1990 in motoring includes developments in the automotive industry throughout the year 1990 by various automobile manufacturers, grouped by country. The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells motor vehicles.
Ford launched a new, fourth generation Escort in September 1990, ten years after the last new model was launched. The new Escort was available with 1.3, 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8 petrol engines as well as a 1.8 diesel. Other models had extras including electric windows, power steering, anti-lock brakes and central locking. There was also a saloon car version, the Orion.
Rover launched an updated Metro which added styling modifications to the previous design. The previous 1.0 and 1.3 A-Series engines were replaced with a new 16-valve K-Series units, with a choice of 1.1 or 1.4 litres. The saloon version of the 200 Series - the 400 Series - went on sale as a competitor to the Ford Sierra and Vauxhall Cavalier. In spite of the recent launches of similar-sized cars, Rover was still producing the Maestro and Montego ranges, though now in lesser numbers.
Nissan ended its use of the Bluebird name on the launch of its new medium-sized range of hatchbacks, saloons and estate - the Primera - in September 1990. Power came from 1.6 and 2.0 petrol engines as well as a 2.0 diesel. The hatchbacks and estate cars were produced at the Sunderland plant in England, but the estate was fully made up in Japan. There was a wide range of trims. Meanwhile, its Micra range was the 11th most popular car in Britain during 1990, making it the fifth most popular car in its sector and the most popular car imported from Japan. An updated Sunny range would follow in 1991. At the supercar end of the market, Nissan had launched the 300ZX, with a top speed of 155mph to compete with cars such as the Porsche 911.
Renault launched the new Clio, a range of three- and five-door hatchbacks on the continent in May 1990 and would arrive on the British market in March 1991. Power came from a new range of 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6 petrol engines as well as a 1.9 diesel. The Clio was the replacement for the R5, though the car was still being built in Slovenia. Renault also had a new, smaller model planned for a 1992 launch.
BMW launched a new 3 Series late in 1990, for the compact executive market, ranging from basic 1.9 litre to the 2.5 litre petrol engine unit. Equipment levels were generally good, but some of the less expensive models had a radio and sunroof as only optional extras. The 3 Series range included a four-door saloon, and the remainder of the old 3 Series range remained on sale until the forthcoming new coupé, cabriolet and estate replacements were launched.
Volkswagen gave the Polo a major restyle to its exterior and interior after nine years on sale. A completely removable stereo/cassette player was added as a new security measure. The 1.0 and 1.3 petrol engines were carried over from the original 1981 Polo, but there were two more powerful versions of the 1.3 - the "GT" and "G40". Sales began in the autumn of 1990. In 1991 launch was planned of the third generation Golf.
Fiat had given the seven-year-old Uno a major redesign in 1989, with the interior and exterior changed substantially. There was a new 1.0 petrol engine at entry-level, with a 1.4 option at the top end of the range. Some models had electric windows, central locking and a sunroof as optional extras. The Uno Turbo continued as Fiat's rival for the Peugeot 205 GTi and Ford Fiesta XR2i.
Alfa Romeo expanded the 164 range to include a lower priced 2.0 four-cylinder version.
The Lancia Prisma, saloon version of the Delta hatchback, was replaced with the new Dedra.