Monday, August 02, 2021

5 reasons why Yamaha could relaunch the XTZ 125 in Brazil

Introduced to the Brazilian market in 2002 while Yamaha was still moving away from its previous focus on 2-stroke engines for utilitarian motorcycles, the XTZ 125 was a successful model until being phased out locally in 2014, even though it's still available in neighboring countries such as Uruguay, Chile and Argentina. With a traditional enduro-themed design almost unaltered in nearly 20 years, which may be arguably pointed out as "outdated", having taken it out of catalog in Brazil was not the greatest move at all, yet the Yamaha XTZ 125 is effectively suitable to address some recently-arisen circumstances in the local motorcycle market, and it's possible to list at least 5 reasons why this model could be relaunched:

1 - Yamaha dirt-bike tradition in Brazil: there were times when it was easier to spot a dual-purpose than any street-oriented Yamaha, so a seemingly austere design of the XTZ 125 bearing a reminiscence to the glorious days of the DT-series can be still considered a valuable asset among conservative buyers;

2 - suitability to city traffic: with the long-travel suspensions providing a relatively smooth ride on the less-than-optimal conditions of the streets in many cities and their outskirts, and a great maneuverability on tight spaces, it's clear the XTZ 125 is at home with the daily usage pattern of many riders to whom a small-displacement motorcycle becomes an affordable option to address the commuting requirements;

3 - aptitude to the rough countryside riding conditions: customers from rural areas could be better served by the ruggedness of the Yamaha XTZ 125, and lower operating costs than comparable models within a larger displacement range could definitely increase its appeal to some people who previously would most likely avoid riding motorcycles at all;

4 - the need for more affordable motorcycles amid the economic recovery: after the outbreak of the Chinese virus did so much harm to the economy of so many countries, Brazil included, the demand for small-displacement motorcycles increased partially in response to the needs of many businesses which resorted to home delivery as a way to keep operating, also going further than the perception of them as a reasonable commuter to become a valuable working tool for people who lost their jobs amid the restrictions enforced at municipal and state levels which pushed the whole country to the verge of an economic collapse;

5 - political circumstances and a historical precedent: President Jair Bolsonaro is an enthusiast of motorcycles, with his excitement about them giving rise to the motorcades known as motociatas which gather millions of people supporting him, so maybe Yamaha could benefit from the way motorcycles have been recently highlighted by the media and relaunch the XTZ 125 in a comparable way to what Volkswagen did in '93 with the Beetle during Itamar Franco's presidential term.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Brazilian 6-door '72 Kombi Lotação

Not sure if this one specifically had actually been a taxi in my hometown Porto Alegre, but there were some before the "lotação" (jitney) share-taxi system switched to larger coachbuilt minibuses. Its current owner told me he inherited the Kombi from his deceased grandfather who has bought it brand-new. The left-hand passenger doors mirroring their right-hand counterparts seem to have rendered it easier for the Brazilian branch of Volkswagen to develop its export-only RHD models with mirror-image left-hand rear doors (unlike its German counterparts which simply had the right-hand rear doors assembled with an inverted opening pattern) meant for CKD assembly in South Africa (where the Brazilian Kombi and its cargo derivatives received locally-made 1600 engines in contrast to the 1500 which was fitted to the Brazilian-assembled units by then) and Indonesia, yet no RHD export market got the 6-door bodystyle on a regular basis. This one is a '72 with the Luxo trim, noticeable by the two-tone paintjob.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Drum brakes: eventually still better suited than disc brakes under some circumstances

Now mostly restricted to heavy commercial vehicles, drum brakes all-around are still valued by some operators who see them as more reliable under harsh environmental conditions, such as in agribusiness and forestry management for timber. With fewer exposure of some critical components to the weather and contaminants which could lead to damage, also often pointed out as less prone to physical damage, drum brakes are favored in heavy-duty trucks for other reasons, which include the pneumatic actuation being less prone to fading instead of the hydraulics found on most light-duty vehicles and the fitment of exhaust-brakes to Diesel engines reducing the burden over the service brakes on some routes. While it could sound better at first to move away from drums to all-around disc brakes, with the main advantage being a quicker cooling even under the hardest braking, it's also worth to remind drum brakes usually have a larger friction surface proportionately to the diameter, which is desirable on heavy trucks.

