VW will bring hybrid vehicles to Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia - Volkswagen has confirmed that it will offer hybrid powertrain technology in Canada, under its new BlueMotionTechnologies brand. The company unveiled the new brand at the Vancouver International Auto Show.

“Despite a difficult economic climate, Volkswagen is well positioned with its lineup of fuel-efficient vehicles to weather the current storm and prosper in the future,” said John White, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group Canada. “As such, Volkswagen has set out to become one of the world’s greenest automakers.”

Some of the company’s BlueMotionTechnologies already offered include direct-injection engines, dual-clutch gearboxes, and clean diesel engines. The new TDI Clean Diesel meets the most stringent emissions standards in North America and won the 2009 Green Car of the Year award from the Green Car Journal during the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Upcoming BlueMotionTechnologies will include start-stop engine idling, brake energy recuperation, clean diesel engines offered in future models such as the 2010 Golf, and the company’s first gasoline-electric hybrid, which it said it will bring to Canada in the near future.

Barbie's Fiat 500 comes to London, crystals and pink lipstick at the ready

A special, one-off Fiat 500, created to help celebrate Barbie doll's 50th anniversary, has been brought to London as part of a major European tour.

The bright pink 500 Barbie, built in a partnership between Fiat's Style Centre (Centro Stile) and toy maker Mattel, has already driven through the fashionable streets of both Milan and Paris and has come to the UK capital for a similar event.

And as part of its visit, the car is being displayed in a special Barbie presentation at Fiat's London flagship dealer, Fiat Marylebone, in Wigmore Street, W1.

Acknowledging the most famous fashion doll in the world, the bright pink 500 Barbie's gleaming paintwork resembles nail varnish, while its seating is upholstered in soft, silver laminated Alcantara fabrics.

Inside, floor mats have been enhanced with natural silk yarn and there are lip glosses in brilliant colours stored in the glove compartment, along with an LED-lit vanity mirror.

To add to the glitzy look and feel, sparkling crystals decorate interior bezels, hubcaps, window mouldings and the roof-mounted aerial, and there is even an outline of Barbie's famed silhouette on the car's B-pillars.

"Barbie is an icon in her own right and it's fitting that the Fiat 500 – which is also an icon – has linked up with her," says Elena Bernardelli, marketing director, Fiat Group Automobiles UK. "We are delighted that the 500 Barbie has come to London, even more so as it is being exhibited in our flagship showroom."

The Fiat 500 Barbie will be on display at Fiat Marylebone, Wigmore Street, London W1 until Monday, 13 April.

Nano will be Rs 1.56 lakh, In city

BANGALORE: India’s small wonder, the Tata Nano, will drive into Bangalore at an entry price of Rs 1,55,997 (for the standard

That’s right. After adding all the charges like insurance, road tax, handling and registration, value-added tax and the logistics costs, the dream car will be 56% more expensive than its perceived price tag of Rs 1 lakh.

But take heart. Even at that price, the standard version of the Nano is 31% cheaper — and the top end version, the Nano LX — is 5% cheaper than the standard version of the Maruti 800, whose on-road price in Bangalore is Rs 2,23,115.

The Nano’s standard version is also 11% cheaper than a two-stroke autorickshaw. According to autorickshaw drivers, an auto when bought comes as a basic chassis, with additional fittings like the meter and soft roof having to be fixed. Some say that the cost of obtaining permits for driving an auto also increases the cost of the vehicle substantially. Hence, the on-road price of a two-stroke autorickshaw is about Rs 1.7 lakh and that of a four-stroke auto is well over Rs 2 lakh.

Given the Nano’s attractive price, over 2,500 registration forms have been collected from various Tata Motor dealerships across Bangalore since the beginning of this month. This is besides the forms that are being collected at showrooms of Tata Group companies like Titan and Croma.

When the Tata Group first showcased the Nano at the 2008 Auto Expo in New Delhi, the company had said that the Nano was “8% smaller than the M800 externally but 21% more spacious internally.” However, unlike the M800, it does not have a boot. A boot space can be created if the back seats are folded down.