#A Whole Lotta Tauga!
I’ve decided to expand on the story of the Tauga and redesign the original model I made back in August 2015, mainly because I can’t stand it not being improved. So here it is, the complete story of how one of Erin’s most important cars in recent times came to be.
The Tauga is Erin’s compact executive saloon, aimed at being a slighty cheaper alternative to the German-dominated luxury part of this market. It’s renowned for its excellent driving characteristics, good practicality and constant focus on innovation. Currently, it is in its 3rd Generation, and has been produced since 1999.
The Tauga’s history stretches far further back than the year it was released. When Erin were working on their recovery plan, they did consider launching a compact executive saloon along side the brand new Visto and Berlose, but the costs were deemed too risky, and it was decided that it would be far better to spend the money saved on the new Merna so that all three cars could be released at once.
So, the idea of such a car disappeared for some time, until 1993. Having launched the Calvera, Erin’s first all-aluminium production car, a group of Erin engineers filed a suggestion to CEO Marco Erin for a range of aluminium bodied cars that would be at a fairly affordable price, and would greatly improve fuel efficiency. This came at a particularly important time, as the need for greener cars was beginning to become more and more important. So, after some further consultations, Erin began a secret development project to develop a new, advanced saloon car that would be efficient, affordable and would utilise the use of aluminium.
Come 1995, and Erin filed a number of patents and trademarks for the word ‘Tauga’. It didn’t receive much attention, but various information leaks, sightings of concept cars and finally a reveal in 1997 all began to build hype for an upcoming car from Erin that would take on the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C Class.
It was that reveal in 1997 that at last saw the Tauga come to some fruition. A concept was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show that year, showcasing a car not of the future, but a car that “we’d all be driving within 5 or 10 years”. Alongside this, Erin also announced the Millenial engine development program, that would dictate the design of Erin’s engines for the next 14 years. These engines would be made to complement the ethos of the Tauga and introduce the advancements learnt in its development to Erin’s wider range.
Finally, in 1999, the Tauga came to market, available as a saloon, estate and a Coupe, a separately developed version that aimed to create a practical 4 seater coupe that actually had some room for rear passengers. It was sportier than the base model, but didn’t cost much more, and provided a rival to similar cars from the German car makers, but also to the low end coupe market.
The Tauga not only led the way for a new era for Erin, with major advancements in technology, build techniques and efficiency, but it also led the way for Erin’s ‘Millenial’ generation of cars, spearheading the new design style.
1999 Erin Tauga (Mk 1)
It’s 1999. The world is braced for the 21st century. Erin needs a new car to lead the company into the future.
The answer is the Tauga, the company’s first compact-executive saloon. A groundbreaking vehicle not just for Erin, but also for the market it was entering into. Fantastic efficiency, a wealth of technology and brilliant driving characteristics.
This was Erin’s first mass-produced car to be made from aluminium, with a specialised reinforced design that maintained chassis rigidity but also made this car very light compared to its rivals.
Inside, a wealth of driver aids had been fitted, and an all-new digital screen-based infotainment system was fitted onto the dash, a first for the market. As optional extras, the car could also be configured with a Bowers & Wilkins sound system, heads-up display and adjustable sound proofing.
However, the most advanced part of this car was its engine. The flagship model, a 2.8l NA i6, launched Erin’s new Millenial engine range, that saw the use of AlSi, VVL and super lean fuel mixtures for the first time on a mass scale. It ensured the Tauga could compete with its German rivals on performance whilst also outshining them on efficiency, and still made room for very low service costs.
All of these features were aimed at making the Tauga not the car of the future, but rather, the car we’d all be driving in 5 or 10 years time. Erin’s subsequent vehicles have often taken inspiration from this car, and it helped to undermine the German dominance of the executive saloon market in the early 2000s.
1999 Erin Tauga Coupe (Mk 1)
One thing Erin wanted to achieve by developing the Tauga was a proper 4 seater coupe that actually had room for its rear passengers. Rivals like the BMW 3 series coupe often lacked head and leg room, something which Erin wanted to avoid.
Early on in the development stage, it became evident that the best way to do this would be to develop the Coupe version separately to the standard car. They’d be based on the same chassis and share all the same features, but unlike similar cars where the coupe version is essentially the same car but with a sloped roof, the Tauga Coupe would be engineered as an independent vehicle.
In order to create the head and leg room require, the whole cabin was reshaped and put further back. It was also lowered down a fair few centimetres, and a special roof design allowed them to maintain the smooth looks without losing too much passenger space.
The result was fairly good. The car certainly didn’t have the same space as the standard model, but with one less seat and large windows to add plenty of light to the rear of the cabin, the illusion of space was certainly created.
The Tauga Coupe also distinguished itself with its far sportier driving charactersitics, more aggressive suspension setup and a Limited Slip Diff as standard. That made it faster from 0-60 and more fun to drive, but Erin ensured that the pricing did not go out of hand; the Tauga Coupe only ranged from £600 to £1000 more than the base model, and to save time, it was made available with all of the engines found on the base model as well.
Come 2007, and the new Erin Tauga was launched, along side the new Coupe version.
2007 Erin Tauga Coupe (Mk 2)
The success of the first Tauga Coupe prompted Erin to continue it for the Mk 2 version of the base car. However, the focus of the car was shifted quite significantly.
With active suspension and LSD’s now available on most of the Tauga range, Erin wanted to offer a quieter, more relaxed version of the car. While the old Tauga Coupe was more of a sports car, the new one was far more of a GT car, with plenty of luxury and a focus on comfort. Erin’s new range of automatic gearboxes were used a lot on these cars for that purpose.
The car was also greatly improved when it came to passenger space. While the first model had succeeded in creating a 4 seater coupe that people could actually sit in the back of, the new model vastly improved on that, at the cost of some boot space.
The result was a car that drove incredibly smoothly, lacking the sharp-edged characteristics of the standard car, but still creating a rewarding and versatile experience.
Well done if you managed to read through all that, I just kinda let my imagination go wild