French automaker Citroen might not make money (in fact it lost $6.7 billion last year) but it sure can make a mean diorama.
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General Motors announced today that it will work with French automaker PSA Peugeot-Citroen to develop a new generation of small engines.
Renault’s sports car caught made a splash big enough to justify production, or so it seems.
Since Renault and Nissan formed a strategic alliance in 1999, the two companies have made tremendous strides in streamlining their business, with sales performances significantly improving for both companies.
To further its efforts, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced today that it will establish a new company, Renault Japon Co., Ltd., to import and sell Renault vehicles in Japan.
While Nissan Trading Co. was originally responsible for Renault operations in Japan, the decision to form Renault Japon was based on the need to establish a flexible management system that is able to make quick marketing decisions. Renault Japon will operate as a subsidiary of Nissan Motor Co., working closely with Nissan’s sales strategy.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the legendary Alpine A110 Berlinette rally racing car, rumors of an all-new Renault Alpine concept for the 2012 Paris Motor Show started circulating.
Details are limited for now but some information is available from Renault marketing director Stephen Norman, who says the new Alpine will follow the path of a lightweight sports car but will not be a stripped down track weapon. He added that the performance sports car would be “made to the highest specification. We can’t come out with something that has wind-up windows and rubber mats,” he said.
The Alpine revival powertrain will seek existing components from the Renault and Nissan parts bin to save cost on an additional parts supplier. While that might not seem exciting at the surface, it also means there’s a chance the Alpine could be based on the Nissan GT-R.
Stay tuned for more details and developments as we draw closer to the Paris Auto Show.
[Source: World Car Fans]
Citroën has just released official images of its latest hot-hatch concept model set to premiere at the upcoming 2012 Geneva Motor Show. It’s images like these that convince us the North American market could really use some French metal.
In terms of hardware, the Citroën DS4 Racing concept receives the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine found in many vehicles in the Peugeot-Citroen line-up. Unlike the other models, the engine in the DS4 R has been tuned to produce an incredible 256-hp in DS4 R trim. At an astronomical 160-hp per liter, Citroën claims the ratio is the highest for any mass-production car. New geometry lowers the ride hight by 35mm compared to the standard DS4 and tracks are widened by 55mm in the front and 75mm at the back.
For aesthetics, the DS4 R Concept takes from Citroën’s earlier DS3 R, receiving a similar ground effects kit including sculpted bumpers with wider air intake, a subtle carbon fiber trim around the grille, a rear diffuser , wheel-arch extensions, and side sills.
While details around the new French hot-hatch are limited, it’s power output places the concept squarely against the VW Golf R and Ford Focus ST. More details on the DS4 R Concept will be available as we near the 2012 Geneva Auto Show.
GALLERY: Citroën DS4 R Concept
Peugeot announced its withdrawal from Le Mans effective immediately.
While the diesel Peugeot 908 prototype won the 2009 24 hours of Le Mans outright, and has also earned 14 victories out of the 16 races in 2011, Peugeot has decided to terminate its endurance racing program in order to place greater emphasis on its sales operations amid decreasing profits and a trying European economy.
In hopes to turn things around for 2012, upcoming new model releases include the Peugeot 208, 3008 HYbrid4, RXH 508, 508, and 4008 Hybrid4, each playing a role in Peugeot’s strategy to globalize the brand and position itself upmarket.
While Peugeot’s absence from endurance racing will be missed, motorsport fans can look forward to the upcoming return of Toyota and its new LMP1 hybrid program for 2012. What’s more, Porsche engineers are hard at work developing their new prototype for Le Mans 2014.
According to the press release, this marks the first ever production of a Mercedes-Benz engine within the North America Free Trade region.
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Daimler Board of Management and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said, “In the context of our Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy, we have decided that we will expand the production capacities required for this close to the customers. Through the strategic extension of our cooperation with Renault-Nissan, we can realize near-market engine production in the NAFTA region on attractive economic terms and make optimum use of synergies arising from cooperation. Thus, we are systematically broadening our manufacturing footprint in this important growth market.”
Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn adds, “This is the newest milestone on our pragmatic collaboration and our most significant project outside of Europe so far. Localized capacity reduces exposure to foreign exchange rates while rapidly enabling a good business development in North America– a win-win for the Alliance and Daimler.”
Nissan first began to assemble engines in Decherd, Tennessee, in 1997. Currently manufacturing 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder engines for the North American produced Nissan and Infiniti products, Decherd has produced more than 580,000 engines in 2011. Production capacity of the Mercedes-Benz 4-cylinder could potentially reach 250,000 engine units per year once full ramp-up is achieved.
