europe – 3/4 –

Cadillac has been pretty busy these days, launching some very interesting cars, including the CTS, the CTS Coupe and more importantly their V-badged performance editions. They, alongside the new XTS Platinum concept might give European carmakers like Mercedes-Benz or BMW something to think about.

After the Detroit Auto Show, Bryan Nesbitt, the brand’s manager, has revealed that his company is preparing a big return to Europe, and will sort out the problem of dealerships, seeing as how its Dutch partner, Kroymans, isn’t in the best of financial situations.

“We’ve got multiple proposals along all those lines and we’ll make a decision soon. I’d like to be at Geneva with a solution,” said Nesbitt.

The possibility of using Opel/Vauxhall dealerships is also rumored these days, but Cadillac isn’t ready to make a statement just yet. What do you think? Would the new Yankee models manage to find a following in Europe? Leave your comment below.


Post tags: Tags: Cadillac, europe, General Motors, gm

Frankly, out of the current crossover crop which has assaulted the market, the Volkswagen Tiguan is one of my favorite, even though it hasn’t really turned into a fabulous best seller for the German company.

In order to satisfy those with a hunger for higher end accessories, VW has now revealed the Track and Avenue edition of the Tiguan, which will be exclusive to the European market, but not in the UK.

Customers will see options like a set of 19-inch alloy wheels, flared arches, a brand new diffuser, restyled front fog lights accompanying bi-xenon headlights, plus they will be able to choose from two new colors: Oryx White Pearl Effect and Island Grey Pearl Effect.

On the inside, you’ll be able to see things like leather upholstery, sport seats, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel plus an upgraded sound system.

This upmarket model will be coupled with the 2.0-liter TSI engine, which outputs 197 HP, and can be fitted with a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox, while two flavors of the 2.0-liter TDI engine will be available, one developing 138 HP, available only with an automatic, and a more powerful 168, which can be coupled with manual.

Overall, this new Track and Avenue edition of the Volkswagen Tiguan will see its price start from €38,225 ($55,640).


Post tags: Tags: europe, Volkswagen, volkswagen tiguan, volkswagen tiguan track and avenue

The Tata Nano is certainly getting its fair share of news stories these days, from the presumed pick-up based off of it, to some rather nightmare-inducing aftermarket tuning options. But now, the guys at Autocar have received a prototype of the European version of the Nano low cost model, which will most likely debut in 2011.

The new car is definitely a more upmarket model than the Indian one, if you can call things like a five-speed manual gearbox, traction control, power steering, ABS or twin airbags luxuries. It will be powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine, outputin 60 HP, and coupled with the aforementioned gearbox, as opposed to a four-speed Indian one.

A major aspect of the Europa Nano will be its small size, being extremely short than other regular A segment models. No word yet on whether or not this specific version will be a five-door, or retain the lack of any boot access from the Indian-spec ones.

But all these luxuries will come at a cost, as Autocar speculates that the final price will be around £4,000 – £5,000 in the UK, translating to €4,400 – €5,400 or $6,500 – $7,500. For what if offers, do you consider it a bargain? Let us know by leaving a comment.


Post tags: Tags: europe, Tata, Tata Nano, tata nano europa

I’m sure most of you now know that Fiat is calling the shots for Chrysler, after it saved it from bankruptcy. While it has already laid out the plan for the Pentastar brand in its native USA, things have been rather sketchy in terms of its European future.

Rumors ranged from Fiat scaling back the Chrysler brand to downright eliminating it from the market. But the most recent measure, to merge Chrysler and Lancia under the same leadership of Olivier Francois, and the recent statements from Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne show that Chrysler will still be a part of the European car scene.

Unfortunately, Marchionne declined to say what will happen with the American brand, but rumors are already starting to appear, saying that Fiat will follow the same strategy GM has with Opel and Vauxhall, going as far as rebadging Lancia models like the Ypsilon and Delta with the Chrysler logo.

Nothing is for certain though, and until we hear it straight from Fiat, Chrysler’s European future is unknown.