Among light-duty vehicles, now it's easier to find all-around drum brakes on motorcycles, even though it's now less common even in markets such as Brazil where motorcycles below 300cc are not mandated to feature ABS brakes yet. Unlike discs for which hydraulic actuation became mainstream, motorcycle brake drums are still mechanically-actuated either by cable on the front wheel or rod on the rear wheel, so with disc brakes being regarded as inherently "more prestigious" than drum brakes and motorcycles usually not featuring a parking brake there is basically no chance to incorporate hydraulic actuation to drum brakes meant for motorcycles only to make them compatible with ABS for instance. Surprisingly, the dual-purpose Honda Bros 160 nowadays relies on disc brakes all-around and is not available with drum brakes anymore, even though this setup could be better suited to some needs and preferences of many rural customers, while the Honda CG still resorts to this type of brakes for the entry-level Start version even though all the other trims now feature a front disc brake retaining the drum only to the rear wheel.
The very same lack of prestige which has rendered it not worth to develop hydraulic drum brakes for a motorcycle would not be a problem for other types of vehicles, such as pick-up trucks which became a status symbol among urban drivers instead of retaining their austere and mostly utilitarian origins. Even older models such as the Willys Jeep Pick-Up, which in Brazil soldiered on until '82 after the Brazilian branches of Willys-Overland and Ford merged, hydraulic brake systems were already mainstream, and the Jeep Pick-Up rebadged as Ford F-75 during its extended Brazilian production never got front disc brakes as a factory option, despite other light-duty trucks which were also made by Ford in Brazil being fitted with vented disc brakes in the front wheels and retaining the drum brakes only to the rear wheels. As nothing actually prevented the fitment of disc brakes, which are now a common retrofit to this and other traditional 4WD rigs among recreational drivers, possibly the F-75 being the only Ford truck with 4WD availability in Brazil at the time of its phaseout reflected a more conservative approach from rural customers who used to actually drive on harsh environments quite often.
While drum brakes all-around were not a problem for older pick-up trucks in the countryside, nowadays not even the most austere versions of their modern counterparts would be accepted by urban customers if they weren't fitted with discs at least upfront as a standard feature. A good example of such situation is the current generation of the Ford Ranger, fitted with discs all-around in the US-spec versions, while in most Latin American countries where it's sourced from Argentina it now retains the drums only in the rear-end, even though this seemingly "outdated" setup still has room for integration with modern safety features such as electronic traction and stability controls. It's also worth to point out drum brakes lead to an easier integration of a mechanically-actuated (usually by cable) parking brake, unlike disc brakes to which it's not so easy to provide a connection for a cable at the calipers, leading to the popularity of the "drum-in-hat" setup which relies on an internal concave surface built into each rear service brake disc to also serve as a drum dedicated to the parking brake in vehicles fitted with all-around disc brakes.

A quite entertaining situation which may be considered as a parameter for comparison is the VW Beetle which only had disc brakes as a standard feature in Brazil from '84 on, being taken out of production in '86 and briefly reintroduced from late-'93 to mid-'96, while in Mexico the front disc brakes only became standard in '95 before all-around drum brakes were reintroduced in a lower-trim version which lasted until '99 with front discs being standard once again until the traditional Beetle was phased out in 2003. Even though the 1600 engine having been detuned and plagued by a very restrictive exhaust required in order to address smog control issues in the Valley of Mexico, which could render its performance closer to the 1300 engine which was fitted to the last versions of the Brazilian Beetle still resorteing to the all-around drum brakes, it's also worth to remind the inherently conservative profile of the buyers at its last iterations. While the popularity of the Beetle among urban customers in Mexico only started to become threatened in the early '90s, and its phaseout was mostly dictated by the taxi regulations in Mexico City enforcing a mandate of 4-door cars rendering the "Vocho" unfit for the service, what led to a continued demand for the "Fusca" were mostly rural buyers who praised the relatively lower cost pertaining to its cross-country ability under various load conditions despite featuring only rear-wheel drive compared to 4-wheel drive models which were out-of-budget for many Brazilians (and still actually are).
While the Beetle's rear-engine and rear-wheel drive layout is now gone from the mainstream car market in Brazil, it's not uncommon for front-wheel drive models such as the Renault Kwid to be advertised as a "compact SUV" in order to attract customers who are not so willing to pay a premium for a larger and less fuel-efficient 4-wheel drive. However, as the focus of mainstream automakers for smaller cars has been more toward the so-called "urban mobility", thus neglecting actual needs of rural customers who may eventually benefit more from all-around drum brakes as they tend to not be so critically affected by corrosion than discs while exposed to agricultural fertilizers and even to the composition of the soils at different regions, it's not so likely that a regular car would feature front drum brakes again. Despite this, it's hard to deny all-around drum brakes may eventually remain better suited than disc brakes under some circumstances.

