Most Innovative Car Maker - type's'
Who do you think and why ?

For instance:

Ford - mass production ?
Toyota - lean ?
Mercedes - Safety features ?
Most Innovative Car Maker - Altea Ego
Innovative? Renault.

invented two complete market sectors with the Scenic and the Espace.

pioneered and achieved the first 5* ncap.

and tried to invent a third market sector and failed, in the process making the trully gorgeous Aventime,


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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Most Innovative Car Maker - carl_a
Innovative? Renault.
invented two complete market sectors with the Scenic and the Espace.


Scenic invented a market segment, nah Nissan and honda had models out years before Renault did.

Espace wasn't originally from Renault, it was intented to be sold as a Talbot but the company changed hands and the design ended up with Matra who built it and was finally sold it as a Renault.
Most Innovative Car Maker - ukbeefy
My understanding was Matra developed the design concept and it was originally offered to Peugeot who failed to grasp its potential (also they would not have had an existing FWD suitable for it) and instead it was offered to Renault.

I do find it amazing that Renault gets such credit for creating the Scenic segment when things like the Nissan Prairie as the 5 seat MPV (arguably still a very clever, incredibly spacious design - remember my Dad seeing it at a motorshow and observing the capability to carry things like a stepladder slid under the rear seats as they were mounted well clear of the floor) and Mitsubishi Space Wagon as the 7 seat mid sized MPV were around for a long time prior to this.
Most Innovative Car Maker - adverse camber
Do you mean currently innovative or historically innovative ?

most of that safety stuff was saab when it was still a european company.

Citroen - lots of things, suspension, rear windows of CX, materials,
saab turbo, fwd
audi quattro
NSU - wankles - bet the swear filter takes that out!
Jensen - FF.
Most Innovative Car Maker - Pugugly {P}
Land Rover - The original (civilized) 4WD, when properly sorted is still world leading in many respects. OK a Lexus is shinier but which one would you want on a rainy day on a shoot in woodland with two excited very wet dogs ?

BMW (who else) for their remarkable diesel and petrol engines (have you seen the spec of the new petrol 3.0litre) and keeping with RWD for a real driving experience.
Most Innovative Car Maker - DP
I have to second Audi for the ur-Quattro. The transmission design was a work of genius. No bulky transfer boxes, but a clever "shaft within a hollow shaft" arrangement, driving both the centre diff and the front wheels. Compact, simple, elegant and utterly reliable. Dominated rallying, made a beautiful, fast, balanced road car, and provided the original inspiration for the Cosworths, Imprezas and Evos that followed.
The same engineering principles apply to the current DSG transmission as well, which works on a similar hollow shaft principle. All pioneered by the ur.

I know I hide my love for the ur well, but credit where it's due ;-)

Most Innovative Car Maker - Stuartli
>>NSU - wankles - bet the swear filter takes that out!>>

Probably not because it's actually (Dr Felix) Wankel IIRC.

As rightly pointed out, Saab (and not Volvo, but great PR) who led most of the safety features innovations initially, whilst I fully agree about Citroen's wonderful engineering inventions and way ahead styling.

Fiat, for instance, developed the smallest utilitarian car in the 1930s, the Topolino; the much loved 500 and the first MPV (whose name I can't recall, but had three rows of two seats).

The Minor and Mini led the way too in many areas, but there are so many it's difficult to remember them all.
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Most Innovative Car Maker - type's'
>>Do you mean currently innovative or historically innovative ?<<

Any really - in fact both - I just find it a really interesting subject and the people here some of the most knowledgable people on motoring subjects.
It is always interesting to see who the real innovators are.
Most Innovative Car Maker - Stuartli
Don't forget the components suppliers - companies such as Bosch have provided the technology that has played a huge role in furthering the motoring cause.
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Most Innovative Car Maker - Avant
"Fiat, for instance, developed the smallest utilitarian car in the 1930s, the Topolino; the much loved 500 and the first MPV (whose name I can't recall, but had three rows of two seats)."

Believe it or not, it was actually the original Multipla. Late 1950s I think - derived from the Fiat 600, so with six up performance would have left the skin safely on a rice pudding.

Most Innovative Car Maker - Stuartli
>>the original Multipla>>

Of course, that's why I couldn't think of the name..:-)

But I could picture the vehicle.
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Most Innovative Car Maker - Xileno {P}
It has to be Citroen:

Hydropneumatic suspension
C-Matic transmission
Direction sensitive headlights
Flat four engines
High level rear lights
Best mass market diesel engines unrivalled for years.
Clever use of rust free panels.
Most Innovative Car Maker - 10 Jags
I think Renault is somewhere near the top.

First hatchback - Renault 16 (I know the Auston A40 sort of had a hatch) and the Austin Maxi came afterwards
Mini-MPV - Still go with Renault
MPV - the septics (yanks) got there years before the Espace

Toodle Pip
Most Innovative Car Maker - Chris S
Tatra - for having a V8 hanging behind the rear-axle!

