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Annette Winkler, head of Smart brand arrives on stage with a Smart ForStars model on media day at the Paris Mondial de l'Automobile September 27, 2012. (JACKY NAEGELEN/REUTERS)
Annette Winkler, head of Smart brand arrives on stage with a Smart ForStars model on media day at the Paris Mondial de l'Automobile September 27, 2012. (JACKY NAEGELEN/REUTERS)

On Display

Cars you won’t see in Canada Add to ...

When I wandered by the Honda stand at the the Paris auto show, I came face to face with something many of us would like to see in Canada, but won’t: a turbodiesel-powered Civic.

Honda showcased the 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine in the Civic, with reports circulating that the engine will appear in the European CR-V crossover next year. The new European CR-V looked very much like the CR-V launched in late 2011 in Canada and elsewhere, other than different lights and a modified cabin. So why no diesel, Honda Canada? If the CR-V is nearly identical on both shores, surely this is possible.

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Mazda announced that Canadians will get its new diesel in a forthcoming model next year. From my perspective, it would make sense for Mazda to put its small 2.2-litre SkyActiv turbodiesel in its hot-selling CX-5 crossover, a direct rival to the CR-V. Is that Mazda’s plan? The company is not ready to confirm. But we are definitely getting that clean 2.2-litre diesel in some Mazda model starting next year. It’s a gem and its meets very stringent Euro 6 emissions standards.

Honda, the ball is in your court. We know you have the technology; we saw it in Paris. Mazda is doing something you can’t? Hmm.

I also saw Volvo’s XC40, the V40 Cross Country, the one from the Swedish car maker owned by Geely of China. Yet officials on Volvo’s stand in Paris said this elegant, stylish compact crossover won’t be sold in Canada or the United States. Volvo apparently doesn’t think it can make money on the XC40 in North America.

But the XC40 will be sold in recession-wracked Europe and the slowing China car market, too. There was a time when Volvo was Canada’s No. 1 premium auto maker and there was also a time when the United States was Volvo’s No. 1 market over all – for decades, in fact. Now Canada and the United States are an afterthought for Volvo, which has plans to build Volvos in China, but not the U.S., nor Canada.

And yet, BMW sells the X1 in both Canada and the United States and Audi is readying the similarly sized Q3 for North America, too. Just-auto.com reports that not only is Volvo keeping the XC40 out of Canada and the U.S., the Belgian-built V40 compact will not be sold on our shores, either, even though it once was. We saw the XC40 in Paris and it would look very good in Volvo Canada showrooms, without a doubt. I’m betting Volvo Canada dealers feel the same as I do.

I’d also like to see the updated Ford Fiesta from Paris roll into Canadian dealerships, with its upcoming turbocharged 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine. No one from Ford in Paris could say if this highly fuel-efficient, EcoBoost Fiesta would soon roll into Canadian showrooms, but this one looks like a no-brainer – if Ford can find a way to keep the price affordable. Ford of Canada, over to you.

And this brings us to the Smart brand from Mercedes-Benz. Smart showed an electric-powered concept car – the two-seat for-stars concept – that was as wild and wacky and therefore interesting as anything at the Paris show. This concept suggests where Smart is going with its styling when a total and much-needed revamp of the lineup happens.

So now we’ve seen the for-us pickup concept shown at the Detroit auto show in January and this ForStars, which hints at a new crossover model. Stop the tease, Smart; just revamp Smart’s lineup and put the new models in Canadian showrooms as soon as possible. Alas, word on the show floor is that a redesigned fortwo won’t arrive until 2014, with a bigger ForFour coming in 2015.

These and others romanced us in Paris, then left us heartbroken – at least for the time being.

 
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