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Toyota Confirms it Will Buy Rest of Daihatsu

Deal worth about $3 billion.

by on Jan.29, 2016

The Daihatsu Noridri concept first shown at the Tokyo Motor Show last year.

Confirming earlier reports out of Japan, Toyota says it plans to buy out the remaining 48.8% of microcar maker Daihatsu that it does not already control.

The deal, which will strengthen Toyota’s hand in the minicar market in both Japan and emerging markets, will involve a stock swap worth about $3 billion. The takeover is expected to be completed by late July.

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“We see this as the perfect opportunity to cement our relationship with Toyota, and, by doing so, to embark on a new period of growth, and to elevate the Daihatsu brand to a global standard,” Daihatsu said in a statement announcing the deal.


Consumer Reports Yanks Honda Fit Recommendation

Move follows bottom-ranked performance in IIHS front crash test.

by on Jan.22, 2014

The Honda Fit -- along with the Fiat 500 -- had the worst scores in the IIHS small-overlap crash test.

Consumer Reports magazine has taken the rare step of yanking its “Recommended” rating for the Honda Fit minicar, a move that follows announcement that the Fit was one of 10 out of the 11 vehicles that failed a critical new crash test.

The current Fit model was, in fact, tied for the worst performance in the so-called small-overlap front crash test run by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a test designed to replicate what happens when two approaching cars clip one another on the highway, or when a vehicle strikes a pole or tree. Of the 11 vehicles tested by the IIHS, only the Chevrolet Spark received an Acceptable rating. The Fit was the only model – prior to the IIHS test – on the influential Consumer Reports Recommended list, however.

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“Based on these findings, the Honda Fit lost its Recommended status,” the non-profit magazine announced. But the magazine also said it has hopes the Japanese minicar could soon earn its way back on the list, noting that, “A redesigned Honda Fit is due out this spring, which we would expect to pass the test based on the newness of its design and Honda’s recent accomplishments with this stringent test.” (more…)

Aston Gives Cygnet The Green Light

But is it really an Aston?

by on Oct.12, 2010

Aston Martin has approved production of the new Cygnet luxury microcar for 2011.

Aston Martin’s first urban commuter luxury car, the Cygnet, will go into production next year, the automaker has decided.

The three-door hatchback, visually the polar opposite of a sleek Aston sports car, will be produced at the maker’s Gaydon assembly plant alongside more exotic models like the DB9.

Aston officials say they decided to approve the project after realizing that a good 30% of their current owners also have microcars, such as Smart or Mini, that they use for commuting.  Aston is betting that by placing its winged badge on the hood it will be able to get a significant premium for the Cygnet over more conventional urban runabouts.

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Production is expected to run about 2,000 units annually, and the price tag is reportedly in the range of 30,000 to 50,000 British pounds, or something under $50,000 to $80,000 – though Aston has not announced any plans for U.S. distribution.

Whether it will be able to make a go of the Cygnet remains to be seen,  in part because the little hatchback is largely based on a rebadged Toyota iQ minicar – even though the Aston version will be upgraded with plenty of upscale touches, including a swaddling of leather in the cabin.