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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, just like the late 90's when we saw almost every auto maker feel the pressure that they absolutely had to add an SUV to their lineup, the same thing might happen and seems to be happening with roadsters.

Let's look at a partial list (not in any particular order)
  • Chrysler Crossfire
  • Dodge Slingshot
  • Dodge Viper
  • Nissan 350 convertible
  • Lexus 430
  • VW Concept R (nose looks like an Audi...)
  • Audi's TT
  • Porsche Boxter
  • Lotus Elise
  • Opel's Speedster
  • Mazda's NC
  • Chevrolet's Corvette (longest run on a single model name?)
  • Cadillac's XLR (reskinned C6 Vette)
  • Morgan's Aero 8
  • Mercedes SLK
  • BMW Z3, Z4, Z8
  • Honda S2000
  • Subaru B9SC
  • Saturn Sky
  • Pontiac Solstice
There are many more I haven't remembered, and I haven't included most of the smaller manufacturers. Now, the list I presented here is a very mixed bag covering a wide range of prices, so don't nit pick the list saying this one or that one doesn't belong because of cost. That's not the point.

Here's the point: I wonder if this isn't possibly a leading indicator of a trend wherein every maker feels they must have a roadster.

In your responses, bear in mind that I am well aware that some (many) of the listed roadsters are old models, or have been around for a long time. Just remember that the SUV and Chevy's Suburban was introduced back in 1936, and what I'm getting at is that by the late 1990's, companies you would never have thought would introduce SUV's did. That list included Lincoln, Cadillac, Porsche, Mercedes, Lexus, Acura, BMW, and others. My point is that if even Dodge and Pontiac are working on roadsters, when will Ford get serious about a modest cost roadster? (The Shelby Concept is really closer to a super car than a roadster for a common man.) And will Lincoln and Mercury be far behind?

Yeah, yeah, I know the Viper, Vette, Z8, XLR, Morgan, and others are way up in the price range, but again, that's not the point. My point is that while Ford does have the beautifully executed 2005 Mustang, I'm wondering if we won't start seeing more roadster concepts from them in the next 2 years. And will Volks Wagon actually discontinue roadster efforts? (Yes, I know they canceled the Concept R, revived it, and canceled it again, so let's not hash that one in this thread also.:nonod: )


Could the later part of the first decade of the new century see a similar pressure for roadsters that the last decade of the previous century saw for large SUVs?

With recent gasoline prices stabilizing at around $3 per gallon in the US (I know it's 3 to 5 times that in Europe, so let's not beat that one to death in this thread either. ;)) smaller cars might be making a bit of a come back.

Now, some more food for thought:
In the 50's and 60's, it was station wagons. In the late 70's through the late 80's, it was mini-vans (because that generation grew up with the station wagon as the family car and didn't want that when they started having their own kids). Followed by the 90's, with the next generation buying SUVs, because they too wanted something different from their parents. Now, the XUV's are looking more and more like station wagons with each passing year, and the Magnum is even a chop top styled station wagon! (Don't get me wrong, I drove a hot rod Pontiac Catalina Station wagon, so I too like the styling, and it was hard to argue with the 0-60 times in the low 6 second range from my self built 7.6 liter; so bad ass wagons are a welcome blast from my own past)

Here's where I'm going with this:
We had 4 seat muscle cars, Firebird, Camero, 442, Mustang, GTO, Charger, Roadrunner, et cetera. Currently, we have various recent 2 and 4 door 4 seat factory hot rods STI, EVO VIII, GTO, Charger, Mustang, various BMW sedans, Maximas, and many many I haven't mentioned. Could we be seeing a stronger return to roadsters partly because they're not the same old 4 seat hot rods our parents drove? Or is it that designers (under Bob Lutz first at Chrysler, now at GM) are finally being allowed to bring their beautiful designs to market as real cars?

Now, while I should probably RUN AND DUCK UNDER THE TABLES!:leaving:I'll stand here, and be pelted with the inevitable barrage of tomatoes. :eek:

Be sure to aim for my center of mass before you let fly! :thumbs:
 

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Natural Automtoive Evolution...

...gotta stay fresh. It's about time there are numerous roadsters to choose from. For those of us who are still going through basic education (high school and college) and those of us who have to spend money on more important things, this is the first time we've been able to get our hands on this segment of the automotive industry... unless we want a bar of soap.

With GM, it is more like "keep up with the Jonses, but get a better looking car for a better price... and outdo the Jonses."
 

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Yep, it will be interesting to see how long the fad lasts. Which companies stick around and which drop them like a hot potato after a few years having deciding to focus their limited resources to the "next big trend" in automotive design.
 

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I think you may be on to something, although I think it's possible that the reasons vary from company to company. I don't believe Pontiacs was to keep up with anyone, but rather for the reasons they have stated.
As to individual reason, I didn't do it because other people have them. If that was my reason I would have bought something else a long time ago. I did it because I love the looks of the Sol.
 

