Sunday, December 18, 2022

Peugeot Partner Rapid, another rebadge of the Brazilian 3rd-generation Fiat Fiorino

It's well known that some brands within the Stellantis holding have a better positioning outside Brazil than Fiat, so the Brazilian Fiat Fiorino had already been exported as part of the Ram range for regional markets, both as Ram Promaster Rapid or Ram V700 Rapid to Central America and even parts of South America where the brands formerly tied to Chrysler prior to the merge with Fiat used to have a stronger foothold. And even though Fiat seems to be good enough for Brazil, another rebadge had to be done for the local market, so the Fiorino had another rebadge in order to satisfy Peugeot dealers due to the earlier generation of the Peugeot Partner previously imported from Argentina being phased out as the emission regulations became stricter in Brazil in 2022. Economics of scale ended up dictating another rebadge of the Fiorino being easier than improving the first-generation Peugeot Partner, and so that was an obvious choice, just like other vans with heavier GVWRs and higher passenger capacity are offered as Peugeot, Citroën and Fiat simultaneously.

Powertrain remains much the same good old Fiat Fire Evo 1.4L engine, in the flexfuel trim required by most customers in Brazil even though some never even use the pure ethanol available in the country, so it may eventually sound pointless at a first glance as Peugeot dealers would eventually have to also get parts for a Fiat engine in stock, and the EC5 engine still fitted to the Argentinian Partner is also used in some Peugeot and Citroën cars and SUVs in Brazil. On the other hand the Fire engine is often reported as quite dumbproof, so naturally it's a favorite among Brazilian commercial operators, no wonder it was much welcomed by some who were already served by Peugeot dealers. Just like the Ram rebadges for other Latin American countries, maybe another market opportunity for the Peugeot Partner Rapid could be there in French-speaking African countries, as it's technically simpler than the European models and Peugeot tends to have a better reputation in Africa than Fiat in general.

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Humvee with externally-mounted air conditioner condenser

Seeing a Humvee in my hometown is not exactly so common, but recently I have seen it more often than I could ever guess. I have already seen a green one and this tan, both with the naturally-aspirated 6.2L Detroit Diesel V8 engine, and the same soft-top crew-cab pick-up truck bodystyle too. But only the tan one had a modification that caught my attention at a first glance, as it was adapted with an air conditioner, with the condenser placed in a position that may seem unexpected to say the least. Placed right behind the cab, on the cargo deck, it's easily noticeable. The location and power provision for the compressor are unknown to me, just like the evaporator box type and its location inside the cab. I'm also not so sure if the canvas top and doors are insulated and airtight enough for a regular vapour-cycle air conditioner to be so efficient at all, in contrast to other devices such as an air-cycling machine like the ones fitted to jet-engined aircraft or even a swamp-cooler which is still quite usual on commercial trucks in Brazil.

Friday, December 02, 2022

Brazilian Honda CG 150 of the 7th and 8th generations converted from EFI to carburettor

Even though electronic fuel injection became favored in Brazil even on motorcycles, with the Honda CG featuring it since 2009 on some versions, and flexfuel ability since 2010 for the CG 150, it's still quite common to find people who are diehard carburettor endorsers, and go as far as getting rid of the EFI and revert to a carburettor even in a motorcycle factory-fitted with EFI. The 7th generation was the very first to feature EFI for the 150cc versions, while the 125 retained the carburettor, so it was quite surprising for me to see the one above which was originally a 150 fitted with the carburettor-fed 125 engine, notable not only for the carburettor but also for the position of the catalytic converter.

