Posts Tagged ‘volkswagen’

Production Nissan Lannia Coming to Auto Shanghai

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Nissan Lannie teaser

While the 2015 New York Auto Show technically concluded the spring auto season, our friends in China are just warming up. Barely a week after the NY Auto Show’s opening, automakers are already starting to tease new cars and concepts for the upcoming 2015 Shanghai Auto Show. Our first teaser for the event is one from Nissan for their production-spec Nissan Lannia. Nissan has kindly provided both an image preview (above) and a video teaser (below) to get us hyped:

The Nissan Lannia was originally shown all the way back at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show as the Nissan Friend-ME Concept – a social-centric car that integrated social media and entertainment technology into the cabin for all four occupants. Then, at last year’s Beijing Auto Show (the shows in Shanghai and Beijing alternate years), Nissan showed us a full-fledged Lannia Concept.

Now, after two years of “what if”, it looks like Nissan’s newest youth-targeted car is ready to break onto dealership floors in China. After the car’s official debut later this month, it’s expected to go on sale as a 2016 model in the second half of this year.

What’s special about the Lannia is that this will be the first car Nissan has built and developed exclusively for the Chinese market. More specifically, they’re targeting the younger generation of drivers between ages 20 and 33 or so.

That means the Lannia won’t be available anywhere outside of China when it launches later this year, but former Nissan CPO Andy Palmer had hinted that it may eventually make its way into international markets. Either way, we expect the new Nissan Lannia to look a lot like the 2016 Nissan Maxima that made its own official debut just last week in New York, albeit with a more muscular front clip and a more youth-targeted interior. However, the V-motion front grille and boomerang headlights look like they’ll remain the same.

While the Shanghai Auto Show is an event targeted exclusively at the Chinese market, keep in mind that the Lannia’s target market – Chinese drivers aged 20 to 30 – is currently about 240 million strong. The entire US only holds about 320 million people, so this is certainly a market worth investing in for the world’s second largest Japanese automaker.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2014 Volkswagen Passat

2014 Volkswagen Passat

There’s no doubt that Volkswagen is the automaker with the strongest hold on the Chinese market. In January of this year, the top five best-sellers in the China were all Volkswagen models. If Nissan wants to build a significant presence in China, they’ll have to go through Volkswagen first.

2014 Volkswagen Passat rear

The Volkswagen Passat has always been an extremely strong-seller in China, and it’s easy to see why. It’s the flawless combination of aggressive sports appeal and refined finesse –perfect for the ambitious Chinese business class.

2014 Volkswagen Passat interior

To learn more about this Japanese car auction find, get a full translation of the auction sheet below:

2014 Volkswagen Passat auction sheet

“Interior A, exterior condition A, first registered March 2014, TSI Comfortline Bluemotion, DBA emissions code, FAT, HI headlights, original alloy wheels, official dealer RHD import, AAC, model year unknown, wheels scratched, interior grime and scratches, minor scratches, marks as per map”


Japanese Car Auction Find – 2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Posted by Stephen On Monday, February 16th, 2015

The other day we discussed the possibility of a revival of Mazda’s MPS performance brand, starting with a possible Mazda2 MPS that could make an appearance sometime in the next few years. When/if that car comes to fruition, it will compete with sporty hatchbacks like the Ford Fiesta ST and the Volkswagen Golf GTI. So, today we’re showcasing one of the latter up for auction in Japan. It’s a 2014 model year, pictured below:

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Let’s start with the basics. This is an affordable five-door hatchback with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder petrol engine. The powertrain offers a vigorous 217hp system output and 207 lb-ft of torque. That sporty engine is configured for front-wheel-drive and paired with either a 6-speed manual or, in this case, an upgraded 6-speed automatic transmission. It also gets a dual-clutch transmission with a limited-slip differential, complete with paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel.

Since this model uses the automatic transmission, you’ll enjoy an improved fuel economy of 32 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in the city… Not bad at all for such a punchy little sports car. The Golf GTI is still popular even after all these years due to its incredible on-road handling, thanks in large part to its sport-tuned suspension and brakes.

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI rear

Despite a relatively minimalist design, that red accent on the grille, the 18-inch alloys and the ever-so-slight rear spoiler still help the car stand out on the road.

For your information, this same car won the 2013-2014 Japan Car of the Year award to become the first-ever international import to receive that particular accolade.  Quite an achievement!

Unfortunately, we don’t have any interior pictures for this particular Japanese car auction find. However, since it’s a Volkswagen, you can rest assured that you’ll enjoy plenty of cabin amenities. For example, heated seats, automatic air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity all come standard, along with a booming audio system with an auxiliary input and built-in iPod cable. It also offers you a surprising amount of cargo space given the car’s relatively small size.