Monday, July 05, 2021

5 reasons why the Opel Corsa B ended up being quite closer to a VW Beetle replacement than any actual Volkswagen product

The second generation of the Opel Corsa was the one assembled in more countries than any previous or subsequent of this model, and was the first of only two generations which had been available officially in Brazil and Mexico. A serious contender to Volkswagen's classic Beetle on both of the most important car markets of Latin America, the Opel Corsa B also had a remarkable foothold on a worldwide level in a time when competition from the already consolidated Japanese automotive industry and its emerging Korean counterpart were undeniably strong contenders at the economy-car segment. Even though in the recent years GM got its global presence crippled by the Chinese predatory joint-venture scheme and the lack of a CEO who actually holds all the due respect for the legacy of General Motors as a world-class automaker who used to set standards, the Opel Corsa B is still remarkable, and at least 5 reasons can be pointed out to see it as effectively closer to what a Volkswagen Beetle replacement could ever be:

1 - simple mechanics: even though not so absolutely dumbproof, the Opel Corsa B has a quite simple mechanical layout. Even though it was the first of its class to feature electronic fuel injection in Brazil for the 1.0L engine, in a time when most new car buyers were still more used to consider carburettors a more straightforward option for reliability and repairability;

2 - underpinnings tougher than they may appear: the wheels noticeably smaller than the Beetle's are effectively compromising when it comes to ground clearance, but the coil-sprung front McPherson and rear twist-beam suspensions are not weaker at all. The rack-and-pinion steering gear is reliable and has a more direct responsiveness than the worm-and-gear setup fitted to the Beetle. Overall, the design of the underpinnings is actually simpler on the Corsa than on the Beetle;

3 - low running costs: with its quite simple mechanical layout and reasonable fuel consumption for a car of its age and class, the Opel Corsa B effectively took over the role of the Volkswagen Beetle during the last years of its production run in Mexico, while also being a serious contender to its reintroduction in Brazil in '93 for the '94 through '96 model-years. Even though some lower-grade versions in Europe still featured a 4-speed manual transmission with the 1.2L engine, the only manual transmission option for Mexico and Brazil was the 5-speed while the only 4-speed featured was the automatic available at a premium cost and only with the 1.6L engine;

4 - extended production runs in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico: definitely the Opel Corsa B became a favorite of buyers with a conservative profile, even though other bodystyles such as the sedan ended up outlasting the hatchback, as in Brazil where the sedan soldiered on until 2016 and in Argentina with its local production run ending up only in 2017. Mexico retained the Opel Corsa B locally badged as Chevrolet Chevy until 2012 with some controversial facelifts, while Brazil still supplied CKD kits for the hatchback until 2009 for assembly in Venezuela and South Africa;

5 - a familiar face: the bubbly design does resemble the Volkswagen Beetle somehow, even though the Opel Corsa B doesn't feature prominent fenders or running boards. But it doesn't sound like a simple coincidence that it took rounded lines for the Opel Corsa B rebadged as Chevrolet Chevy in Mexico to take over a considerable share of the local economy-car market from the Beetle.

Even though the front-wheel drive effectively doesn't allow the same off-road capabilities of a Beetle under various load conditions which interfere with the weight bias, the Opel Corsa B has proven itself a dependable commuter, addressing the requirements of many families in Latin America, while also having been a valuable asset for GM to keep a strong foothold even in regions where it retreated in more recent years.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Brazilian Honda NX 200

A design originally from the late-'80s which soldiered on through the '90s, the Honda NX was available in a 125cc version on some markets as the entry-level variant, while in Brazil a 200cc engine was fitted to the base model through most of its production run. From '93 to 2001 the Honda NX 200 was among the nicest-looking small motorcycles in the Brazilian market, and had a reasonably balance between an overall performance and fuel-efficiency.
Political control of prices for motorcycles below 150cc have led Honda to resort initially to a 150cc one for the first Brazilian Honda NX in '89, lately increasing it to 200cc to further differentiate performance from the CG 125. Most were converted to feature the same appearance of the Honda XR 200 nowadays, so a stock-looking NX became a rare sight in Brazil.