The short-lived 8th generation which ran from 2014 to 2016 retained the carburettor only for the 125 while the 150 always featured EFI at least in Brazil, before the 150 was phased out and a 160 engine was introduced for the 9th generation. As the 6th generation still had a carburettor with the 150 engine, it was quite a straightforward makeshift for those who would rather get rid of the EFI in a newer one such as the one above which is of the 8th generation. As if converting to a carburettor was not enough, this one also had the battery removed.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Another Brazilian Bricknose Ford with a local aftermarket cabin

There were times when a crew-cab, or even an extended-cab, were not available for the Brazilian trucks as a factory option, so it was quite common to outsource from some cottage-industry that flourished from the '70s to the '90s, and started to decline well after the Japanese changed the landscape of the local truck market with crew-cabs. A good example of such trend is this Bricknose Ford F-1000, which is some sort of F-250 with the short bed of the F-150. Restrictions against the registration of cars with a Diesel engine have also increased the demand for such conversions, as an option when full-size luxury cars were also not so easily available around the '70s and '80s due to import restrictions in order to keep local Dollar reserves to pay for the import of other items which would be deemed more essential than a random landyacht. Even though these conversions started to fall out of favor in the '90s, because of the availability of imported crew-cab Japanese trucks and the SUV trend which started to emerge within the same timeframe, in certain regions with a more conservative car buying pattern a considerable demand was retained. A reasonable amount of models from the '90s, such as this Bricknose Ford, can still be seen roaming around my hometown.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Prerunner-inspired Jeep Cherokee XJ?

The reinforced front bumper, the wider track (yet not so extreme), reminded me somehow a prerunner when I spotted this '97-'98 Jeep Cherokee. Retaining the 4-wheel drive and a solid front axle on the other hand, are features which tend to be unusual for prerunners in general, and so are the snorkel and the winch as far as I know.
Suspension travel also doesn't seem to be so extreme as in most prerunners, but that front bumper... It's hard to not think of a prerunner while looking at it, seemingly providing an outstanding approach angle.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Would the Volkswagen T2 "bus" still have a sustainable market-share in Brazil if it had received ABS brakes?

Needless to say the Volkswagen Type 2 van became an icon, not only among the most versatile vehicles but also culturally due to its influence, and in Brazil it soldiered on until late-2013 when updated safety regulations dictated that every new car or commercial vehicle should have ABS brakes, and dual airbag for new cars and some utilitarian vehicles according to their rated payload or passenger capacities if not fitted with dual-range 4-wheel drive. With its last iteration actually having some versions eligible for an exemption from the airbag rule, such as the panel van based on payload while a 15-seater school shuttle (escolar) and a 12-seater share-taxi (lotação) are registered as a bus in Brazil, the fitment of ABS brakes could render it still legal for Volkswagen to extend the production of the Kombi even further, even if the 9-seater Standard trim (which was the only passenger version that holders of a regular car driver license in Brazil can legally drive) would have to be phased out. Sure a panel van would be enough for many of the private buyers who get a T2 to convert into a campervan, while for most commercial operators who still opted for a Kombi the versions with a higher seating capacity made more sense.

Commercial vehicle buyers in Brazil tend to have a much conservative profile, so the Kombi had its fair share of suitability to the preferences of many operators, while its size was still more convenient on city traffic than some newer vans and trucks and a rear weight bias favored its cross-country ability without the expense of 4-wheel drive, which is an unusual feature for vans in Brazil anyway. Sure stricter safety and emission regulations would render it harder to keep the T2 up-to-date, such as the recently-enforced evaporative emission rules implemented this year, following the American standard instead of European and dictating the end of the supplemental gasoline tank which served as a cold-starting aid for flexfuel cars in Brazil, which the Kombi retained since the first dedicated-ethanol versions. Seemingly outdated, yet still beloved by operators who keep their Kombis operating instead of switching to newer vans with more safety and comfort features, the Kombi still had a quite sustainable demand in Brazil and little to no investment on advertising since the late-'90s, so most likely it would retain its market share if it had received ABS brakes once they became mandatory.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Coachbuilt full-size Brazilian Chevrolet square-body truck from the late-'80s

