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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Aug 5: Bom dia from Portugal

Sure, get our attention with some runt of a car that no one over here knows what it is or maybe even cares. Well, for a real car guy or girl, granted there is not much here to yearn for, but it is an interesting little vehicle never the less. This car, seen on Porto's waterfront, is from the French manufacturer, Axiam. Their cars use either diesel or very small motors. How small? Glad you asked. In some countries the slowest Axiams top out at 28 mph (45 kph for us Canucks) and don't require driver's licences. This is as crazy as the electric bikes in Ontario, using the same roads as everyone else, but not needing a licence plate. Well folks, that's another topic for another day, but this blog is about a few different vehicles, that I saw on my recent visit to Portugal.

Europe is jam packed with interesting vehicles that we don't get here and in most cases never will. Or, we get a different version than what is sold on the Continent. Take for example this Mercedes A Class.......


Benz figured it would not really appeal to North Americans, after all it is a front wheel drive hatchback, usually the kiss of death or close to it. What to do? Only import the version with all-wheel drive, the GLE, call it a sport ute and watch them fly off the showroom floor. This is called knowing your market. Anyway, in Portugal, most of this body style that I saw were the A, not the GLA.

One of my favorites and apparently a strong seller is the brightly colored, newish Renault Captur.......


Yes, I know, it has the "almost" generic look of many of the smaller suv's, but the contrasting roof gives it a different vibe, as do the bright colours it is most often seen clothed in. Never failed to get my attention.

We don't get this model Audi, yet, but I believe it is headed our way sometime in 2017, which makes sense considering the popularity of the new and misnamed four door coupes........


This is the A5 Sportback. Having seen it for the past few years on my other European trips, I have always preferred it to the longer A7. Felt the fastback design better lent itself to the shorter length. This is certainly a judgement call, as the A7 is a great looking ride. BMW should have copied Audi's design, rather than doing their unfortunate and justly unpopular GT.

Way back when, Adam Opel started making cars in Germany. Eventually they fell under the umbrella of General Motors and continue to this day. We used to see Opels frequently on our shores with the long gone Saturn nameplate, now we see them sold as Buicks. This makes more sense, since Opel and Buick have had a connection in North America going back to the '60's and '70's. So, when Opel introduced a hip small car to go against BMW's Mini, what name did they chose? If you said Adam, give yourself a back pat (thank goodness his name wasn't Heinrich). This is the Opel Adam (cute, eh?).........


Trading on everyone's love of what they consider to be crossovers, this Adam model is the Rocks. Bigger tires and wheel flares add the necessary style features to help it make the transition from cute street machine to off road adventurer (sure, I'll believe it, if you do). By the way, the name Karl, you see on the left side of this pic, refers to Opel's new mini and is named after his oldest son.

And now another little cutie, from the French company Chatenet, the Microcar (calling it exactly what it is)........


What else could you buy to fit into that front yard? Glad you asked, since I have just the car and one which we do get over here, but not in this configuration.......


This is the latest generation Smart car, but as you can plainly see, it is the Forfour - four doors, get it? Will we ever see it over here? Those of you holding your breath, should start making funeral arrangements. 'Nuff said.

And now for something that we will be getting over here and a bit of a sneak peek........


This is the completely new VW Tiguan coming to us in 2017. No longer the small VW suv, the Tiguan grows up and will sprout two models, the shorty seen here or a longer version for seven riders. Take business away from the bigger Touareg? I would think so, but with North American's appetite for big sport utes, who knows?

So there you have it, a brief tour of a very few of the different cars that one can see across the Atlantic. With the huge car market over here, will any of the European manufacturers try to come back to our shores? Good question. Renault and Citroen are said to be considering it and VW's Skoda has started trademarking their models' names. Time will always tell, but is anyone lining up for a return of these brands, no matter how good they are?

Until next time.......




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