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by Michael Hines
Big-time automakers flocked to Brazil in an attempt to capture the hearts, minds and wallets of South Americans.
It can be safely said that the Sao Paulo International Motor Show is not the biggest auto show around. That being said, the Brazilian auto show has been gaining steam, as evidenced by all of the stellar concepts, special editions and new models shown off at the 2012 incarnation of the show. These vehicles range from conceptual crossovers to a special edition Veyron. Remember where you heard it first: The Sao Paulo International Motor Show will be huge within a few years.
This is the Volkswagen Taigun, a miniature version of the Tiguan. The modern-looking Taigun has a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine that is both turbocharged and direct-injected. The 110hp engine is good for a 0 to 62 time of 9.2 seconds and a top speed of 115 mph. Volkswagen has kept coy on whether or not the Taigun will be built, but they did confirm that it could happen.
It may be hard to believe, but the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse has yet to be launched in South America. That's all about to change with the Rafale edition. What sets the Rafale apart from other Veyrons is its dolphin grey paint job and blue carbon fiber accents. Conversely, the interior of the Bugatti is covered in blue leather with dolphin grey accents. Bugatti's latest special edition has been priced at a cool $2.5 million.
Nissan proved that it does crazy crossovers better than anyone when it debuted the Extrem. The four-seat concept, nicknamed "Baby Beast," was created by a team of Brazilian designers working with Nissan Design America. The "urban rally car" would be powered by the same 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine found in the DeltaWing racer.
Renault's DCross concept is easily the most interesting car the French automaker showed at Sao Paulo. The Dacia Duster-based crossover sports a lime green paint job and looks more than capable of handling the great outdoors. You know a crossover means business when its spare tire is located on the roof.