Drive Type: 4 wheel drive
Trim: 2 door
Waterford Works, New Jersey, United States
After watching the Tata Nano post sales numbers smaller than its engine displacement, Renault gave up on its much publicized intention to build a truly inexpensive car to rival it. Then, a month ago, reports emerged that Renault was resuming work on a couple of low-priced cars for emerging markets, but this time it would work with its in-house partner, Nissan. That plan envisions an offering for €3,000 ($3,888 US) and another for €5,000 ($6,400 US), both of which would be more spendy than the Nano but might avoid the charge of being cheap - and nasty - and instead be considered affordable.
A report in Reuters talks to the man in charge, Gerard Detourbet, who has been in Chennai, India since at least August working on the program. Detourbet led the Dacia Logan project and is considered "Renault's low-cost car specialist" and "the father of entry-car programs." This one is reportedly codenamed A-Entry and will create a "'sub-entry' architecture" that will provide roominess beyond the vehicle's price and class, and use an engine with a displacement of 800 cubic centimeters.
It isn't aimed at the Nano, though - it means to take on the products that make up 45-50 percent of India's car market, like the Maruti Suzuki Alto and Hyundai Eon. According to Reuters, out of the 2.6-million-strong Indian car market the Maruti Suzuki line-up alone nabs one million registrations annually. The Alto 800 begins at 244,000 rupees ($4,440 US), the Eon at 300,000 rupees ($5,559 US), the Chevrolet Spark at about 316,000 ($5,750 US); if Renault can nail its price targets it will just about bracket those three and be right in the game.
Even though American Suzuki Motor Corporation filed for bankruptcy last year and stopped selling cars in the US and Canada as part of its reorganization, there are still plenty of countries around the world where Suzuki continues to sell autos. For those markets, the automaker is working on a compact sport-utility vehicle, called the iV-4, which will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
Suzuki says the iV-4 "embodies the basic ruggedness of an SUV," and that its styling is modern and innovative. We'll have to take Suzuki's word on that one, though the teaser above certainly looks the part, with the grille reminding us of the one found on the Jeep Grand Cherokee (minus a few slats, of course).
Scroll down for the short-and-sweet press release, and expect the full brace of information to be revealed in September.
It's not a secret that a few of us here at Autoblog have a crush on Japanese Kei cars. The diminutive sizes and cheeky looks of most of the segment are certainly endearing factors, but it was the sporting Kei cars of the 1990s that made for the most delicious forbidden fruit.
Suzuki's entry in that time and market space was the Cappuccino, a rear-wheel-drive coupe with a removable roof and roll bar, powered by a 657cc three-cylinder motor. The car hung around the Japanese market until 1997 (and was booted up in Gran Turismo form for years after that). Now, rumor has it that the little coupe could be getting a reboot around 2016.
The reports are still a bit short on detail; some indicate that a new Cappuccino could be built up on an existing Kei platform from Suzuki. If the new car were to keep the RWD layout of the original, however, that would mean building up the model on the live-rear-axle bones of the Suzuki Jimny or Carry.