All in all, 2014 was a great model year for the Volkswagen Golf GTI. This particular auction find is in great shape with an overall rating of 4.5. Overall, the Golf GTI is a relatively affordable premium hatch with a huge fun factor and an excellent interior. It may not have the same aesthetic appeal as Mazda’s new 2, but it definitely holds up on the performance front. To learn more, keep reading below the auction sheet:

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI auction sheet

“Interior A, exterior condition B, first registered February 2014, GTi model, FAT, AAC, official dealer RHD import, idling stop, cruise control, xenon lights, original navigation system, ABS, airbag, original AWs, power steering, power windows, rear view reversing camera, spare smart key, scratches under bumpers, minor scratches on exterior paintwork, front windscreen stone scratches, marks as per map”


Mazda6 Diesel Delayed Yet Again, But There’s a Silver Lining

Posted by Stephen On Friday, September 19th, 2014

2014 Mazda6 Diesel Sedan

It’s been almost 2 years since the new Mazda6 was overhauled with its SkyActiv suite and award-winning Kodo design language. However, Mazda had hoped to launch a diesel-powered version of their sedan alongside the conventional Mazda6. There aren’t too many really well-received diesel sedans in the US, and Mazda thinks they can compete with Volkswagen’s Passat TDI Clean Diesel for a piece of the pie.

Unfortunately, the Mazda6’s diesel engine has been inexplicably delayed twice in 2013, then was given an “indefinite” launch date at the beginning of 2014.

After a certain amount of time it becomes hard to believe that Mazda is sincere about a diesel Mazda6 for NA, but a new report from TTAC sheds some light on what’s going on behind the scenes.

Apparently, Mazda has been stuck figuring out a way to offer a diesel engine that meets the strict and varied diesel emissions regulations of all 50 states, including California. The problem is that Mazda is trying to avoid the use of an after-treatment to reduce the engine’s emissions, but so far that’s been impossible to do.

Here’s a more detailed version of what happened:

The original diesel engine that Mazda was ready to launch a few months after the Mazda6’s launch wasn’t clean enough for the EPA. No problem – Mazda just re-tuned the engine in order to meet the emissions standards.

Simple enough, right?

Not quite. The cleaner engine gave up too much “Mazda-appropriate driving performance,” and the engine was deemed too weak to put in the sedan given consumer expectations.

So, after a year and a half of failed attempts, Mazda is back to the drawing board and reconsidering the use of an after-treatment emissions system. We’re not really sure what all the resistance was for anyways, since nearly every other diesel in the US uses a diesel exhaust fluid or some other after-treatment system.

If the Mazda6 diesel is successful, then the Japanese automaker will likely attempt to launch diesel versions of their other SkyActiv models too, such as the Mazda CX-5 or Mazda3… Maybe even the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

In the end, even though this may seem like just one more hold up in a long line of delays, we think this one is different. For starters, Mazda is no longer quoting “indefinite” as the launch date. The new report tells us to expect a SkyActiv-D Mazda6 in approximately one year’s time as a 2016 model year. Incidentally, this may coincide with a mid-cycle refresh that Japanese automaker is planning for the 6, at least if the folks over at Automotive News can be believed.


VW Microbus Concept “Bulli” and VW Van-Style Suzuki Every Vans

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

VW is revealing a new concept for a modern version of its eponymous Microbus at Geneva. The concept (shown below) is an electric vehicle with a 300km range and can hit 100kmh in 11.5 seconds. Apparently, Volkswagen is going to be putting a similar car into production, but it is not clear if it will be all electric, like this concept, or whether it will have one of VW’s frugal petrol or diesel 1 to 1.4 liter engines.

VW Bulli Microbus concept at Geneva Motorshow 2011

I think they would do well to get the styling a bit closer to the original just for the simple reason that it is such an iconic shape. The other thing that I think could do with some work would be the name – “Bulli”. Autocar says that this is the name that the original “Transporter” was given in some markets when it was launched in the 1950s. I am guessing that a German product called a “Bulli” would not have enjoyed a lot of popularity just after the Second World War, so I suspect they changed it to something a little more sanitized for the English-speaking world at this point. The War is a couple of generations ago now, but hopefully some focus groups will be able to help VW pick something a little more friendly.

Ever since the New Beetle and “BMW” Mini came along in the late 90s, I have wondered why VW did not do a similar job with their own Microbus. After all, if there is any car class that is crying out for a bit of style, it is the minivan segment. So it is not surprising to me that they have finally come around to it.

Not that VW’s slowness has stopped Japanese companies customizing kei (light) vans in Japan to look like the classic Volkswagen. They tend to be based on Suzuki Every vans from the early 2000s, like this one below coming up at auction in Japan on March 5th, 2011:

VW Microbus-style Suzuki Every Van

VW Microbus-style Suzuki Every Van

If you are interested in VW Microbus lookalike vans like this one above, send us an email here.