In the EU, it’s standard for all cars to equip what’s called a “rear fog light“. They’re available on a small number of cars in the US, and what it is is a single rear light, brighter than a brake light – on the left on the Continent, and on the right in the UK – which alerts cars driving behind you that you’re there when visibility is poor.
Audi has taken the idea one step further, designing a laser rear fog light that illuminates an area on the ground behind the vehicle, indicating for motorists behind it a safe following distance. With the slow introduction of LED headlights and DRL, this is a pretty neat innovation.
Škoda Fabia (Czech Republic)
Škoda, if you’ve never heard of the brand, was started in Czechoslovakia, back in 1895, when they manufactured bicycles. A lot of car companies started that way. But not a lot of car companies eventually found themselves behind the Iron Curtain, building throwaway cars that good citizens paid an arm and a leg for. Škoda did finally get their act together in the late 1980s, and in 1991 they were purchased by Volkswagen, becoming VW’s fourth brand (along with VW, Audi, and the Spanish Seat). Some of Škoda’s cars are based on VW platforms, and do very well in both sales and with the European motoring press.
The Škoda Fabia, which is pictured, is based on the VW Polo, a car slightly smaller than the Golf/Rabbit, and is currently selling in Great Britain for as low as £8,625 (a little over 14 grand US). Although Škodas were available in Canada for a time years ago, I don’t expect VW will ever bring the brand back across the ocean. They’re struggling enough without bringing in a cheaper version of their present lineup.
Audi announced today it is now the official luxury vehicle of the New York Yankees. Fitting, as the only people who’ll be able to afford to see a game in the new stadium are the same ones who can afford an Audi. Okay, maybe bleachers and grandstand seats seats might still be within reach of most ordinary fans, but top price for a seat in the front section along the baselines? How ’bout $2,625. For one ticket. For one game. Yikes!!
Scion has announced plans to unveil a new micro-subcompact concept car at next month’s New York Auto Show. Rumors floating around in the automotive press say it may be a version of the Toyota iQ, competitor to Daimler’s smartcar, which has been garnering attention worldwide as of late. Scion is holding its cards close to the vest, but don’t be surprised if the new car isn’t called the tD.
The long awaited (and delayed) Tata Nano has officially gone on sale in India. The 100,000-rupee vehicle (just under $2,000), touted as the world’s cheapest (or is that, most inexpensive — or maybe both?!) vehicle hits showrooms in limited numbers just as the news hit that Tata Motors is asking the British government for financial help in keeping afloat its newly acquired Jaguar and Land Rover brands. Lucky for us there are no Jaguar or Land Rover plants in the U.S. or Tata’s outstretched hand might reach all the way to Washington!