Brazilian car market has its fair share of makeshift models, with region-specific features sometimes not finding anything similar elsewhere, and it used to be that way for a quite long time since motor industry became consolidated at a first time in São Paulo state in the '50s, even though some companies such as GM had CKD assembly plants prior to that. General Motors for instance, started officially its Brazilian operation in 1925, having started to increase local content of its commercial vehicles range in 1934 and making the first Brazilian Chevrolet truck with a Brazilian-made engine in 1957 when the operations at the São José dos Campos plant started. That plant still makes trucks as of 2022, even though Brazilian production of full-size pick-up trucks and medium-duty commercial trucks came to an end in late-2001, yet old models such as the D20 which is basically a Perkins Diesel-powered Brazilian equivalent to the American square-body C20 are still a common sight, sometimes with extensive modifications including double-cab conversions meant to address both the lack of this option for professional operators and the restrictions against imported cars from 1976 to 1990 prompting wealthy Brazilians to consider choosing a full-size truck which could be upfitted in a way quite similar to the American "conversion vans".
It's worth to notice the Brazilian truck range used to have a much slower evolution than its counterparts from the United States, or even from neighboring countries which in fact relied on a considerably larger amount of imported parts often including most of the body panels, and a more work-oriented profile of most truck buyers prompted not only GM to offer a much more austere range having fewer options as a factory-fit, which in turn provided opportunities for all sort of aftermarket suppliers. Even though there was the local Suburban equivalent named Veraneio, better known for its large market share both among police forces and other law-enforcemend agencies and as ambulance, it remained stylistically related to the 5th-generation Suburban and 1st-generation C/K from 1964 to 1989, while the trucks switched from the 1st-generation C-series to the 3rd-generation in 1985, so converting a D20 of the 1988 model-year into some sort of van like this one coachbuilt by Auto Renovadora Boff (ARB) in São Marcos city, Rio Grande do Sul state, made sense at all. On a sidenote, during José Sarney's presidential term there were fiscal advantages for trucks, and even the ones with a payload below one metric ton could be converted to run on Diesel fuel while such modification was forbidden (and much harder to circumvent) for cars.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

5 reasons why it's somewhat curious that no early Jeep version ever featured a Ford Model T engine

Many circumstances can be accounted while considering the involvement of United States in the World War II, which was prompted by the Japanese attack to Pearl Harbor in December 7th, 1941, leading to a war efford which influenced other aspects of ordinary citizens' lives life in the aftermath, and the Jeep is one of the most noticeable icons of that period. Considering the Ford Model T engine was still produced until August 4th, 1941 for special applications which included not only its usage as a replacement part for the Model T which had a production run extended from September 27th, 1908 to May 26th, 1927, it could've sounded eventually simple to resume production of this engine for the war effort and adding a few improvements to keep it up to the task. Among many reasons, at least 5 sound quite curious when it comes to no version of the early Jeep to have ever featured the Ford Model T engine...

1 - technical features of both engines: while the Willys L134 "Go Devil" with its 2.2L displacement, a higher compression ratio and a more rev-happy (well, sort of) nature could seem quite obvious, instead of trying to upgrade the Model T's 2.9L engine with a slow-revving nature and a somewhat pathetic (for our modern standards) compression ratio, it's also worth to notice there are some resemblances. It's also worth noticing there are similarities, such as both following a very similar water-cooled 4-cyl sidevalve layout and featuring a 3-bearing crankshaft, which could render a Willys MB suitable to feature a Ford Model T engine with high-compression head and pistons, a stroker crankshaft, a camshaft with an optimized profile, a better carburettor, among other improvements which were already tried and proven by early hot-rodders way before the V8 craze took over;

2 - familiarity of the military personell: even though the Jeep featured a cockpit layout more similar to a modern car, many of the military personell of the United States and other Allies during WWII had their first experiences with motor vehicles on a Ford Model T and its very own arrangement of pedals and levers. While the Jeep revolutioned the market rendering 4-wheel drive a more common feature on utility vehicles, it's worth to notice the Ford Model T retained its foothold as a workhorse among some people who eventually refused learning to drive something else well after WWII, given its influence on a worldwide basis. Sure there were those soldiers unfamiliar with driving at all, who could easily stall while trying to drive a Jeep for the first time because of the clutch pedal, so the setup of the Ford Model T with its automatic clutch could've been a blessing to say the least;

3 - suiability to harsher environmental conditions: the Jeep featured a more conventional ignition, so it was a quite critical aspect while fording (no pun intended) a creek for instance, as a distributor is way more sensible than the commutator of a Ford Model T. Both a distributor and a commutator follow the firing order, but the distributor gets high voltage from a single ignition coil fed by the battery, and then feeds each spark plug cable according to the firing order, while the commutator feeds low voltage from the magneto to individual coils also according to the firing order, and then each coil feeds high voltage to the spark plug cables;