If you thought the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport was the last and most impressive iteration of the world’s fastest car, think again. The exotic automaker is reportedly planning one more final edition model, a convertible.
The newest drop-top Veyron will combine the best of the Grand Sport convertible with the more powerful 1,200 hp Super Sport’s W16 engine – Grand Super Sport anyone? While it’s unlikely the car will be able to achieve the same 268 mph world record top speed of the coupe, it’s almost certain to be the world’s fastest convertible.
According to some reports, Bugatti has already taken orders for the car, which is expected to be officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in early March.
GALLERY: Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
Renault is in development of an ultra low-cost vehicle, along the lines of the Tata Nano. While the Nano is currently suffering from some awful sales numbers (initial projection of 20,000 a month but only saw 1,200 units sold in September), CEO of Renault/Nissan Carlos Ghosn is convinced that an extremely affordable vehicle would be a good segment for Renault to venture into when approaching emerging markets.
According to reports from La Tribune, Gérard Detourbet, the head of Renault’s low-cost division, will be responsible in developing an engine and platform for a vehicle next year that will have a starting price of 2,500€ ($3,300). While Renault is already offering multiple low-cost vehicles in Brazil, it is possible that the new car will not wear a Renault badge, but the badge of sub-brand Dacia (seen above) instead.
[Source: Left Lane News]
As part of a $1.1 billion cost-cutting effort, PSA, the parent company of both Peugeot and Citroen, will shed 6,000 jobs in Europe, with 2,500 white collar jobs, 2,500 contract worker jobs and 1,000 blue collar jobs expected to be cut in 2012.
PSA claimed that their car-making operations would barely turn a profit in the coming year and that the company’s cash flow would be negative. ”The competitive environment has become more challenging due to pricing pressure, which has intensified in Europe since September, and the unfavorable impact on the country mix of the falloff in demand in southern Europe,” the company said in a statement released to Automotive News.
One bright spot for PSA was that sales outside of Europe have risen 41 percent, with China in particular acting as a bright spot for the company.
[Source: Automotive News]
When it comes to bizarre concept cars, the Tokyo Auto Show might be the traditional winner, but when it comes to production time, often things end up looking like a Camry. Not so for those baguette-loving Frenchmen (and women). From Citroen, to Renault, to Peugeot, their production cars are plenty strange and the concepts that inspire them look straight out of science fiction.
Just back from the Frankfurt Auto Show, we’ve assembled a gallery of snap shots of some of the strange and very strange production and concept cars on display by French automakers there. Enjoy the originality, scratch your head or just have a good chuckle at the pictures below.
GALLERY: French Cars of the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show
Because owning the world’s fastest car just isn’t enough for some people, Bugatti has crafted the Grand Sport L’Or Blanc.
The supercar’s body isn’t just unique because of its looks, but because of what it’s made from, with porcelain used for the body and throughout the passenger compartment.
Built in collaboration with Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur, it’s said to reflect Bugatti’s desire to not only be unique, but to explore new the use of new materials in vehicle design and creation. Plus, we hear it makes a mean Earl Grey.
Is it the world’s most expensive car? Perhaps. With a price tag f $2.4 million it’s certainly worth more than Gram’s tea pot.
GALLERY: Bugatti Veyron L’Or Blanc
Photo Credit: Frank Filipponio
Now you can bid to have your very own at the RM Auctions event on July 30th. The event will take place at The Inn at St. John’s, in Plymouth, MI.
A car like the Facel Vega would struggle to exist in today’s market, but in the post-WWII era, regulations were fast and loose and the auto industry was seen as a way to kickstart Europe’s struggling economy.
One such example was FACEL (Forges et Ateliers de Construction d’Eure et de Loire S.A.). FACEL was a manufacturer for pretty much everything in postwar France, and among the things they made were car bodies for different manufacturers like Bentley, Delahaye, Panhard and Simca.
When Panhard canceled its order, FACEL’s CEO Jean Danino decided to make up for the slack by building his own car. The car was to have its own unique body and chassis, but power came from the Chrysler 354 cubic-inch, “Firepower Hemi” V8 motor. This four-barrel carbureted engine was capable of producing 325-hp. Power was sent to the back wheels via a Chrysler three-speed torque-flite transmission.
The end result was a luxurious coupe called the FACEL Vega FV4 Typhoon, a car that won much praise for its styling and performance in its day. The car being auctions next week is a 1958 example, finished in silver over red. The seller describes the car as “not show quality but certainly very attractive.”
Only 3000 Vega FV4 coupes were made, so it will always be a rare and interesting piece of automotive history. RM predicts this car will go for about $80 – 100,000.
