Daihatsu will kick off the 2002 Motor Show by unveiling two striking new models, celebrating recent rallying success and by offering something entirely different for young show-goers at its ‘Paintbox’ stand.

There are two stands for Daihatsu at the Birmingham NEC. The main stand in Hall 2 is where show cars will be on display, while in Hall 9 youngsters up to 12 can paint on real cars at the Daihatsu Paintbox.

It is only the second British International Motor Show since Daihatsu Vehicle Distributors Limited took control of the UK franchise in early 2000. And Daihatsu believes press and visitors alike will see that it has been a very busy and innovative 24 months for the marque and its UK operator.

The entire product range has been transformed, in line with the Daihatsu Motor Company’s new world strategy of concentrating solely on developing compact city cars with excellent environmental credentials.

Since the 2000 Motor Show, where Daihatsu launched the all-new YRV, it has gone on to introduce revised models of the Cuore, Terios and Sirion, all of which boast even better emissions and economy figures than their class-leading predecessors.

This year Daihatsu went a stage further still in developing two sportier UK-only versions of the revised Sirion – the 1.3 litre Rally 2 and Rally 4. In doing so it created not only the most powerful, but also the ‘greenest’ 108 PS compact hatches currently available.

Daihatsu’s Managing Director, Andrew Edmiston, said: "We believe the importance of our green message cannot be overstated. Daihatsu differs from all other mainstream manufacturers in that its entire range of passenger vehicles is at the leading edge in terms of low emissions.

"Perhaps the most important fact about how we perceive our own brand, however, is that it does not achieve its excellent environmental credentials at the expense of performance or driver interest.

"Indeed, our own Rally versions of the Sirion boast 0-60 times under 9 seconds and have been well received by even the most dedicated performance motoring press. Yet they still offer ultra-low emissions and up to 56 mpg."

Copen Set To Steal The Show

One car that is certain to steal the limelight on Daihatsu’s main stand is the Copen two-seater roadster. It is the first super-compact sports car to feature a Mercedes SLK-style hard folding roof.

This is the first ever European showing of the stylish high performance 660 cc turbocharged sports car, which so far is only on sale in Japan.

Copen is coined from ‘Compact and Open’ and goes a long way towards describing the car’s concept and appearance. However, it does nothing to explain just how stylish this little roadster really is.

Equally, while the Copen’s overall size is undeniably compact, clever design means that interior space remains generous and there is ample leg and shoulder room for drivers who are six foot plus.

The hard folding roof, meanwhile, not only makes it more suited to the UK’s inclement climate, when it is up it adds to the car’s all-round rigidity to further aid its fine handling characteristics.

Currently not homologated for sale in the UK, Daihatsu is undertaking an engineering and costing analysis into the viability of importing the Copen. And show-goers’ reactions will be closely watched.

Daihatsu’s Triple Rally Success

In its first foray into the world of motor sport, Daihatsu Vehicle Distributors Limited scored a triple success in the gruelling 4,500 km 12-day World Cup Rally from Oxford to Athens, which only finished in the Greek capital last week (Tuesday 15 October).

Daihatsu’s Cuore won first place in the rally’s 1.0 litre class, an amazing first time performance for both the car and its all female team of driver Sophie Robinson and co-driver Catriona Rings.

Further success came in the 1.3 litre class, in which a Daihatsu Sirion, driven by Andrew Actman, took second place.

Yet another victory for Daihatsu was the fact that all four of the near showroom condition cars that entered the event, three Sirions and the Cuore, competing against more specialised rally cars, covered a total of 20,000 km without a single mechanical failure.

Driver Andrew Actman said: "None of our cars skipped a beat and it was almost embarrassing when after each day’s racing, we had nothing to do but kick the tyres while teams in other makes were feverishly repairing various parts of their cars." (See main World Cup Rally release for more details.)

Leather Show Special Marks Rally Success

To celebrate its fresh success in the World Cup Rally, Daihatsu is offering a Motor Show-only special offer on Sirion.

Marketing Director Paul Tunnicliffe explained: "We are offering full leather trim free of charge to visitors who collect a coupon from our main stand to order a Sirion Rally 2 or Rally 4 – from just £9,995 OTR – from their local dealer."

Both Rally Sirions boast 108 PS, compared to the 102 PS of the standard 1.3 litre SL, and each has a sub 10 second 0-60 mph time. The Rally 2 is based on the front-wheel drive Sirion SL, while the Rally 4 uses the four-wheel drive Sirion 4Trak as its base (please see main Sirion pack for more details).

YRV Turbo 130

Making its UK show debut is the new YRV Turbo 130, a turbocharged version of the YRV F-Speed boasting 129 PS and 125 lbs ft torque, making it the most powerful 1.3 litre car in its class by some margin.

Expected to arrive in UK showrooms next spring, the Turbo 130 features Daihatsu’s ‘Tiptronic’-style steering wheel-mounted buttons for ‘manual’ gear changes through its four-speed automatic transmission.

A torque-operated turbocharger uses sensors to maintain optimum pressure at all times to ensure that power from the 1,298 cc DVVT twin-cam engine is always delivered smoothly.

The Turbo 130 will be offered in red or yellow, as well as the show car’s silver colour. Meanwhile, the bonnet air scoop, which aids all important engine cooling, also adds to the car’s purposeful looks, while stylish 15 ins alloy wheels shod with 175 / 55 tyres connect the whole package to the road.

Don’t Try This At Home

Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq will help to get Daihatsu’s radical Paintbox stand off to a fun start on press day (22 October) when more than 300 local school children will visit her at the stand (Hall 9) between 10am and 4pm.

Throughout the show, the Paintbox offers youngsters aged four to 12 the chance to paint on real cars within specially designed graphic areas. Younger children, meanwhile, can paint and draw at special child-sized easels using Daihatsu Paintbox paints and crayons.

Daihatsu has sponsored the Paintbox stand on behalf of show organisers, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Daihatsu’s Marketing Director, Paul Tunnicliffe, said: "We are delighted to be involved with this initiative, which for the first time offers younger visitors to the show a genuinely interactive experience.

"The environment is of key significance to us and this will be reflected in the themes used to decorate the Paintbox cars. This in turn will encourage the youngsters to think about the relationship between cars and the environment."

Published : 23/10/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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