4 - technical suitability of 4-wheel drive regardless of engine: featuring a different engine wouldn't render 4-wheel drive unsuitable to the Willys MB Jeep, just like many modern retrofits have proven, yet an almost forgotten experience of 4-wheel drive conversions to the Ford Model T such as those done by Jesse Livingood have already proven a seemingly ancient engine design was not a problem at all. While the all-around drum brakes of the Jeep were better suited, in contrast to the Model T which resorted to a bands setup at the transmission for the main braking and drums at the rear wheels for stationary brake only, it's worth to remind the Rocky Mountain brakes which resorted to the stock drums to supplement the weak transmission brake on the Model T;

5 - the Jeep had been also made by Ford during the war effort: considering other military vehicles which had different engines according to the manufacturers who provided them during the war effort a reasonable circumstance, and Ford having also made the Willys MB Jeep yet renaming it Ford GPW, it would make sense to use one of its own off-the-shelf engines.

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Why is the Asia Motors Towner still interesting to say the least?

Definitely underappreciated nowadays, the Asia Motors Towner was a Korean license-made derivative of the Daihatsu HiJet, and had its fair share of commercial success in the '90s on export markets such as Brazil for instance. Against all odds, once in a while I still see well-preserved examples of the Towner in my hometown Porto Alegre, mostly of the passenger versions which seem to be taken better care of than their cargo counterparts. Undeniably underpowered even for the standards of the "popular" cars in Brazil in the '90s, with its 3-cyl 0.8L engine, it's quite uninviting to go on a highway, yet it's possible to eventually rely on one as the only motor vehicle of a household due to its interior volume and the ease to find parking spots even on a crowded street.
Finding suitable tires due to the small wheel wells turns out to be the major hardship when it comes to maintenance, even though mechanical components or even the entire engine may also be replaced by something out of some other small car or even motorcycle engines can be adapted, as long as keeping one functional is more relevant than retaining fully-stock features. While the solid-axle rear-wheel drive layout may seem outdated, and a 5-speed manual transmission may seem unappealing for most modern drivers, it's still easier to repair than an automatic transmission or CV half-shafts. Maybe wouldn't be so bad to get one, as it's convenient for city traffic and could eventually also go occasionally on highway with plenty of space for luggage...

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

5 reasons why a hot-rod could still be tempting to eventually use as a daily-driver

Naturally it might be easier to look at some ancient cars such as a Ford Model A as if they were nothing more than a historical curiosity, either stock or hot-rodded. Odd enough, as the time went on, it became way more common to see them with some modifications either for looks or for functionality, including the fitment of a more modern engine and other improvements to brakes and suspension for instance. No wonder such a beauty could be tempting to eventually still serve as a daily-driver, and at least 5 reasons could be pointed out:

1 - it may look cool: sure it's a more subjective aspect, but the classic appearance of a hot-rod has its fair share of beauty, and it's quite obvious that nowadays a Ford Model A Tudor for instance would stand out of the crowd;

2 - the owner may limit how "modern" the car could be: with so many technical changes within the automotive industry, newer features were becoming more widespread on new vehicles and increasing their complexity. And even though basically every modern body-on-frame pick-up truck may highlight the suitability of such improvements to some older body-on-frame cars, some owners may have their own preferences on how much of such features would be desirable to have, considering most of those were not mandated when the cars more sought after by hot-rodders were originally manufactured;

3 - engine/transmission options may vary: even though the most orthodox definition of a hot-rod has been focused on American V8 engines, with the corresponding toll on fuel-efficiency applying, other engine types can also be fitted. Also considering how a stock 4-cyl engine of a Ford Model A could be souped-up before the small-block V8 engines became mainstream across the Big Three after World War II, even something which could be seen as "unorthodox" such as either a 4-cyl turbocharged gasser or even a turbodiesel could serve just right. And automatic transmissions to improve comfort in town are also not out of question;

4 - crash standards may be less of a concern for some people: sure a modern car with many airbags and crumple zones has its advantages, but not everyone really cares about it. Had some vehicle without airbags and crumple zones not be roadworthy at all, motorcycles would've been forbidden already;

5 - the owner may have the chance to know better the car: unlike newer cars which have been too complex for the average Joe to perform maintenance at home, hot-rods have usually been way more engaging, and their owners more mechanically-inclined and willing to learn all the aspects pertaining to how the car works.

