Sunday, November 3, 2013

A $10,000 Vespa?

What price Italian style?
With only 500 examples bound for North America, the largely hand-built Vespa 946 was conceived to appeal to longtime collectors of the iconic Italian scooter. Available with either a 125cc or 150cc engine, it is the first Vespa to blend aluminium into its steel body. Pricing starts at $9,946 in the US, excluding title, tax and registration fees – more than double the starting price of a Vespa LX 150. (Photo: Piaggio USA)
Nissan’s ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ hits New York streets
After a fraught gestation, the first of Nissan’s NV200-based taxis began picking up fares in New York City. The compact van was selected in 2012 by a panel that included the city’s taxi and limousine commission to become New York’s official taxicab – a status held in practice, but not officially, by the long-serving, near-ubiquitous Ford Crown Victoria yellow cab, which left production in 2012. A New York Supreme Court judge, however, ruled in October 2013 that the city government could not dictate purchase choices to taxi owners. Meanwhile, Nissan cites eight dealerships in the metro area that sell the NV200-based cabs. (Photo: Nissan North America)
Toyota and skateboard-lifestyle brand team up
Ahead of the Specialty Equipment Market Association show, commonly known as SEMA, Toyota unveiled a collaboration with the skateboard shoe and apparel company DC Shoes. The DC Shoes Tacoma starts with a double-cab version of the best-selling pickup truck, then adds a snow plow, a telescoping rear ramp for easy loading and unloading of snowmobiles, multiple storage bays and a pop-up tent. The purely conceptual model will be on display at the industry-only show from 5 to 8 November. (Toyota Motor Sales)

Suzuki previews Tokyo concept CUVs
Four conceptual compact utility vehicles from the Japanese manufacturer are destined for the Tokyo motor show, where press previews begin November 23. Suzuki, whose US arm entered bankruptcy protection in March 2013, remains a strong player in its home market as well as in emerging markets such as India and China. The concepts play off of Japan’s tradition of so-called kei cars – superminis designed to resemble larger vehicles – with an emphasis on personality and efficiency. (Photo: Suzuki Motor)
Audi prices A3 under $30,000 in US
Issuing a direct challenge to the sub-$30,000 Mercedes-Benz CLA, Audi announced pricing for its coming 2015 A3 compact sedan, which is scheduled to arrive in North American showrooms in early 2014. The A3, sold in Europe and elsewhere in a hatchback body style, will eventually spawn a convertible version and receive optional gasoline-electric and turbodiesel powertrains. Starting at $29,900 excluding destination charge, the A3 is priced on a par with the CLA. German and Japanese luxury brands are revamping the bottom of their product lines to appeal to younger buyers. (Photo: Audi of America)

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