For Sale By:Private Seller
Interior Color: Black
Number of Cylinders: 4
Drive Type: RWD
Exterior Color: Bronze
Tampa, Florida, United States
Four years ago, Renault confirmed that it would partner with India's Bajaj Auto to develop a rival to the Tata Nano. At the time, as everyone waited for the Tata Nano to arrive, you could have used a Richter scale to measure the tremors the executive suites of any automaker with an interest in the low end of emerging markets. Then the Nano, still the cheapest car in the world, didn't sell so well - at the end of last year its sales were just six percent of its most conservative projections - and everyone seemed content to let Tata spend the money to figure out if there really was a market for the cheapest car in the world.
Renault believes there is, kind of. Automotive News Europe reports that it will partner with Nissan to build two low-priced cars for emerging markets, one for €3,000 ($3,888 U.S.) and another for €5,000 ($6,400 U.S.). The price of the least expensive offering is nearly $1,400 more than a Nano, which costs $2,500, and that can't be considered a small sum in comparison. But one of the hindsight knocks on the Nano has been that even in emerging markets buyers don't want a car whose biggest lure is that it is cheap; they'd rather give their aspirations a bit more of a workout.
Renault's offerings are scheduled to hit the non-Western market in late 2014, which is coincidentally the same year that will see the return of the budget-minded and emerging-market-specific Datsun nameplate. They'll be built in Renault facilities in Chennai, India, with no mention made of Bajaj this time around.
Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but in racing, where something as simple as a car's shape can lead to a competitive advantage, imitation can be a big no-no. That reality is being played out right now, with the DeltaWing prototype and the Nissan ZEOD RC. The two cars, as you can see from the images above, bear a striking resemblance to each other. They're so similar, in fact, that Dr. Don Panoz, one of the big names behind the DeltaWing program, is assigning some legal eagles to investigate any patent infringement.
The similarity shouldn't be a shock, though. Both cars are penned by Ben Bowlby, and the DeltaWing - which will be arriving as a coupe in the very near future - had Nissan branding and power for a not-insignificant amount of time. But for Panoz, the ZEOD RC's resemblance is just a bit too much, as he told Autoweek, "It's been interesting to watch people from Nissan trying to dodge the question, but the fact is that in their own press release they admit that the configuration of the ZEOD is the same as the DeltaWing. And we do have patents, in fact another one was just issued last week. We are in discussions with our legal advisors and we'll see what happens."
Frankly, it's not difficult to see what Panoz means. The general shape of the ZEOD RC, with its wide rear track and narrow front track arrangement - not to mention the headlights mounted over the rear wheel arches and any arrangements not visible under the body - are so reminiscent of the DeltaWing that differences like the shape of its closed cockpit and more upright front end might not prove different enough to avert Panoz's legal action. We'll stay with this one and let you know as more becomes available.
Nissan hasn't had a proper European entry in the ridiculously popular compact hatchback segment since it stopped offering its somewhat staid and uninspiring Almera (above) in 2006. According to Automotive News Europe, the new machine, which will not be called Almera, will be marketed against the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus - two extremely popular models in Europe. Production is slated to begin in July of 2014.
The new compact will be built in Barcelona, Spain, at the factory that currently builds the Pathfinder, Navara pickup and NV200 commercial van. An investment of $178 million will be made to assemble the compact car, and an additional $27 million will go to the plant to create more trucks and transmissions for electric vehicles.
The decision to invest in Spain comes after the automaker successfully renegotiated contracts with local unions. Similar talks are underway in France, where Nissan partner Renault is based, but as of yet no new agreements have been struck. Feel free to browse through the official press release below.