Monday, August 01, 2022

'42 Packard Super Clipper Special Club Sedan

A beauty which may be rare even in the United States, as the Packard Clipper had been introduced just a few months prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, this '42 Super Clipper Special Club Sedan is definitely a historical benchmark on its own. Also remarkable is the straight-8 engine with the crankshaft supported by 9 main bearings, while the standards of its era would deem 5 main bearings acceptable for a competitive straight-8, even though the valvetrain retained the sidevalve/flathead layout. Odd enough, Packard's straight-8 engine performed similar to the OHV V8 engines which were experiencing an increased popularity in the postwar.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Ragge California, a late-'80s Brazilian Volkswagen-based mini SUV

Brazil is well known for the long-time prevalence of Volkswagen in the local market, and when imports were severely restricted from the mid-'70s until the reopening in the '90s, makeshift models catering to customers looking for something to stand out in the crowd relied on Brazilian-made mainstream cars as a source for engines and other components. That was the case of the Ragge California, a mini SUV with the Volkswagen powertrain and a fiberglass body, originally released in '86 branded simply as Ragge and renamed in '87, soldiering on until '89. There was another derivative named Long Beach, released in '90 when it was less competitive due to the reopening of imports, and slightly longer as it retained the standard wheelbase of the Volkswagen backbone frame, instead of relying on a shortened frame. There were exports at least to the United States in form of kit-cars, as well as to Japan and Italy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

BG Truck, a Brazilian derivative of Chevrolet C-Series trucks

Besson & Gobbi, the manufacturer of the Volkswagen-basaed Miura sports car, ventured in the '90s in the "dual-cab" conversions for trucks, having released models based on the Chevrolet C-Series, which by the was had been one generation behind the evolution of its American counterparts since the '70s. A configuration which used to have its fair share of popularity in Brazil gave a sedan-like appearance to trucks, most often resorting to fiberglass instead of steel for the bodywork. Besson & Gobbi had some expertise with this material, which had been used for the body of the Miura range prior to the BG Truck series which was its last attempt to compete with imported dual-cab trucks and SUVs which took over the Brazilian market after the imports were reopened in the early '90s. This one that I spotted in Porto Alegre, my hometown and also where Besson & Gobbi was headquartered, is a '94 model-year the last year before Chevrolet full-size truck production moved from Brazil to Argentina.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Brazilian Fiat Tempra with the 2-door bodystyle specific to the domestic market

With a production run that went through '90 to '96 in Italy, '90 to '99 in Turkey, and '92 to '98 in Brazil, the Fiat Tempra had two options unique to Brazil, which were the 2-door bodystyle offered until '94 for every trim of the 2.0L engine either with 8 or 16 valves, and the sporty Turbo version from '93 to '96 in 2-door and the 4-door Stile in '95 which was renamed Turbo Stile after the 2-door body was phased out. Spotting a Brazilian Fiat Tempra is not so easy anymore, as many succumbed either to neglect due to a more criterious maintenance it demanded when Brazil was still reopening to the imports or were beaten the hell our ot, and the 2-door version is reported to be the last developed specifically to Brazil in a car which was meant to be marketed locally as somewhat upscale, until the 4-door bodystyles became more sought after in the mid-'90s. As crazy as it may seem, the prevalence of 2-door cars in Brazil even in the mid-size segment can be traced back to the influence of the Volkswagen Beetle...

Thursday, June 02, 2022

GMT400 Chevrolet Silverado with the fuel cap in an odd position?