Post tags: Tags: Chrysler, europe, Fiat, Lancia

During the conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark, last weekend, about climate change and how developed countries will take measures to lower their emissions, Renault took the change and presented two fully-working prototypes of its Fluence and Kangoo Z.E electric vehicles, which are planned to arrive around 2011 in select European markets, like Denmark or Israel.

The prototypes will travel around Europe and stop in various cities, where potential customers can test them out and see if it is worth waiting and saving up for the eco-cars, which are part of the French company’s push onto the EV market, which isn’t fully developed on the old continent.

In case you didn’t read our first article about the Fluence Z.E., it will be built at the Bursa plant in Turkey, alongside the regular Fluence, and will be powered by a 93 HP motor, which develops a torque of 226 Nm available from the start. The lithium-ion battery will be mounted behind the back seat, reducing the trunk space of the model, and also adding to the weight. It can be charged in three ways, either through a conventional 220V socket, which will completely charge it in 6 to 8 hours, through special quick charge stations which have 400V sockets, completely filling it up in 30 minutes, or by using the QuickDrop system, which in three minutes sees a brand new battery mounted in your car.

Overall, the new Fluence Z.E., alongside the other models Renault has planned for the EV market, is looking extremely interesting.


Post tags: Tags: Electric Vehicles, europe, Renault, renault fluence, renault fluence z.e., renault kangoo z.e., renault-kangoo

Besides unveiling the new models and facelifts for the North American market, Infiniti is also taking care of its European customers, and revealed the upcoming FX Millionaire Edition, which will launch exclusively in Europe, at the Amsterdam Millionaire Fair.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when you hear about a millionaire’s car, exclusive ornaments with the likes of gold, platinum or diamonds immediately come to mind, straight from a rap video of some sorts. But Infiniti took a more distinguished approach, and offers a more exclusive look to its FX series of models, consisting of the FX37 and FX50.

The paint scheme, as you can see is in White Moonlight, although you can order Obsidian Black, with dark graphite inserts on outside elements like the the 21-inch wheels, the grille, air dam, roof rails and window contours. On the inside you will find a blend of Alcantara with brown stitching contrasting with carbon fiber inserts. Exclusive gadgets from the catalog are also included, from the navigation to the Around View Monitor and Bose audio system.

The Infiniti FX Millionaire edition will start from €95,450 (around $144,000), thus earning its name. Only 100 models will be made, so all you millionaires might want to hurry up.


Post tags: Tags: europe, Infiniti, infiniti fx millionaire edition, infiniti-fx

After seeing the results from the IIHS in terms of the safety ratings for the newest cars launched on the North American market, the independent organization EuroNCAP has also revealed its results from the crash tests it conducted with the new models from the old continent.

Out of the 12 new cars tested, 10 of them managed to score a perfect 5 stars of out 5 for their safety precautions. Props go to the new Chevrolet Cruze, which managed to score a 96% safety rating for its inhabitants, with high marks also going to the Opel Astra, BMW X1, Citroen DS3, Infiniti FX, Mazda3, Mercedes E-Klasse, Mercedes GLK, Peugeot 5008 si VW Scirocco.

The two cars which didn’t manage to get the highest safety rating were the new Chevrolet Spark, which could’ve gotten it if ESP was standard on all of its versions, and the Toyota Urban Cruiser, which managed a 56% safety rating for its inhabitants, scoring only three stars

Overall, in case safety is your primary concern, these new results from the EuroNCAP will definitely help you in the hunt for a new car.


Post tags: Tags: euro-ncap, euroncap, europe, safety

If you’re in the market for a brand new pocket rocket and want something truly exclusive that any boy-racer can’t even dream, then perhaps you should know that Honda’s performance division, Mugen, has announced that it will be developing an even more powerful version of its hot hatchback, the Honda Civic Type-R.

Dubbed the Ultimate Civic Type-R, the new car will benefit from an increase of power from 198 to 237, and 10% more torque all across the rev range. Other improvements include new pistons, camshafts, intake manifold and, of course, a new stainless steel exhaust system. Add a revamped suspension system with a limited-slip differential and you’ve got yourself one of the most hardcore Type-R Civics.

