If you’re interested in checking out some European cars in Europe, watch this video that we found! It provides some cool context on what European car manufacturers produce globally. If you can’t hear the video, we’ve included the transcript of the video below. Don’t forget to stop by GPO Tuning’s Nashville European Auto Repair Shop. Give us a call today at (615) 392-5498 to find out more.
Isaac Bouchard: I’m Isaac Bouchard, here in Sweden with the Autoline Daily Group. One of the really cool things about coming to Europe, even a small town like Trollhattan, when your car guy is seeing all these great cars, you’ve only read about them, seeing them in the middle. Let’s take a look around.
Isaac Bouchard: This is kind of mainstream Europe in terms of size and what people buy over here. This is a VW Polo. It sits below the Gulf and the Range, we never see them in America because they want an upmarket image, but this is pretty much what they sell over here. Behind it sits another car that’s part of the VW empire. Skoda was an eastern European brand that was a nobody until Volkswagen bought it. Underneath, it’s exactly the same car as that Polo, but they sell a different body just like General Motors used to do where they’d have five or six different brands that were the same underneath. Volkswagen’s just a little bit better about it. Over here to our left is an Opal VX, 220. It’s basically a turbocharged Lotus Elise, built by Lotus for General Motors.
Isaac Bouchard: So Mercedes, upmarket brand in America, in Europe it’s kind of the same thing, but the range is much broader. They’ve tried to protect their image by not bringing everything to America that they make, but here’s where it begins. A Mercedes A class, it’s probably a 1.5 liter, with 80 horsepower, probably cost the equivalent of $20,000 US, personally, I think it’s a really cool little city car. In fact, I’d much rather drive that than a smart … It’s got a big panoramic moonroof, and it’s got cool wheels on it, and it’s got tons of interior space. It’s got this sandwich floor plan that in the event of an accident, the engine slides underneath the body to protect the occupants, so Mercedes can keep the car safe as all their bigger products, but it’s so expensive to produce this floor plan, that the next generation A class that they might import to America won’t have that sophisticated sandwich floor.
Isaac Bouchard: And here’s another one. Caddy obviously means different things to different people. I don’t even know what Volkswagen this was when they started. Maybe it was a Passat, maybe it was a Golf. Now it’s something that somebody can live in. Everything is smaller in Europe, even the vans, this is a full-size passenger van. We’re used to those giant Ford E350s, and the whole 15 people, they don’t work very well over here. This is your solution for no traffic master. French company Peugeot was known for building some of the most dynamically adept cars in the world. Cars like the 205 GTI, the 306. This isn’t even a hot hatch version. This is just their normal car run of the mill hatch, but it’s got better driving dynamics and almost anything you can buy from anybody. Its styling was clean and simple. They’ve really lost the plot. Everything they make now looks like it came from somewhere deep in the ocean where there’s no light.
Isaac Bouchard: I’ve always wondered what the Renault Twingo was like in person. This was a very cutting edge car 15 years ago. The design director of Renault, Patrick Le Quement, is really, really radical. Inside and out he wanted a fun city car. Like all the buttons and dials are like Fisher-Price toys. They’re neon green, they came in other colors, it was just a fun, cheap car for people who needed something to get around in, but didn’t have much money but didn’t want to drive some old secondhand jalopy. Here’s another one we won’t be seeing anytime soon. Howdy A3 convertible. Taxes are much higher in Europe, cars are much more expensive, people have less disposable income, so here’s your solution.
Isaac Bouchard: Another popular trend in Europe is de-badging your car. It doesn’t tell you what it is, I know it’s an A3, but we have no idea what engine it’s got in it. People frequently don’t want you to know. Oftentimes, because it’s a big powerful looking car with some tiny little diesel engine in it. America, this is the past, but thanks to the new fuel economy regs that have just gone into effect, our future looks a lot more like this Citroen C4. And if we’re all going to have to drive small cars like this, hopefully, they’ll be this cool looking.
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