When the Gemans invaded Czechoslovakia they commandered big Tratas as staff cars. So many German officers lost control of them that they became known as the Czech secret weapon!

Unfortunately Skoda copied the set-up with the Estelle.
Most Innovative Car Maker - mike hannon
Honda without a doubt.
Twin cam engine in mass production car, S800, 1966. (Ford had finally given up on side-valve engines just five years earlier).
Air con and cruise control standardised for some models from late 1970s (and still work too!).
ABS on the Prelude from 1983.
Fuel injection standard on the Prelude 2.0i and Accord EXi from 1985 - double wishbone independent suspension too.
Clutchless transmission on UK Civic from about 1973.
All aluminium construction, NSX 1991.
Electric fold-away roof, CRX 1991.
There's probably more but I don't want to bore anyone (again).
Most Innovative Car Maker - DP
There's probably more but I don't want to bore anyone (again).


Only one obvious one that I can think of.

Bringing variable valve timing to the masses in the 80's.
Most Innovative Car Maker - Stuartli
Auston A40 sort of had a hatch>>


The Austin A40 Farina, designed by Pininfarina, was the first mass produced hatchback. Between 1958 and 1967 a total of around 340,000 were built.
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Most Innovative Car Maker - Baskerville
It has to be Citroen:
Hydropneumatic suspension
C-Matic transmission
Direction sensitive headlights
Flat four engines
High level rear lights
Best mass market diesel engines unrivalled for years.
Clever use of rust free panels.


Don't forget front wheel drive in the aptly named Traction Avant (did it just pip SAAB to that?) which also had fully independent suspension in the mid-1930s. Apart from being one of the best looking cars ever.
Most Innovative Car Maker - Lud
I think Ferdinand Porsche with the VW pioneered the flat four for mass market, Xileno, many years before the Citroen GS. But what Citroen really did pioneer in the mass market was of course the now near universal front wheel drive, although other small-volume makers had used FWD before Citroen. The transverse engine, now also nearly universal, was Issigonis's idea in the first and real Mini. Rear engine, such an agreeable change to see one these days, how I loved those Skoda Estelles, may well date from the very first days of the automobile when the machinery tended to be under the seat ....
Most Innovative Car Maker - Lud
Damn, you pipped me Baskerville. But my first car was a light 15, heh heh.
Most Innovative Car Maker - Lud
Actually Baskerville the Traction Avant wasn't a fully independent setup, rear axle was a trailing beam as with many modern FWD cars... The thirties breakthrough car that did have all independent suspension was the Lancia Aprilia, great pity most of those have rusted away because they were wonderful.
Most Innovative Car Maker - Baskerville
Actually Baskerville the Traction Avant wasn't a fully independent setup, rear
axle was a trailing beam as with many modern FWD cars...


I stand corrected then. Didn't the Avant get hydropneumatics before the DS? I seem to remember from a book I did years ago that Chrysler pioneered the monocoque and aerodynamics on cars in the US (on the Airflow) and that Citroen borrowed the technology for the Avant.
Most Innovative Car Maker - Lud
I believe some of the later Big Sixes - a traction avant-like car with a 6-cylinder engine - had hydro-pneumatic self-levelling suspension at the back. Good way of trying out DS bits before the event.

All the most advanced mass market firms were looking into monocoque in the thirties, VW, Lancia and Citroen in Europe and I am sure the US big three at least. .
Most Innovative Car Maker - stunorthants
So no real winner then. It also depends if the innovations were actually of great significance. Citroen may have developed fancy suspension, but its not widely used compared to conventional methods, so is it just a preference rather than progress?

It would seem though, that most advances in cars come from Europe and Japan.
The only thing the Americans got good at was making big engines more economical, although never more powerful... I seem to remember reading an article on the Cadillac Seville and it said that the 4.6 V8 could get around 30mpg, which would be considered good nowadays in a large car, let alone ten years ago.
Most Innovative Car Maker - Stuartli
>>it said that the 4.6 V8 could get around 30mpg>>

Presumably with an Imperial gallon?
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Most Innovative Car Maker - horse
Think Saab could be the frontrunner, especially as the Saab firsts were so much more widely adopted than citroens.

List of saab firsts from wikipedia:

headrests as standard
diagonally-split dual brake circuits
headlamp wipers and washers
heated front seats
impact-absorbing, self-repairing bumper
side-impact protection bars
mass production turbo
passenger compartment air filter
asbestos-free brake pads
front-wheel drive car with ABS
Most Innovative Car Maker - mike hannon
Drat - I knew there was something I had forgotten - and I have a VTI!
I think the flat-four Citroen engine - which was a good 'un when the cooling worked ok - was one of the assets which came out of their take-over of Panhard.
And front-wheel drive was by no means unknown by the mid-1930s when it was mass-marketed by Citroen - the name Alvis springs to mind...
Difficult to argue about Saab as an innovator, of course. What a shame they turned into Vauxhalls with an extra coat of paint.
 

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