China Set to Steer London Taxi’s Future
Mar19

China Set to Steer London Taxi’s Future

By Andy Bannister

In another blow to British national pride, LTI (London Taxis International) is to cease full manufacturing of its much-loved TX4 taxicab in the UK.

The news points to an increasingly rocky road ahead for workers in Coventry, the English city which is home to the iconic London Taxi.

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Third Time Lucky for Audi’s Small Car Ambitions?
Mar18

Third Time Lucky for Audi’s Small Car Ambitions?

By Andy Bannister

Audi A1

Audi has high hopes for its new A1 “supermini” which optimists say could become the best-selling model in the company’s history.

It will take the German prestige brand into a new sector of the market, and is aimed at the jugular of BMW’s ultra-successful Mini, as well as some more recent European competitors including the Alfa Romeo Mito and Citroën’s unusual new DS3.

The Belgian-built vehicle is set to be the most luxurious car in its class, and has been carefully styled to reflect cues from the company’s bigger models. Initially a three-door, it will be followed by a five-door Sportback and a cabriolet, as well as a hot S1 model.

Despite the hype about a bold new beginning, this isn’t the first time Audi has attempted a small car. On both previous occasions the company ended up with egg on its face and beat a retreat, so it must be hoping for third time lucky.

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Nissan Takes a Risk on Radically-Styled New Juke
Feb20

Nissan Takes a Risk on Radically-Styled New Juke

By Andy Bannister

02.20.2010

Nissan Juke

The wraps have come off Nissan’s new European-designed small crossover, the oddly-named Juke, and it’s certainly not hiding its light under a bushel.

Due to be launched at next month’s Geneva Motor Show, the Juke represents the bold new spirit of Nissan, a company whose European reinvention seems to have paid off in terms of bucking the continent-wide sales downturn.

The Juke is one of those love-it-or-hate-it designs which is bound to divide opinion. The massive front end is particularly unusual, with six lights of various shapes and sizes widely spaced out, and an expansive version of the corporate front grille. Head-on it looks rather bug-eyed.

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The Last Triumph
Feb14

The Last Triumph

By Andy Bannister

02.14.2010

Acclaim line-up

Acclaim line-up

Nowadays the memory of the Triumph marque is fast-fading except among diehard fans of classic British roadsters. Most enthusiasts will tell you that the last of the line was the controversial wedge-shaped TR7 and its faster TR8 sister, which petered out back in 1982.

In Britain and continental Europe, however, there was one final Triumph car, the Acclaim, an unremarkable-looking little four-door which was, in its own quiet way, a motoring revolution.

Triumph, once a very promising name fit to be mentioned in the same breath as BMW and Alfa Romeo, was yet another of the casualties of the industrial catastrophe that was British Leyland. Despite being best known in North America for mechanically simple, open-topped sports cars, it also once had a thriving trade in sporting saloons.

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Holy and Unholy Bedfellows Fight Closure of Fiat’s Troublesome Island Plant
Feb04

Holy and Unholy Bedfellows Fight Closure of Fiat’s Troublesome Island Plant

By Andy Bannister

02.04.2010

Lancia Ypsilon second picIndustrial action has brought chaos to Fiat’s factories, offices and even some dealerships in Italy, in a concerted attempt to fight the planned closure of the company’s plant in Termini Imerese, on the island of Sicily.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne’s determination to close the troubled factory next year has infuriated opinion in the country, attracting criticism from Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and even Pope Benedict XVI. Left-wing unions and far-right activists have been among the most vocal protestors.

Italians certainly know how to protest, and Wednesday saw up to 80,000 Fiat workers across the country take part in a four-hour strike, while one neo-fascist group used plastic tape to try and seal off some 40 dealerships as well as the entrance to Fiat‘s Turin headquarters.

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