Blog, Interrupted


Hi all,

Forgive the lack of activity but we had a minor family emergency that called me away for a few days, followed by a busy weekend.

Normal irregular transmission should resume some time this week.

In the meantime, here’s one of my favourite European car memories from the 1980s, the Renault Fuego. Thankfully, I’ve never spoiled the memory by driving one.

I hope you’re all well.

Renault Fuego


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  1. I saw a Fuego for the first time in ages just last week. Obviously the metric rims had been replaced by something else. That was not Michelin’s finest hour.
    The Fuego was a floppy insubstantial beast. It drove a little like a 12 with a solar collector for a rear window. When the A/C worked, it simply could not cope with the glasshouse effect. Springy steering (at least the front wheels returned some feedback, unlike way too many modern vehicles) and floppy gear change were not the stuff of a sports coupe. The interior was quirky and offered good comfort for four.
    It’s predecessor, the R15/17 were more sports oriented, and the buyers stayed away in droves. Ironically, quite a few Fuegos caught fire.

  2. Ah, but it had the BEST seats, possibly of all automotive time. Clarkson still raves about them. I had a 12, 17, and 18, all modified to some extent, often with Fuego bits and pieces to make them fly. Tough engine that could generate lots of power and heaps of torque. Yes, the aircon was inadequate and the gear change was rubbery as all get out. But it was one of the most stylish cars on the road in its day and still turns lots of heads.
    I miss my wife’s 17 and they never sold either. Turns out that they all sat in a holding paddock for 2 years and the sun rotted out the back seats and made the vinyl go brittle.
    If you could work on those cars you could work on anything. Including that other Swedish front drive brand that had a backwards mounted engine.

  3. During the blogus interruptus, I thought I could notify you all about some Saab/NEVS related stuff from the last few weeks as reported in Swedish media… Apologies if it is already well-know.

    NEVS sold 31 cars in December; 15 on first day (December 10) and 16 the rest of the months. Test drivs in Trollhättan should commence in late January or February, with deliveries in April. The price for the 9-3 Aero Sedan (manual) is SEK 279.000:- and that includes 3 years of free service, road assistance, and collision damage wavier [not sure if that is the proper name].

    NEVS has chosen DNB Finans as partner for car loans for private customers. Their interest rates seems a little bit high, though.

    Karl-Erling Trogen has resigned as chairman of the board for NEVS due to personal reasons (health issues). Kai Johan Jinag will replace him. Trogen will continue to act as advisor to NEVS. Also, Mattias Bergman seems to be the permanent President now.

    NEVS is now the second largest “blue-collar workplace” in the Trollhättan region with about 258 employees, a figure that is expected to reach 320 in February. In total, NEVS has about 430 employees and about 150-200 consultants working for them.

    BMW AG has lost a lawsuit in Sweden against Saab Parts AB (now Orio AB) and has to pay Orio AB SEK 2.5 Million for their expenses during the lawsuit. BMW demanded SEK 20 Millon for deliveries of engines and spare parts in 2010-2011 that Saab Automobile never paid for. After the bankruptcy, BMW sued the only surviving part of the former Saab Automobile (it consisted of four companies: Automobile, Tools, Property, and Parts) to try to get some money back.

    Former head of GM Europe, Carl Peter Forster, has come clean. Forster is today acting as senior advisor to the Geely group that includes Volvo. According to Forster, GM had not invested [enough?] in Saab for 12 years when he took the position at Saab and at GM Europe in 2005-2006. He then demanded investment of USD 2 Billion and a business plan with four new models. Lessons learned according to Forster: “Focus on product development”. D’oh!

    1. Good round-up. Cheers for that.

      Hope all is well soon chez Swade. First hire car I ever got a ride in was a Renault. It was a 9 saloon, I think. Late 1980s, anyway. When my dad went to operate one of the stalks it came off in his hand. Such a cliched-sounding ‘French cars back then were characterful but rubbish’ story – but it’s true!

    2. Thanks CTM. I’ve kept across much of it but simply hadn’t had an opportunity to take it all in. That’s a great summary.

  4. Sad news about Lancia. Surely SM has now confirmed the end of this iconic brand! Alfa Romeo may well be next on his hit list unless he finally gets around to actually producing something other than sound bites!

  5. Sad news about Lancia, indeed. I was hopeful that the Chrysler products would bring volume that would help the brand revive and develop interesting variants of Alfa/Fiat/Chrysler products. I think that Lancias would sell here in the US better than Fiat, although less well than Alfa strictly upon brand recognition. Certainly that was a factor.

    The Fuego! I had completely forgotten that one. Quirky styling and a very poor reputation for quality. It exuded uniqueness, which made me curious, but the only ones I ever saw in the flesh were ill-treated which I believe is indicative of how much they were disliked by their owners.