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THE WEEK THAT WAS: Evoque under scrutiny and a Waku Waku tailgate

By Graeme Roberts | 24 April 2015

Waku waku is a Japanese expression for exciting. Apparently.

Waku waku is a Japanese expression for exciting. Apparently.

We put Tata Motors' Land Rover's Range Rover Evoque under the microscope this past week, asking how long the model, just mid-life facelifted, can continue to be the automaker's golden goose.

We also took a look at General Motors' 'game changer' plans for OnStar in Europe and I took a long-awaited look around Honda's Swindon, England, factory where the excitement is palpable in the build up to the global Civic hatchback hub future planned for it.

Swindon provided a useful cue to have a look at Toyota's product and plant engineering revamp, a hold on new plants having been recently lifted.

First quarter production and sales results have been rolling in and we learned, surprise, surprise, that Volkswagen's Golf remains top of the European model sales tree.

We also started to see some effects of lower fuel prices in the US. Just this week online buyers' bible Edmunds.com said buyers were choosing SUVs over electrified models while Ford plans to lay off an entire shift - about 700 people - as fewer buyers are going for its compact Focus and C-Max models in both petrol and hybrid forms.

Speaking of Ford, the automaker has a pilot car sharing system going here in the UK and has just ramped it up into a second phase - essentially offering one-litre, fuel sipping Fiestas and the electric Focus, primarily in London.

Car sharing clubs offering a variety of often electric car models are not uncommon but having a major automaker behind one adds gravitas. If you've ever tried to drive in London (congestion charge), find a park and pay for it, the Ford system makes a lot of sense.

Finally, from the land of wacky ideas and tiny but ingenious cars, we give you (drum roll) Honda's clever Waku Waku tailgate. It's a modern day take on those two-way opening tailgates you used to be able to option in to a full size American or Australian wagon decades ago applied to a much smaller car.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com