Friday, June 25, 2021

5 unibody coupé-utility trucklets which it's quite surprising no Chinese copies have been made

The rise of Chinese automobile industry has been at some moments under scrutiny due to the lack of any respect to intellectual property of major automakers, and one of its most noticeable traces was the dumping of low-quality copies of Suzuki and Mitsubishi kei-class trucklets and microvans which in the United States were supposed to be meant for off-road use only, while still road-legal nearly everywhere else and taking over most of the small pick-up truck market in parts of Latin America and Africa despite the poor performance and deplorable quality. A simple body-on-frame layout with longitudinal engine and live-axle rear-wheel drive may seem appealing for some customers, in contrast to the front-wheel drive most often featured to the Brazilian coupé-utilities which end up being not so crude compared to their Chinese contenders which took over a considerable market-share on regional export markets. Even if copying the kei-class designs with a handful of modifications to increase the payload ratings was the easiest approach, it's undeniable some customers would rather prefer the more car-like experience more likely to be found on some coupé-utility trucklet, of which at least 5 are quite surprising that no Chinese copy is made:

1 - Fiat Strada (1st generation): based on the 1st generation of the Fiat Palio, which had been not only made in China by the former Nanjing-Fiat joint-venture but also copied by Zotye Auto which applied to its models a powertrain copied from Mitsubishi.
Considering not only the tooling which had once been installed in China for local manufacturing of the platform which the Strada was based upon, but its suitability to other engines and transmissions which could be supplied locally, it's quite surprising this model was never copied by any Chinese automaker.
Being one of the first models placing a greater emphasis on leisure use, pioneering the extended cabin at its class in Brazil and having been also offered in the Adventure trim which appealed to recreational off-roaders despite being only front-wheel drive, the Fiat Strada remained effective as a workhorse at the same time and is still sought after by commercial operators in Brazil due to a total cost of ownership perceived as lower even than some Diesel-powered versions of the traditional body-on-frame mid-size trucks.
Even though the extended cabin still had only 2 seats, at least until 2008 it used to be more common to find 4-seater conversions which are actually illegal in Brazil, and prompting the local branch of Fiat to release a crew-cab version which in 2013 got a right-hand rear door attempting to improve access to the rear bench seat.
While the 1st-generation Strada had been offered on both left-hand drive and right-hand drive, which means its design remains easily adaptable to nearly any country still flooded by those copies of kei-class trucklets, it's unlikely that any random obscure Chinese automaker would attempt to provide a left-hand rear door which would be suitable to RHD markets if this model eventually becomes copied in China;

2 - Fiat Toro: meant to fill the gap between the compact trucklets and the grown-up generations of the traditional mid-size trucks which became noticeably larger between 2005 and 2012, it was released in 2015 relying on the same underpinnings of the Jeep Renegade.
Featuring a transverse engine and independent suspension all-around, the Fiat Toro has been offered on both front-wheel and all-wheel drive according to the engine options, but its size may eventually lead to an easy adaptation of at least its design cues to the body-on-frame layout with a longitudinal engine and either rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive still more often found on the mid-size trucks it was meant to compete against.
Even though a departure from the comparatively more advanced underpinnings of the Fiat Toro to some random copy of Isuzu designs from the '90s could seem pointless at first, such approach could render it more likely to become an "inspiration" for those weird Chinese copies;

3 - Renault Oroch: just like the Fiat Toro, this derivative of the Dacia Duster is also suitable to both the front-wheel drive layout which is the only one available in Brazil where it's made and the 4-wheel drive which has been an export-only option despite all having the same fully-independent suspension featured to the 4WD versions of the Duster, even though it would not really surprise me if some random obscure Chinese automaker decides to work around to fit a longitudinal engine and live-axle rear-wheel drive to a copy of its unibody;

