A Coupé From Mother Russia
Jan25

A Coupé From Mother Russia

Lada Priora Coupe

By Andy Bannister

01.25.2010

AvtoVaz Lada logoRussian car giant AvtoVAZ – owner of the Lada marque – has begun 2010 with the launch of a low-volume coupé, with just 60 units slated for production this month.

Based on the company’s existing Priora model, a glance at the new coupé suggests it is unlikely to prompt enthusiasts to besiege the gates of the company’s Togliatti factory, however.

Despite rather ordinary looks and specification, the new vehicle is being presented in the Russian media as something rather special, a patriotic alternative to a foreign car in these hard economic times.

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Ford Defends Durability of Transit Connect, Warning of “Misleading” Statistics
Jan18

Ford Defends Durability of Transit Connect, Warning of “Misleading” Statistics

2010 Ford Transit Connect white panel

By Andy Bannister

01.18.2010

Ford Corporate Logo smallThe new-to-America Ford Transit Connect has been on sale in Europe for some years, and may have a doubtful long-term durability record, according to a newly-published British snapshot of vehicle roadworthiness after three years.

Ford has, however, strongly disputed the validility of the findings.

The Transit Connect was the most troublesome vehicle in terms of failing a maintenance test all vehicles over three years old have to undergo in the United Kingdom annually, statistics released under the UK Freedom of Information Act revealed.

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Left Behind in City Car Race, GM Europe Plans Belated Entry
Jan15

Left Behind in City Car Race, GM Europe Plans Belated Entry

By Andy Bannister

01.15.2010

Opel logoGeneral Motors in Europe is scrambling to catch up with its rivals in the continent’s booming city car market, although it will be at least another two years before its proposed baby Opel and Vauxhall comes to market.

The company’s long-standing tie-up with Suzuki to produce an entry-level model, the Agila, has been a mite disappointing, and is potentially doomed anyway since Suzuki hopped into bed with Volkswagen.

The current Agila, now in its second generation, hasn’t been a roaring sales success, despite offering much more space than rivals like the Ford Ka, Peugeot 107 and Renault Twingo.

The trouble is it looks too big and is just notOpel Agila cute enough to cut the mustard as a city car player, in a market where interior room is less important than image.

It is built in Hungary by Suzuki, and has a near-identical twin sister, the similarly-obscure Suzuki Splash.

It didn’t help that the first generation Agila was particularly ugly, resembling a wardrobe-on-wheels, which made it the butt of many jokes. The latest model is much better looking, but the negative conotations still stick.

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Record Sales Mark Triumphant End to Morgan’s Centenary Year
Jan08

Record Sales Mark Triumphant End to Morgan’s Centenary Year

2010 Morgan Aero 8

By Andy Bannister

01.08.2010

Morgan logoIn these rather gloomy economic times it’s pleasing to report that the most quintessentially traditional of sports car makers, Morgan Motor Company, of Malvern, England, achieved all-time record sales in 2009, the firm’s centenary year.

Some 690 of these time-warp, hand-built gems were sold last year. That’s quite a milestone for a company whose products are undoubtedly a luxury, rather than a necessity.

Sales in the UK market remained constant, at some 280 units, meaning growth came from overseas buyers of the quirky little vehicles. Demand was strong in other European Union countries, notably Germany and France.

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Tata Goes From the Sublime to the Ridiculous
Jan06

Tata Goes From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

By Andy Bannister

01.06.2010

Tata Magic IrisWhile the concept behind Tata’s Nano microcar has won plenty of fans around the world, the same seems unlikely to be true of the Indian company’s latest ultra-low priced offering.

This weird little van rejoices in the name Tata Magic Iris, and is one of the stars of the current New Delhi Motor Show.

Despite appearances of being a jokey concept it is in fact a serious vehicle, and one designed to wean India’s road-users off their habit of piling families aboard motor bikes and three-wheeled rickshaws.

Overladen two- and three-wheelers are a common sight on the roads of this rapidly-industrialising country.

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