Volkswagen is planning a mini-MPV version of its new Polo that could be on sale within two years, as well as a "more macho" successor to the Beetle.
Hans Dieter Potsch, VW board member responsible for finance, said, "A mini-MPV is in an area we have under active consideration. In terms of downsizing, people will not stick to one type of small car or another."
A European VW source told Autocar, "Some firms with excellent core superminis struggle with mini-MPVs or crossovers and vice versa. Properly executed, they can be complementary."
Potsch said, "We have a full product agenda. Markets change more rapidly than we appreciated before. Cutting back on R&D can place you in a troublesome position just when a recovery happens."
Work is continuing on the next Beetle, meanwhile. Another VW insider said, "The new car will be less effeminate, more assertive and masculine so guys are not deterred from buying it. Women buy cars liked by men but it is less the case the other way round."
Honda plans to move the schedule up on for its Honda Fit Hybrid by a year and a half. The new Honda Hybrid will launch in late 2010. Honda made the decision to release the Fit earlier than planned in an effort to meet growing demand for lower carbon emissions.
The Fit is a unique vehicle and will have a starting price of $15,800. The car is universal and features a 2nd row Magic Seat which lies flat revealing more cargo space. There is also a secret box for hidden storage.
The Honda car has 57.3 cubit feet of cargo space with the seats folded down. You can configure your Fit Hybrid in three different modes to give friends, pets and cargo the space they need. While it appears small, the Fit is a subcompact car, but it does have comfort.
Honda has not officially disclosed the timing of the launch of the Fit or the Honda Civic hybrids which will follow. We do know that the estimated time frame is targeted for Fall 2010. The automaker is aiming to sell over 50,000 hybrid Fit automobiles annually.
For the most part, the Fit has fast looks and slick style. From the rear roofline spoiler to its aero-zealous face and fog lights, this swift metro acrobat rocks 16-inch alloy wheels. The hybrid Fit will come in three colors: Orange Revolution Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl and Blue Sensation Pearl.
Fit has easy-to-read gauges that illuminate ambient blue at night, 10 beverage holders, and an iPod compatible USB Audio Interface. The Honda vehicle also has the option to include the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition for urban tracking. This hybrid car caters to excitement.
There'll be no more Prius parked in the garage of City of Toronto Mayor, David Miller. The vintage 2003 Toyota import was chagrined to learn, whilst in the shop to correct an electronics problem, that it had been replaced by a almost-domestically-produced car, a new Chevrolet Malibu hybrid. Although the Chevy is assembled in Kansas, it has parts from over 30 Ontario, Canada auto parts suppliers and the Mayor felt that it would be a positive gesture to make a show of support with the purchase.
Unfortunately for the politician, he may notice that the mpg numbers from his new ride are a little disappointing. His Prius was rated at 52 city/42 hwy (yeah, it's the old EPA rating, but still), while the 2009 Malibu Hybrid is rated at a mediocre 26 city/ 34 hwy. Were it us making the buying decision, we might have done any Canada-content-number-fudging necessary to get ourselves the Ford Fusion hybrid (41 city/36 hwy). Heck, we might have gotten a phone call from Mulally out of it
There's an old saying that "justice is blind," an adage which has taken a literal meaning thanks to a Greek court's decision to dismiss Daimler's lawsuit against a Chinese copy of the Smart fortwo.
This effectively ends a long legal battle which started when Daimler blocked Shuanghuan from displaying the Noble at the Bologna Motor Show in 2007. Although the car was later allowed to go on sale in Europe in early 2008, Daimler kept up the pressure which resulted in Shuanghuan marketing the Noble under the slogan "Smarter than the rest".
The Greek court determined that "an informed buyer would not confuse the Noble with the Smart Fortwo." They also stated that because the two vehicles offer different technical specifications, any exterior styling similarities are irrelevant and almost inevitable because they're both mini-cars.
While many of us are likely to label the court's decision as ludicrous, it follows similar legal precedents set in other European court battles against an onslaught of Chinese clones.
Thankfully, many of the Chinese copies that eventually reach European markets typically fare poorly as consumers balk at their horrid questionable safety, quality and dismal reliability.
Due to the ongoing financial crisis, Mercedes is delaying the introduction of the new E-Class convertible and wagon.
The convertible was originally scheduled to debut in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but the company has now decided to introduce it as a 2011 model at next year's Geneva Motor Show. Likewise, the E-Class wagon will also be unveiled next year but as a 2012 model.
While the move delays some of the E-Class' more popular variants, it allows the company to cash in on sales of the new E-Class sedan and coupe. It also means the convertible will be launched much closer to the peak drop top buying season in spring. More importantly, the delay allows Mercedes to focus on the redesigned CLS, V6 BlueTEC Hybrid, and creating a new four-cylinder diesel engine for the next-generation S-Class.