4 - Chevrolet Montana/Tornado/Utility (2nd generation): while the switch from the underpinnings of the much more sophisticated Opel Corsa C to a simpler design shared with the Opel Corsa B was not so well-received in Brazil, the 2nd generation of the Brazilian Chevrolet Montana renamed Tornado in Mexico had been a market leader in South Africa where it was renamed Utility and had been for a while the only commercial vehicle in the Chevrolet range until GM retreated from there in late 2017.
The same underpinnings of the Opel Corsa B having been previously used in the Chinese market by the SAIC-GM joint-venture could make it easier to find samples and do the reverse-engineering in case any obscure automaker tried the same strategy applied to all those copies of Japanese kei-class trucklets and microvans, even though a SAIC-GM-Wuling joint-venture still resorting to ancient designs copied from Mitsubishi on trucklets, microvans and even compact SUVs may be a clear indicator that any switch to FWD on Chinese light-duty commercial vehicles won't happen anytime soon;

5 - Chevy 500: even though it may be seen as outdated to the same extent of those designs copied from body-on-frame Japanese kei-class trucklets since the '80s, this derivative of the Chevrolet Chevette also had a longitudinal engine and rear-wheel drive soldiering on in South America until '95.
Still praised by both private owners who look at rear-wheel drive as better suited to a "sporty" driving and many commercial operators who prefer to have the driven wheels where the load is, obviously the styling cues of the Chevy 500 would require a lot of re-engineering to increase its appeal to customers and to provide safety features such as ABS brakes, even though at a first glance it may be way harder to accomplish with an unibody compared to the body-on-frame design.
Any eventual adaptations to enable the underpinnings of the Chevy 500 to serve modernized derivatives would presumably sound pointless at first, but it's worth notice this has not prevented older Suzuki and Mitsubishi designs from having been copied by almost every Chinese automaker at least once and many still do exactly this, even though the styling cues from the '80s and early '90s may have been left behind.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Honda XLX 250 from the '80s with a Honda CBF 250 engine

It's not any breaking news the Honda XLX 250 was one of the most successful dual-purpose motorcycles in Brazil during the '80s and early '90s, with its 4-valve RFVC engine with a single camshaft. It's still not unusual to see some which remain used as a daily commuter, even though their owners may prefer to do subtle upgrades. This one featured a front disc brake swap (originally it had drums all-around) and what has caught my attention even more, the stock engine was replaced by the same DOHC one fitted to the Honda CBF 250 (known as Honda CBX 250 Twister in the local market) and to the Brazilian XR 250 Tornado from 2001 to 2009 and for export markets until 2012.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Why would've been better to resume production of the 1st-generation Fiat Strada somewhere else?

Among the most iconic car-based coupé-utilities which are so popular in Brazil, the first generation of the Fiat Strada had a production run from '98 to 2020 highlighted by the introduction of features such as the extended cabin in '99 increasing its appeal to private users. The release of a new generation has led to its phaseout, even though the Strada retained a quite comfortable leadership in Brazil not only within the sub-segment of small pick-up trucks but also leading the ranking of all the commercial vehicles. Its availability on regional export markets remained noteworthy, even though it had been repositioned as a RAM product in countries such as Mexico and Chile under the brand rationalising initiated by the FCA holding, now trading as Stellantis after the merge with PSA Peugeot-Citroën.
With all the production concentrated in Brazil since 2005 when the assembly in South Africa ended, its presence on overseas markets such as Europe and South Africa soldiered on until at least 2013 when the last facelift applied to the 1st generation got released and the Fiat Strada became restricted to selected Latin American regional markets. Besides Brazil and South Africa, considering how other derivatives of the 178 Project such as the Palio/Weekend and the Siena/Albea were supplied from other manufacturing hubs such as Argentina, Turkey and Poland, seems like the Strada was quite neglected while it could be a valuable asset for Fiat to strengthen its foothold in markets where it previously had a comfortable position. Sure it's not a Toyota Hilux, but its size may become more convenient under certain conditions and its relatively simple technical features lead to lower overall costs.

The availability of a double-cab, introduced with only 2 doors in 2009 and featuring a right-hand rear suicide-door since 2013, has also positioned the first-generation Fiat Strada more comfortably than both station-wagons and sedans/saloons while the demand for SUVs on emerging markets such as Brazil and India started to rise. Sure the cost os developing another bodyshell with a left-hand rear door catering to RHD markets such as India or South Africa could seem harder to justify, as the marketing perspectives were not as certain as for Brazil which remains the most important South American automotive market, despite not being the only major production hub as Argentina emerged through an export agenda when the Mercosur became effective. Considering historical precedents within Fiat itself, when the Brazilian Fiorino switched from its first generation to a newer one and the previous model had its production run extended in Argentina mostly for the local market, retaining the production of the previous generation of the Strada in Argentina could make sense.