[Source: RM Auctions]
If you’re a believer in tarot cards, voodoo and rumors thinly disguised as news on the internet, then you’ll love the upcoming Bugatti Royale. That is reportedly the name of the production version of the ultra fast and luxurious sedan that will be based closely on the Galibier concept.
While not a bad name in general, especially considering the brand’s French origins and the fact that few apart from royalty will be able to afford it, there is an historical significance to the title. In true Bugatti fashion, however, you’ll have to trace back in history all the way to the 1920s with the Type 41, which was “commonly” referred to as the Royale. This 21-foot long monster was also an exercise in oppulence, weighing 7,000 lbs and coming with a 12.7-liter straight-eight engine.
The Royale looks to bring this excess into the modern era with a twin-supecharged 8.0-liter W16 engine that will reportedly get hybrid technology.
If we asked you what the fastest Nurburgring time for a front-wheel drive car was you’d probably guess the Ford Focus RS. Nope, not even close. In fact it belongs to French automaker Renault, and has for some time.
Back in 2008 the automaker ran an 8:16 with a rather stripped-down R26.R version of the Megane. Now those baguette-lovers have bested their own time, obliterating the old record with an 8:07.97 lap. The car is the new RenaultSport Megane 265 Trophy and the lap time was set by Renault test driver Laurent Hurgon on just his second trip round the ‘Ring.
This puts the newest Megane ahead of some very impressive hardware including Evos and BMW M cars.
Hit the jump for a list of cars the new RenaultSport Megane 265 Trophy is faster than. It will shock you:
Nissan and Renault are planning to officially combine into one automaker, solidifying a partnership between the Japanese and French companies that has existed since 1999. Or at least, they were planning to do so according to a report by Japan’s Nikkei, that quoted company CEO Carlos Ghosn. Today, however, both automakers are refuting that claim.
A statement released jointly by the two automakers claims that the Nikkei article was, “a misinterpretation of a wide-ranging interview in which Mr. Ghosn said that the corporate structure of the Renault-Nissan Alliance would remain dynamic,” and that “There are no plans to create a holding company, and in fact Mr. Ghosn did not say that Renault and Nissan are ‘leaning toward establishing a holding company.”
If a tie-up were to occur, it would bring together two of the world’s larger automakers for a combined annual output of around 7 million vehicles. That would put it in direct competition with Volkswagen, which currently holds the title of being the world’s 3rd largest automaker with 7.14 million units sold last year. First and second place, held by Toyota and GM, are still comfortably out front with 8.42 million and 8.39 million units respectively.
You could be the proud regretful owner of a Bugatti Veryron, for what is certain to be a fraction of the cost of a new model. No, we’re not talking about a Fiero kit car, but a real Veyron. There’s just one issue, it’s got a salvage title given by the insurance company when the owner famously confused it with a submarine.
Likely you recall the story (and video) of the Veyron that wound up in a Texas lake in 2009. You might also recall that this wasn’t even fresh water, but that ultra-corrosive salt water. Worse still, the owner kept the car running – although its not clear if the engine was ruined.
The car is technically a write-off however, meaning that the insurer saw the price of repairing it as more than the car is worth. And when you consider it retails for roughly $1.5 million when it was new – that’s one seriously expensive accident.
From the outside it doesn’t look half bad, apart from a missing headlight and the Bugatti badge that’s falling off. Treat those as an omen, however, as inside the wiring looks to be a mess and some shots show the salt water has already begun its rusty journey to return the Veyron to its more basic elements.
Not scared away? Then hit the link below to bid. Offers are being accepted until Wednesday at 9 a.m.
GALLERY: Bugatti Veyron Salvage Title
And hit the jump for that famous video:
Everything that is old is new again. That is the mantra of pretty much every single major car company. Volkswagen has the Beetle (a newer version of which will be launched later this year), Mini has had the reborn Cooper for awhile now, and Fiat recently introduced the new 500 in the North American market. All these models mimic their predecessors in terms of styling.
If rumors are to be believed, Renault now also wants to jump into the premium hatchback market by bringing a new version of the Le Car. Called the Renault 5 or R5 in other markets, the car was a huge success in Europe, Asia and Africa, while it hardly made an impression in the North American market, despite having a successful racing career around the globe.
If Renault does decide to put a new Le Car into production, it can easily be based on their Clio platform to save money and speed up the process of development. Will this model ever make it to North America? While there are no plans for Renault to make a comeback, the Le Car could be sold through select Nissan dealers, just like Fiat is doing with some Chrysler dealers regarding the 500.