In move to capitalize on Brazil’s fast growing SUV segment, Honda has unveiled the Fit Twist crossover. Exclusively for the Brazilian market (at least for the time being), the rugged Fit is said to maintain the ease of use and driving comfort of the Fit hatchback while offering a sportier image with a bold design.
Designed by Honda’s local automobile R&D team in Brazil, the off road-inspired Fit Twist is distinguished from the standard Fit by a bolder front grille, new fog lights, roof rails, plastic body cladding and aluminum side plates. Except for new seat upholstery, the interior remains unchanged.
Despite its rugged looks, the Fit Twist doesn’t even get an updated suspension, featuring the same ride height as the Fit hatchback. It also shares the hatchback’s 1.5-liter flex-fuel engine, which produces 116 horsepower when running on ethanol and 115-hp when using gasoline. Power is sent to the front wheels, rather than all four wheels, through either a manual or automatic transmission driving.
The Honda Fit Twist goes on sale in November 2012.
China’s Geely Enters Brazil with Emgrand EC7 Sedan
“Os chineses estão chegando” — that’s what our counterparts in Brazil are probably saying after China’s Geely entered their country with the Emgrand EC7 sedan. Loosely translated, it means “the Chinese are coming.”
Here in North America, we have been saying that even before the financial crisis, but so far nothing has materialized…yet. Undeniably, Geely’s entry into Brazil is just part of the beginning of a broad expansion of Chinese automakers out from their uncertain home market into the rest of the world. No country, rich or poor, will be spared. They will be knocking on our door soon enough.
Emgrand is actually a more luxurious sub-brand of Geely. As one of its primary models, the EC7 — with its clean and modern look inside and out — is sold in 20 countries around the world and was the first Chinese-made car to pass the Euro-NCAP safety crash tests, having earned a respectable 4-star rating in 2011.
Brazil has one of the largest and fastest growing auto markets in the world. Factor in the country’s less stringent safety standards, and it’s a no-brainer why Geely and Emgrand want a piece of it.
Assembled in Uruguay, the Emgrand EC7 will be sold throughout South America, with Geely saying in a statement “The products assembled in the Uruguayan plant will principally serve the Brazilian and Argentinian markets, in accordance with the South American Common Market Agreement.”
The Uruguay plant has an annual capacity of around 20,000 units of four separate lines of vehicles, three of which will be built in the future: EC7, EC7-RV, GC2 and GX2 EC7, EC7-RV, GC2 and the GX2.
Hyundai HB20S For Brazil, Details and Pictures
Hyundai Motor has unveiled the HB20S for the Brazilian market. The tiny sedan completes the Korean automaker’s HB20 lineup, which includes the HB20 hatchback — named 2013 Brazilian Car of the Year — and the HB20X crossover.
The HB20S will likely be powered by the same three engines as the hatchback: 1.0L and 1.6L, with a manual gearbox and 1.6L, with automatic transmission.
The three HB family of cars are expected to further boost Hyundai’s presence in one of the world’s fastest growing markets.
Sales of the Hyundai HB20S will begin in April 2013.
Infiniti Coming to Brazil in 2014
Infiniti is now part of the latest batch of premium automakers heading to Brazil, having recently begun offering its vehicles in Singapore, Chile, Dominican Republic, South Africa and Australia.
Seeing that the Brazilian market is notably larger than all of the aforementioned markets, it is only natural that Infiniti would start pushing its wares in the region. The company will enter the market with its FX and JX SUVs and the next-generation G sedan, all three of which will be sold at two Infiniti Centers in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in 2014.
“As part of Infiniti’s worldwide expansion, Brazil is a logical addition to our footprint for premium car owners,” said Johan de Nysschen, President of Infiniti. “By 2014, premium vehicles with a unique combination of inspired performance, attentive hospitality and unparalleled quality will become a reality for the Brazilian market. We are delighted to enter Brazil as we know discerning customers there are very receptive to premium brands.”
Rival Acura has also confirmed its intentions to enter the Brazilian market in 2015.