Look, it's been a while since I did some sort of editorial. The mood hasn't struck me in a long time, but sitting in bed this morning I was reminded about a debate I've been having with myself.
It's really very simple, Hyundai failed, and GM needs to jump in, Toyota doesn't get it and probably never will, and no one else is even playing in the field. Over thinking it, has been a common theme for car companies and American buyers, by that I mean North Americans. For some other countries they just toss them whatever they have kicking around and do whatever. Hyundai was the first to really give it a shot, and they did, but missed the point entirely. Mazda has been doing it since '89, but they just never got the price point right, and GM followed them making the same mistake.
The Miata competitor, the Pontiac Solstice, although it's a car I like, it's a huge fail of a design. By huge, I mean, it's massive for what it needs to be, those are 18's from factory. They really should be 16's as the scale of the car is just to large, and again, like the Miata the price point is completely wrong as well.
So what am I getting on about? What's this about saving GM? It's simple, it should be obvious.....shouldn't it? The Genesis coupe was a great idea, but again, turned out to large, to heavy and to over thought. There's to much power, to many gadgets and not enough actual car. Toyota has been spending their days squiggling out the perfect details on a RWD cheap coupe, it's taking them years to even put out a competitor to this Genesis failure. I guess when Hyundai finally revealed their cheap sports coupe the Toyota engineers were relieved, quit stressing and decided to take their time. This is a problem as they too are over thinking it.
GM is perfectly setup for this idea, They've got the ecotec, which is a very decent engine, they've got the Solstice drive train, which is not far out of production and uses the ecotec motor, and they have one of the most base model cars currently produced: The Cobalt. There should be no thought to it, a GM executive just needs to walk down to their design department, and simply yell "Make the Cobalt rear wheel drive, with parts off our shelves". That's it. No crazy marketing campaign, hell don't even advertise the switch, just replace the FWD version with a RWD version. Done. If they can make it cheaper than it already is, do so.
Why do this? Because the people buying Cobalts at their $10,000 new price don't give a shit what drive train is in it, they are just noobs looking for a new car as cheap as possible. It doesn't matter what you offer them, as long as it's "New" and the cheapest on the market, they sell. So why switch? Because no one else offers a base, cheap, RWD. The few customers that bought the Genesis, will regret it, getting nothing similar to what they actually went out to buy. The customers waiting for the Toyota variation(s) will just buy what's available now, simply because they are only in it with the ideals of a new "86". A cheap, light, no frills, RWD. Then there's the band wagon that just follows trend. Word catches that there are RWD cars for $10,000, piles of companies will start producing aftermarket parts, racing and competing in them, that a whole sensation of customizers will jump on board. Let's look at the Scion and Civic nations. People just wanted a small cheap car that was generically 'cool', so much so you still see people buying up EK Civic coupes like crazy, and just throwing clear tailights on them, they too just want to drive what's hyped, and really don't care what it is.
How does this affect the global economy? Much like movies and television, North America's influence on the world is strong. The Cobalt platform is offered in many other counties, they too, would want a cheap RWD. Look at Australia, king of the RWD's, they don't even have an affordable economy RWD car available to them anymore. For some reason Japan loved the 'Toyota Cavalier', and with the ever decreasing number of rat box S chassis's kicking around Japan, an entry level RWD would challange even them on their home turf. Europe got the Opel astra, which is the same platform, and to be honest that continent is piled high with 'hot hatches', to much competition and yet no one is making a car that really follows up the endlessly loved and supported Ford Escort mk1 and mk2. Look at Ireland and Finland: Ireland is the worlds biggest importer of used AE86 Corollas, Finland is the same with KP61 Starlets, Britain the Escort. These countries love their old basic RWD's so much that some of them even produce their own frames brand new just to keep them alive. It's common for their local enthusiasts to spend almost $100,000 to build basically 1.6L rwd's from rotten shells, just to race each other and crash them. Those markets are dying for a cheap rwd.
Back on North America, no longer is there a base model cheap, Camaro, or Mustang. Yes there are base models, but they are not cheap. These were cars started for the youth culture, something fun and cheap for the young people to enjoy, now they are just throw back, expensive look-a-likes to the days most of these companies executives grew up in. Turn the motor 90 degrees, put a solstice diff in the rear, and enjoy the profits.
How is this not obvious to anyone else?????????? Fuck.
Share this post
Back to SPEED HERO Blog