Of course Mugen couldn’t neglect the outside of the car, and besides the new bodykit, they added a massive wing in order to generate downforce and make it look that much cooler. Adding to said “cool” factor will be a set of forged alloy wheels, which will allow air to pass to the new racing brake calipers.

In case you’re eagerly awaiting this new model, be warned that only 20 will be made, each with the asking price of £38,599 or €42,348.


Post tags: Tags: europe, Honda, honda-civic, honda-civic-type-r, mugen, ultimate

The future is coming, whether we like it or not. We’ve seen cars that drive themselves in various science fiction movies, but it seems that Volvo, alongside a few other companies and the European Union is working on actually creating them, with testing to begin in 2011 and production-ready models in 2015.

Now for the details of the matter: the Volvo Car Corporation, alongside Volvo Technology and SP Technical Research Institute (from Sweden), Ricardo UK Ltd (from the UK), Idiada and Robotiker-Tecnalia (Spain) and Institut fur Kraftfahrwesen – IKA (Germany), together with the EU, are working on a new type of technology which will not only drive the car itself, but also reduce car accidents, lower CO2 emissions and improve fuel averages.

How is it done you might ask, well it seems that it is all based on an auto train, as a professional driver will lead a convoy, in a bus or any other vehicle, and other drivers with the same destination will be able to put it into the navigation system which will lead them to the closes auto train. He will then be able to enter said train and the system will take over all of the driving, while he can do whatever he pleases, like read a newspaper or watch TV.

When he is approaching the destination, the car will warn him and he will take over, leaving the train and going into his desired direction. The cars behind him will close the gap and everything will happen without any intervention from the other drivers. Those who wish the join the convoy will just signal their intention and connect to the last vehicle.

All of the systems necessary for such a strategy will be standard in every car, meaning that anyone will be able to join these convoys. You can view a higher resolution picture of the model here.

Overall, it seems like a pretty interesting idea, but let’s just wait for the tests to start in the next few years before claiming that this is the car future we have been expecting. What do you think about this initiative? Share your view by leaving a comment.


Post tags: Tags: EU, europe, European Union, future, technology, Volvo

Fiat, Chrysler’s newest partner in “crime”, has revealed that it will unveil most of its future plans at the middle of November. But until then, a rumor has begun to spread like wildfire regarding the Dodge brand and its European presence.

It seems that due to the small sales figures and that many changes will soon be implemented in the lineup, thanks to the work Alfa Romeo has been doing with the American brand, Fiat will withdraw Dodge from Europe.

This will help Fiat implement a new marketing push to introduce the Chrysler car brand as a premium one in the new continent. This will also allow, as I’ve said, for Dodge to spend its efforts collaborating with Alfa Romeo on new platforms for more attractive models.

Dodge has been present in Europe since 2006, but its bulky and rectangular models haven’t really been up the alley of many buyers in this continent. But in case you did fancy some of their cars, now’s the best time to buy one before the brand disappears. Are you sorry about this possible fate for Dodge? Leave a comment with your feelings.


Post tags: Tags: Chrysler, Dodge, europe, Fiat

Well this isn’t really a surprise, but sales analysis company Jato Dynamics has revealed that the best selling car in Europe during the month of September was the Volkswagen Golf hatchback, with 59,552 units sold. What’s more interesting is that two other hatchbacks also occupy the next two steps, with the runner up being the Ford Fiesta with 51,291, and on third the Opel Corsa model, with 38,497 cars sold.

The company also revealed that it has recorded a growth in the car market, largely due to various government running incentives similar to the Cash for Clunkers one, in which people could trade in their old vehicles for vouchers which could be used to buy new ones. A lot of people have chosen smaller cars which are better suited for city life.

But as most of these government programs are coming to an end, analysts say that another fall of the market might be expected until the end of the year.


Post tags: Tags: europe, Ford, ford-fiesta, Opel, opel-corsa, Sales, Volkswagen, volkswagen-golf, vw

While Europeans didn’t really embrace hybrids like North Americans or the Japanese, there is certainly a lot of effort made in order to create the infrastructure for ecological models to be released in the old continent. As such, Honda has just revealed that it is indeed planning to launch its FCX Clarity model which is powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

While no concrete release date was offered, as the infrastructure isn’t still up to par with the one in California or Japan, Honda executives did praise the Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Norway or Finland, for their efforts to create hydrogen fueling stations.

