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Friday, 20 March 2009

What do Qazana and Duster have in common? More than you think

Have a good look at the two cars below and aswer: what do Nissan Qazana and Dacia Duster, two of the main attractions at this year's Geneva Motor Show, have in common?

If you think they do not have anything to do with each other, you are very mistaken, because they do. Although they will probably be very different in appearance when they reach the production lines, they will be very similar from underneath, once they are supposed to share the same platform, B0.

The B0 platform is a simplified version of the B platform, the same one used by Renault Modus and Nissan Tiida/Latio. In other words, both platforms can be built in the same plant with minor differences, so much that they look so similar only a specialist could differ one from the other.

This is why Nissan Livina has been recently presented in Brazil. The South American country already produces Logan and Sandero, badged as Renault vehicles, instead of Dacia. Since Nissan did not have a Brazilian produced car, only a truck, Frontier, it has seized the fact that the B0 platform is already in use in Brazil and have built there its first car. But it will not be the last.

Dacia Duster has been eagerly expected because it anticipates the small SUV that will be produced and probably launched in Brazil. The world premiere must even be in this country, as it has happened with Sandero. This is because Ford has been the first company to present a small SUV in Brazil, called EcoSport. It uses the previous Ford Fiesta platform and sells like hot cakes because it is the only option available in South American countries with that price tag. Renault clearly wants a piece of this market. Apparently, Nissan also does.

Since Duster's production version will be produced in Brazil, Qazana's may be built there as well. It would be something easy and fast to do, offering a car that perfectly fits a market segment that keeps increasing its share. And all this in one of the only car markets of the world that has not been heavily affected by the finantial crisis. Doesn't it sound sweet?

Both cars have different sizes, what may give the impression they do not share the same platform. Duster is 4.25 m long, 1.50 m tall, 1.64 m wide and has a wheelbase of 2.80 m. Qazana, on the other hand, is 4.06 m long, 1.57 m tall, 1.78 m wide and has a wheelbase of 2.53 m. Some means say it will use the new A platform that will be applied to the next generation Micra, but since the current Micra uses the B platform, we keep our bet that Duster and Qazana will have the same platform. We may be wrong, but we don't think we are.

Keep on comparing the two concept cars below. They may be look different, but they will surely be siamese twins.

Source: Nissan and Renault

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

World Premiere - Nissan introduces in Brazil its first flex fuel vehicle, Livina

Renault has started its industrial operations in Brazil with Scénic, a medium-sized (for Brazilian standards) minivan that has introduced this sort of vehicle to Brazilian customers. Since Nissan and Renault are so connected, to say the least, the Japanese carmaker has also started its car production in Brazil with a medium-sized minivan, but it has gone a step further, offering this vehicle for the price of a small minivan. This is the way Livina is being presented to the South American market. Best of all: it is Nissan's first flex fuel vehicle of the world.

The Brazilian-produced Livina uses two engines: a 16V 1.6-litre that produces 108 bhp with ethanol and 104 bhp with petrol at 5,750 rpm and a 16V 1.8-litre 16V that generates 126 bhp with the biofuel and 125 bhp with the fossile one, both at 5,200 rpm. In the cheapest engine, the only option is a five-speed manual gearbox. In the more expensive, there is no other choice other than a four-speed automatic transmission.

The 1.8-litre engine is the same one used by Tiida/Latio and Sentra. Both of these cars will be sold in Brazil with the same engine this year. Since they are produced in Mexico, there is a possibility these cars can also be sold in the USA. In Brazil, Nissan will use a small petrol tank located between the hood and the windshield to help on cold starts, but in the USA, where there is no E100, but only E85, this small tank is not necessary.

Although very wise, the strategy offering a big car for the price of a smaller one is not as original as it may seem. It has been inherited from Renault, which has done the same with Logan and Sandero. By the way, Livina shares the B0 platform with these two cars, although Nissan insists it is a more sophisticated version of it, the B platform, also used by Tiida.

Livina is 4.18 m long, 1.69 m wide and 1.57 m tall, with a luggage compartment able to hold 449 l of bags. Its wheelbase is 2.60 m long, what assures plenty of space to its five passengers.

Source: Nissan

Renault presents the new Symbol sedan in Brazil

When Clio Sedan was introduced in Brazil, what was offered to Brazilian customers was a hatchback with an attached luggage compartment in the best way found by Renault with that car. It may have been a satisfactory engineering result, but not even close to that in terms of beauty, even though its owners may like it very much (and they should, even to justify their choice). Now, when the evolution of this car is released in the South American market, we cannot say it is ugly anymore, although many Clio Sedan remains are still found in it. This is what Symbol is all about.

In Brazil, even the entry-level version, called Expression, comes with air conditioning, steering wheel and driver's seat with height adjustment, power windows, power steering, alarm and front airbags. This may sound basic, but Brazilian cars are even more basic than that.

As for the top version of Symbol, called Privilège, the air conditioning has digital commands. It also brings a CD player able to read MP3 and WAV files, 15-inch alloy wheels, power mirrors and a trip computer as standard equipments. ABS only comes as an option.

Symbol is 4.26 m long, 1.44 m tall, 1.67 m wide and has a wheelbase of 2.47 m. It does not share Clio Sedan's platform, but many of its worst features, such as the lack of leg and head room in the back seats and the spare tyre, which is located in the same position it would be on the hatchback, or else, well inside the luggage compartment.

Source: Renault