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Auto blogWed, 15 Jan 2014 13:30:00 EST
If there's a trend in the auto industry we can firmly get behind, it's the small, light and affordable rear-drive coupe. The positive critical reception to the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ twins has encouraged other manufacturers to look at building their own rear drivers, and even a few to show actual concept cars based on the idea. The Chevrolet Code 130R from 2012 and more recently, the Nissan IDx twins that were first shown at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show both come to mind, as does the brand-new Kia GT4 Stinger Concept.
Nissan trotted out the IDx Nismo and the IDx Freeflow for another showing in Detroit and we'll admit to being totally smitten with both cars. Again. The duo draw inspiration from the iconic Datsun 510, a lightweight, affordable rear-driver that remains a cult favorite decades after production ended.
Now, a report from our friends at AutoWeek reveals that we may, possibly, hopefully see a production IDx, provided fans make a strong enough case for it. "It's in the plan," Nissan product boss Andy Palmer told AW. According to the report, Palmer said the IDx is "into the first sage of the development process. The next stage is project validation and then looking at the business case. It's no one's intent to waste millions of the company's money, so obviously we have a good feeling about this one."
A few weeks ago, we bid a fond happy 40th anniversary to the automotive dark ages of 1973-84 that have come to be known as "The Malaise Era" - the performance ice-age when 160 horsepower was a lot and a 0-60 time of under 10 seconds was remarkable. Like music in the 1980s, everything in automobiledom didn't suck, however. There were a few bright spots. Here are five of our favorites:
1976-79 Porsche 930, aka 911 Turbo Carrera (above)
Photo Credit: Dorotheum
When Tata introduced the Nano back in 2008, everyone was amazed at how cheap it was. They called it a game changer, but no game was changed. In fact, it took Tata five years to sell the 250,000 units it had the capacity to build in a single year. As it turns out, even buyers in what economists call "developing markets" like India aren't necessarily interested in buying an ultra-cheap automobile. And now it appears that Nissan may be falling into the same trap.
A little over a year ago, Nissan revived its old moniker Datsun to serve as a budget brand - similar to what ally Renault did with Dacia. Its lineup (consisting of models like the Go hatchback, Go+ minivan, On-Do sedan and Mi-Do hatch) is largely based on old architecture, packaged with little more than basic equipment and sold at rock-bottom prices. But Bloomberg reports that, even in the brand's core markets like India and Indonesia, the new Datsuns haven't been selling.
According to local industry figures, Datsun has sold fewer than 10,000 units of its $5,100 Go hatchbacks in India since its introduction back in March. Maruti Suzuki, by comparison, sells twice that many of its similarly priced Alto hatchbacks every month. In fact, after peaking in April, Datsun only sold 607 units in India this past July, dipping 77 percent to drop below even the number of Nanos which Tata sold that month.