As you know, the Japanese model uses an electric engine which develops 136 HP and has a range of 460 km, with a top speed of 160 km/h. Among the new ecological cars, it has won many accolades, including from Top Gear’s James May, which tested it two season ago in California. Hopefully the old continent will start building more and more hydrogen fueling stations, pushed by the recently formed hydrogen alliance, and we will see the Clarity on our streets.


Post tags: Tags: europe, Honda, honda fcx clarity, Hydrogen

Recalls are almost a normal part of the car manufacturing industry, as even the best markers can’t see potential problems when their new models go off the assembly line and straight to dealerships. That is why recalls for cars with severe problems are something mandatory in countries like the United States or Japan.

Now though, it seems that they will also be mandatory in Europe, as a new directive passed by the European Union will force all automakers to recall their models which have encountered severe safety issues or can affect public health, road safety or the environment. These measures will be made once a special committee will asses the case and find out if the car maker is to blame for that fault.

The aforementioned directive, 2007-46-EC from the first of May 2009, will unify all of the laws from the member states of the European Union and govern the car makers from each country. When the faults are fixed, the same committee will test some of the cars and make sure that the problem, or any other potential ones won’t appear and that they are once again safe to be on the roads.

All in all, it’s great that the EU has finally decided to pass such a directive. Recalls are for the greater good and can save plenty of things, depending on the problems for which the car needs to come back to the factory.


Post tags: Tags: EU, europe, European Union, recall, Recalls

Ratan Tata, Tata Motor’s boss, has very ambitious plans for the Nano, the $2,000 car which was officially introduced this March, but created a lot of buzz ever since the first details about the project were announced. According to Mr. Tata, we might see the Nano in the United States within two years, priced at $2,300. “It will need to meet all emission and crash standards and so we hope in the next two years we will be offering such a vehicle in the U.S,” Ratan Tata told a panel at the Cornell Global Forum on Sustainable Global Enterprise late Wednesday. There’s also an European version of the Nano, which is scheduled to debut on the ‘old continent’ in 2011.

So, will the $2,300 price tag and the 65 mpg fuel consumption be enough to bring the Tata Nano success in more developed markets than India, for example? It’s hard to say now, not to mention in two years, because a lot can happen until then. And even though I’m a fan of the Indian project, I’m a little skeptical about it making it on markets like the United States or Europe, but who knows we’ll just have to wait and see.


Post tags: Tags: europe, Tata, Tata Nano, united-states

Nissan has announced the 2010 Nissan Cube, the third generation of their weird looking car launched in 1998. “The new Cube is designed for people who imagine a life less ordinary, who have grown tired of the never-ending pursuit of faster, more powerful, more outrageously styled cars,” said Yosuke Iwasa, Segment Chief Product Specialist. “The quieter, more harmonious qualities of the Cube have attracted interest not only among young people, but for those in every walk of life. While carrying forward the concept of the original Cube, this latest edition has advanced significantly, including offering far greater comfort.”

As you can probably imagine, power and aerodynamics are not these car’s main attractions, the Cube being offered with a 1.5-liter HR15DE engine, e-4WD system featuring standard XTRONIC CVT with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) which Nissan claims offers an improved fuel economy. The interior however, is very versatile and funky, with an open cabin, conceived with the image of a Jacuzzi, curve-shaped instrument panel, “Fine Vision” instrumentation, “skylight”-style glass panel roof with shoji-style shade to diffuse sunlight and “water drop” ripple design motif in cupholders and other cabin details.

The new Nissan Cube will go on sale in Japan on November 26 (prices ranging between $15,000 and $20,000), in the spring of 2009 the United States will get it, while European customers will be able to place their orders starting with fall 2009. Check out more photo after the jump. (more…)

Post tags: Tags: europe, japan, Nissan, nissan cube, united-states