Reports in October 2012 claimed Volkswagen had begun investigating the creation of its own budget brand. This came after having failed to purchase Malaysian car company Proton or produce a meaningful partnership with Suzuki, and after watching Renault-Nissan make piles of euro on Dacia and plot the return of Datsun.
More detail is being sketched into the Volkswagen Group's plan to launch a low-cost brand for emerging markets. Late last year a German report quoted a VW rep saying that the brand has been interested in building a no-frills car, the kind that would challenge Dacia and Datsun, for a while. With both Proton and Suzuki effectively out of the partnership picture, a report in Reuters suggests VW could go straight to China, developing a car with its joint venture partners and building and selling it
When it was confirmed earlier this year that Nissan wiil resurrect the Datsun brand for emerging markets, the numbers provided the reason. Nissan sold 60,000 vehicles in Indonesia alone last year, and CEO Carlos Ghosn wants to increase that figure to 250,000 units by 2014. Even then, that would mark just a fraction of that market's exploding growth. Renault-Nissan also has its successful Dacia brand in emerging markets as well as Europe.
Time. Patience. Grit. Determination. It will take all of these and more if Volkswagen is to succeed in its quest to become the world's largest and most profitable automaker. But there's one more thing it's going to require: money. Lots and lots of spending money.
Everyone is looking to save a buck these days. Still, there are expenses that you just can't avoid, and whether traveling for business or pleasure, a rental car is often included in the budget. According to USA Today, an Atlanta Budget car rental office is trying a new tactic to help bring down the cost of renting a vehicle, and it involves you becoming a mobile billboard.
Economists and talking heads argue endlessly about our economy on a daily basis. "It's back!," "It's almost back!" and "It's never coming back!" seem to be the leaders among the varied viewpoints we hear and read about. One sector that has apparently begun to rebound is the car rental business. Not necessarily in financial terms, but from the standpoint of customer satisfaction, America's rental car companies are returning to to a position last seen in the pre-recession days.
It's fitting that Ford's first European offering to swim over this way will bring with it another feature that The Continent can take credit for: tap-for-three-blinks turn signal operation. It will appear on the Fiesta this summer, and then migrate to other vehicles in the 2011 line-up, starting with the Super Duty series.
Images of the next generation Nissan Micra have plopped onto the interwebs, and they have brought with them a revelation we are a little ashamed to have come to so late. First, let us say that we really, really dig the Nissan Micra as it is. Sure, we delight most in its hardcore version, but even the gutless four-door variants have that design going for them: the Micra is wonderfully visually compelling.
Images assumed to be the final take on the Citroen C-Cactus have found their way online, and there is a whole lotta ugly going on up front. When we heard Citroen was actually going to make a production car based on the concept we wrote "let's just hope they don't keep too much of the melted-candle look." Thankfully, they didn't.