With a short production run in Argentina and Brazil between '96 and '01, the GMT400 Chevrolet/GMC full-size pick-up trucks had some regional differences. Available only on 2WD with a 5-speed manual transmission, the engines available were either a multi-port injection version of the straight-6 for the base model or some regionally-sourced Diesel such as the 4-cyl naturally-aspirated Maxion S4 and the turbocharged MWM Sprint 6.07T without intercooler. Local equivalents of the 3500HD were only available with the Diesels, while a short-bed 2500 regular-cab featured the gasser from '97 to '00. A noticeable difference of the Argentinian and Brazilian GMT400 Silverado, and an incorrectly named GMC 3500HD which in fact was the same 2500 with the turbocharged MWM engine, the fuel cap is located at the right rearmost quarter of the pick-up bed, with the fuel tank at the rear overhang instead of saddle-mounted in parallel to the left frame rail with a filling neck on the left front quarter.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

VW Beetle former taxi from my hometown

It may seem shocking to find out 2-door cars in Brazil had been used even as a taxi, but it's not easy to understand how things work sometimes. Even before the oil embargoes of the '70s, some cities already had Beetles operating as the so-called "táxi mirim", when bigger 4-door cars usually from American automakers were the rule for the service, soon losing their leadership to the Beetle due to its lower cost and easier operation.
Sure it was not the best option when it comes to interior space and luggage capacity, but the Beetle had a considerable presence in the Brazilian taxi segment until the early-'90s, and even other models with a more modern design were still more common in 2-door bodystyle because this feature was perceived as easier to retain resale value, certainly influenced by the widespread presence of the Beetle in Brazil and the perception of 4-door versions of other cars as rendering them more suitable to taxi or fleet usage.
Access to the rear seat in some 2-door taxis was facilitated by the removal of the front passenger seat, which became an usual practice when the Beetle ruled the segment. It's always worth to remind the usage of seatbelts was not so strictly enforced in Brazil until '99, and little to no effort used to be done by traffic enforcement to prevent carrying passengers in a luggage compartment as long as it was closed, then it was OK to eventually carrying kids in that luggage space right behind the rear seat of a Beetle for instance...
To make it easier for the driver to close the passenger door of a Beetle taxi, the most usual method was to tie a rope at the armrest, while the other extremity of the rope was placed at a convenient location to be simply pulled with little effort. This would seem extremely unlikely to happen nowadays, when most if not every city in Brazil requires only 4-door cars to be used as a taxi.

Monday, May 09, 2022

Why is it a good move to transfer the production of the Chevrolet Joy from Brazil to Colombia?

