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Our story about Renault's redesigned Scenic MPV (aka minivan, people carrier, etc, etc) with magic Faurecia seats drew a lot of just-auto readers' eyeballs this week. Having specialised for decades in trying to catch out PRs' 'first in the auto world' claims, I was at first cynical.

Yank levers in the load bay in the likes of a two-row Mazda 6 (which has had 'auto' folding rear seats for several generations) or the three-row Land Rover Discovery Sport and, presto, the rear row seat backs obediently and instantly tip forward so you, hands full of shopping/kid/dog etc, have an extended boot and one less thing to worry about. So wot's really noo, Renault? Oh. That. To be really pedantic, this ingenious Faurecia (also a French company you'll note) invention was supplied first to the Regie for the latest Espace - which, back in the mid 1980s, was to the European market what the Chrysler Voyager/Dodge Caravan was to North America. A model most buyers did not know they needed till they saw it. New market segments created both sides of the Atlantic. The death of mom's full-size, nine-passenger station wagon in the US. Several generations on, the bigger Espace is no longer sold right hand drive in the UK but, as buyer preferences have changed, the smaller MPVs - like the Scenic and numerous rivals - have stepped into the breach.

As we note in our article, Renault UK still thinks there would not be much demand -  nowadays - for an RHD Espace. Which means that we British buyers have until now been denied the opportunity to have a Renault with this "fiendishly clever seat folding system", which has till now been seen only in the Espace. The French Tier 1 also supplies the instrument panel, a sliding centre console, the touch-opening glovebox, acoustics and soft trims, a fibreglass composite spare wheel tray and emissions control systems for the diesel and petrol engines. "Unlike the catchy names which Chrysler always seems to come up with for the flexible seats in its various generations of minivans, there is no equivalent to the likes of Stow 'n' Go, which is a pity. Like the rest of us, flipping seats is a vanilla activity... even the electrically folding ones in SUVs such as the XC90 and Q7... - they're just slow and boring. What Renault simply terms its one-touch system is the work of genius. And the best bit? You can even lower them via the R-Link 2 infotainment screen." I reckon they're going to need to keep Scenic show car batteries well charged at dealerships ready for demonstrations.

Still with New Product for a moment, we finally saw the first official images of GM Europe's redesigned D-segment Insignia this week. The Opel/Vauxhall brands offer materials and build quality from Opel's Russelsheim plant just outside Frankfurt all but on par with the rival German premium brands and will share this newcomer with Holden in Australia and New Zealand and, reportedly in sedan form only, with Buick (Oshawa, Canada build) in North America and (I would not be surprised) China, now that US brand's largest market worldwide. And we took a look at FCA's strategy to kill off Lancia, despite domestic sales of just the one model remaining in the range being ahead of the entire tally of the likes of Audi so far this almost-ended year.

Finally, we took a look at Toyota's new TNGA powertrain strategy and learned of news - disturbing to product planners - the mayors of Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens have signed a declaration to remove diesel vehicles from their cites by 2025.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, deputy editor,