While a considerable amount of buyers in Brazil are willing to get the updated model despite the longer waiting periods reaching 4 to 5 months, the previous generation is already capable of addressing actual needs of many professional operators, and could eventually remain offered along its replacement on the local market if supplied from Argentina for instance. It's also worth to consider how an affordable small cargo vehicle such as the 1st-generation Fiat Strada could remain competitive against the Chinese-made copies of older Suzuki and Mitsubishi trucklets and microvans, which would be reasonable enough to justify an extended production run elsewhere. Even though it might sound "natural" to simply phase it out, the 1st-generation Fiat Strada could still be a valuable asset for Fiat/Stellantis.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Could bias-ply tires have any future in a 3rd-world perspective

There were times when bias-ply tires were the rule instead of an exception, owing to their affordability and smooth ride compared to radials which were initially somewhat a specialty. Models such as the VW Beetle resorted to them for most of their international production run, even though in countries such as Mexico and Brazil there were some model-years fitted with radials as most of the mainstream suppliers moved away from bias-ply tires for light-duty vehicles. Odd enough, for some sizes such as the 155R15 which was recommended by Volkswagen as a suitable replacement for the 5.60-15 bias-ply got phased out too fast somehow, and even the 165R15 which Goodyear offered as a replacement for the previous measure is also now only available from some obscure suppliers from China which is better to avoid not only due to the usage of lower-grade materials but also due to the SARS-CoV outbreak which was a threat to the economy of the whole world.
Besides the cost of any tire matching the correct measures fitted to classic cars, to which a replacement may now be quite overpriced as they're now more valued for their historical significance and well-cared for by collectors instead of being steadily subjected to the harsh operating conditions some were meant back in the day, it's also important to consider the economical and political implications to get rid of the Chinese communist dictatorship and its filthy commercial warfare. I usually refrain from any usage of the word coolie/koelie due to its modern racist conotation being insensitive to both non-Chinese Asians and the Chinese victims of communism, but the labor conditions in China resemble in many aspects the so-called "coolie trade" on which Asian contract workers meant as a replacement for black slaves were fooled and enslaved by debt. In the middle of the crisis led by the outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus and the Chinese dumping of all sort of lower-quality manufactured items being a threat to the industrial output of other developing countries, including my homeland Brazil, it's worth to consider some ways to overcome the reliance on China which became too dangerous for the free world.
Sometimes it may seem pointless to suggest newer cars, to which the improved handling provided by a set or radial tires is often pointed out as a key to road safety and fuel-efficiency, could revert to bias-ply, but it's worth to look further on this matter before pointing it out as totally unsuitable. For instance the Thai version of the Toyota Yaris which is actually a rebadged Vios, is fitted with 185/60R15 tires both in Thailand and in Brazil where it's also assembled, and maybe it could benefit from those 13mm taller sidewalls of a Beetle-sized bias-ply to cope with rougher terrain conditions on those country roads and even on city traffic. Sure the lower speed ratings usually applied to bias-ply tires might be challenging to lead-footed drivers on the open road, but would in fact be more than enough to most average driving conditions. Concerns regarding the impact of bias-ply tires on fuel-efficiency might be somewhat easily addressed by the narrower tread and higher diameter of this specific set, not to get into how the CVT is good at keeping the engine at the higher-efficiency RPM band throughout most of the circumstances.
Nowadays since even the entry-level cars are getting bigger wheels in order to provide clearance to the upgraded brakes, it's worth to notice the impact on the availability of smaller tire sizes which are often the only ones which fit without much effort into previous generations of economy cars still common to see roaming around in some countries where budget is one of the most relevant aspects on motoring. So there is a reasonable business case for regional suppliers to provide bias-ply tires catering to that market segment, not only because they're more affordable for the customer but also due to the lower production cost, thus rendering for instance 6.45-13 tires a suitable replacement for the 145/80R13 which are now on short supply in Brazil despite their former usage on popular models such as the Opel Corsa B locally rebadged as a Chevrolet. In the end, not only among budget and technical standpoints, bias-ply tires are still likely to remain a reasonable option in 3rd-world countries for a while.