One of those economy-cars which may become a valuable asset for its manufacturer, despite the SUV madness which took over the world, the Chevrolet Joy began as an entry-level variant of the Brazilian 1st generation of the Chevrolet Onix after a facelift, which it only received when it became a model of its own after the release of the 2nd generation of the Onix. Having been phased out from the Chevrolet range in Brazil in early 2022 as it was uncompliant to recently implemented emission regulations, even though demand on regional export markets remains sustainable, in April there were announcements of a move of its production base from a Brazilian GM factory São Caetano do Sul to the Colombian plant of GM Colmotores in Bogotá, which is actually a more logical move than it would appear at a first glance. After the recent retreats of GM from India started in late-2017 with the end of local sales, leading to its export-oriented business being ultimately phased out around 2020 when manufacturing and sales were also phased out in Thailand and Indonesia, setting a base to manufacture an affordable car is much more important to retain a foothold on some budget-oriented and conservative markets, also eventually being desirable in regions other than South America and the Caribbean once the Chevrolet Spark still made in South Korea gets phased out which is scheduled to happen in October this year.
Having both the hatchback bodystyle which seems to be more viable for other regions where entry-level Chevrolet models are currently sourced mostly from China and to a minor extent South Korea, and also a sedan formerly named Chevrolet Prisma which would most likely fall under the friendly fire from the SAIC-GM joint-venture despite its simpler engine rendering it more suitable to harsher environmental conditions and poorer maintenance, the Chevrolet Joy may be just marginally more expensive than the subcompacts formerly sourced from India. The transfer of its production base to Colombia may render it relevant for Chevrolet to secure its foothold in Latin America, where in 2018 the Joy still named Chevrolet Onix and available with an optional automatic transmission was the best-selling car in the entire region, despite being unavailable in countries such as Mexico and some island nations in the Caribbean partly because of the GM Caribbean operations having mostly mirrored the Mexican range even in strictly-RHD markets such as Trinidad and Tobago while the Onix and Joy are LHD only. Now that manufacturing operations in Mexico and South Korea are more oriented toward SUVs and mostly bound for export to the United States and Canada, and the São Caetano do Sul plant is also becoming devoted to light-truck and SUV manufacturing for the Brazilian market, and the regional exports which are also likely to increase due to the GM retreat from Thailand where truck manufacturing was the core business, it's worth to consider the GM Colmotores as a suitable site for the Chevrolet Joy due to a sustainable demand claimed to be around 35000 units yearly with 70% of the volume bound for the regional export markets in South America such as Argentina, Ecuador and Peru, even though it could be desirable even in countries with a Pacific coastline in other regions such as the Philippines where a geographic proximity is supposed to render the Korean Chevrolet Spark more competitive than a Chevrolet Joy hatchback while the sedan would eventually struggle harder to set a foothold.
While the Chevrolet Joy had a 1.0L engine in Brazil due to tax advantages, in contrast to the 1.4L fitted to export-bound units which is not actually much more expensive to manufacture, eventually bringing back the automatic transmission option could appeal to former buyers of the Korean Chevrolet Spark in regions other than South America while keeping the Colombian manufacturing even more sustainable. Sure there would be some arguments against switching the production site because the president of GM for South America is the Colombian Santiago Chamorro, but it's a smart move to consolidate operations at the GM Colmotores plant which is currently underused as a CKD assembly site for Isuzu trucks and bus frames imported from Japan, so even an affordable car which is supposed to be unprofitable makes sense both at a local level and occasionally beyond South America, considering some other markets are nearly as conservative and budget-conscious. In the end, this is a great opportunity both for GM to keep competitive and for Colombia to become a more important player as a car manufacture and export hub.

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

2001 Ford Ranger with a Brazilian old-style double-cab conversion

Much have already been said about bureaucratic restrictions preventing the fitment of Diesel engines to most light-duty vehicles in Brazil, with a few excemptions granted to trucks or other cargo vehicles tied to a minimum payload of one metric ton, off-road capable vehicles with a dual-range 4WD system, or a minimum capacity of 10 seats including the driver which enables registering vans or SUVs as a minibus in order to ensure the legality of a Diesel engine even when the payload in a 2WD model is smaller than one metric ton. Argentinian-made versions of the Ford Ranger used to have different payload rates for a gasoline-powered model, more similar to their American counterparts, and the turbodiesels which had a higher payload within the Brazilian rule either for a 2WD version like this one or a 4WD which would be legal with a Diesel even if the payload remained the same as the American counterparts. Despite the availability of a factory-built double-cab bodystyle since the '98 model-year, the Brazilian tradition of a more leisure-oriented aftermarket conversion retained a strong foothold for a while. Converting a truck into a sedan-like model was an usual approach to eventually circumvent restrictions against the fitment of a Diesel engine to a "normal" car, which may justify examples such as this 2001 model-year Ranger XLT which was originally a regular-cab, with the 2.5L Maxion HS turbodiesel sourced regionally, and 2WD. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Beer-vending Volkswagen Beetle

One of the most iconic vehicles ever, the Volkswagen Beetle becomes quite a great mobile billboard for different businesses. Either stock or modified, it's one of the easiest ways to bring the spotlights on.
This specific Beetle, a Brazilian model presumably from the mid-'70s was turned into a mobile stand for the sale of craft beer at events. This was not the first beer-vending Beetle that I have seen in my hometown Porto Alegre, but its partially-removable roof contrasts with other setups which retained the fixed roof.
I didn't even try the beer which was being sold at this Beetle, but I'm sure it's a great marketing tool.

Thursday, April 07, 2022

150cc Yamaha motorcycle with trailer

Utility trailers for motorcycles have been quite usual in my country for a while, mostly in smaller towns and sometimes the outskirts of bigger cities, even though they were illegal until some years ago. Now subjected to stricter regulations, they're slowly appearing more often in my hometown Porto Alegre.