome and would make a great alternative to a Viper or Corvette. Since the Griffith, things have only gotten better at TVR, and if the exchange rate wasn't crap TVR could do well here too. And maybe international super villains wouldn't be the only ones driving these great cars on American shores.

Learn More - Sagaris

Learn More - Tuscan 2