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I know lots of Jones', but none of them have roadsters. Guess they will just have to try and keep up with us Un-Jones folks.... :) :lol:

That is when we finally get our roadsters..... :(
 

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Crimson Avenger said:
Or is it that designers (under Bob Lutz first at Chrysler, now at GM) are finally being allowed to bring their beautiful designs to market as real cars?
Let's hope it's this reason. Lutz could really be classified as a modern day Harley Earl, in that he's returned power to the designers, and they're selling cars. Being an industrial designer myself, and having plenty of sales experience in my past, I know that emotion is the best seller you can have, and you create emotion in a car by the way it looks.

The smart car companies will look at GM and emulate their successes by bringing more beautiful cars to market (or at least cars that aren't watered down - some ugly cars to us are gorgeous cars to others - and that create an emotion about them.) We can only hope that the "higher-ups" recognize design as the catalyst for a successful vehicle and not a formula. I'm sure the formula for the Aztek looked great on paper, it's like a swiss army knife on wheels. But it doesn't do any one thing so well that it tells people "you gotta have this." Ugly is always ugly, and not many people like ugly.

Take this for what it's worth, but an old high school buddy of mine always came back with this if someone told him his mama was fat: "well your mama's ugly, and you can't jog that off!" :lol:
 

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I think SUVs are a fad who's time has come and gone. They will always be popular among some, but most people don't want to suffer the disadvantages in ride, handling and fuel economy for it. I think the station wagon will make a comeback - look at the Dodge Magnum and other mid-size hatches making a come back. The environmental movement killed the wagon. SUVs didn't have to follow the same rules, so it filled the gap when station wagon's died off.

I can't say why there are so many roadsters offered today. It must be evolution. It seem the convertible was all but dead when Chrysler reintroduced the LeBaron Convertible. (Was it the Le Baron).

Anyway, I am glad to see all the roadsters, but no they aren't the wave of the future. Unlike SUVs, they are way too impractical to be anything more than low volume. Nice to see all the choices, though.
 

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Pontiac desperately needs a halo car, and the Solstice is meant to be that car. Some companies market roadsters as bread and butter (Mazda), some just to get floor traffic (Plymouth Prowler). At this point, it is hard to say which role the Solstice will end up taking, although it it clearly intended for both roles. As long as the cars deliver on the promise, there is no reason they won't be able to make money on it, although with the limited volumes it will never be a huge money maker for Pontiac, unless you count the people that buy G6's because they went to the dealer to look at the Solstice.
 

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Uhhh, Ford DOES make a roadster. It's called the Miata (or MX-5); maybe you've heard of it? ;)

Ford owns 33% of Mazda, and thus conceivably, 33% of the profits from making the best selling roadster of all time go to them. I'd say between the Miata, RX-8, and Mustang, they've got the affordable sports car segment pretty well covered.
 

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Chris Stack said:
Uhhh, Ford DOES make a roadster. It's called the Miata (or MX-5); maybe you've heard of it? ;)

Ford owns 33% of Mazda, and thus conceivably, 33% of the profits from making the best selling roadster of all time go to them. I'd say between the Miata, RX-8, and Mustang, they've got the affordable sports car segment pretty well covered.
The problem is I wouldn't really call it Ford makinig a Roadster because there is no Ford car based off the MX-5 architecture besides the MX-5 itself. Now I would say Mazda makes Fords, since the Focus line are all based off Mazda designs.

It's like saying GM makes a WRC car because they own a % of Subaru. Yeah I guess so, but it's not really the same thing as GM really making one.
 

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America is aging

jimbo said:
I can't say why there are so many roadsters offered today. It must be evolution. It seem the convertible was all but dead when Chrysler reintroduced the LeBaron Convertible. (Was it the Le Baron).

Anyway, I am glad to see all the roadsters, but no they aren't the wave of the future. Unlike SUVs, they are way too impractical to be anything more than low volume. Nice to see all the choices, though.
Why not a wave of the future? America is aging and 2nd cars are not needed for practicality. Second cars can be "just for the fun of it cars" that 50 somethings (check solstice demographics) worked hard for for 30 years and deserve. Empty nesters can afford it, can rationalize it, and will relive their Route 66 dreams. ROAD TRIP!
 

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I had just commented to a friend that I would never buy a GM product because they were so ugly (a few exceptions), recycled parts from the past decade and overall were unimaginative. Then, I saw a photo of the Solstice and I ate my words. I hope it is BOTH a roadster rebirth AND (finally) an American (GM) car that is worthy of the title "Made in America".
I own a Mercedes C230 Kompressor ('04) but can't wait to get my Deep Sol. It has absolutely captured my "car guy" inside like nothing in awhile. Go topless in a sol!!!! Can't wait - Hurry up ship the 1K's, ZZ's and get to allocations!!!!!!! :yesnod: :thumbs:
 

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brentil said:
The problem is I wouldn't really call it Ford makinig a Roadster because there is no Ford car based off the MX-5 architecture besides the MX-5 itself. Now I would say Mazda makes Fords, since the Focus line are all based off Mazda designs.

It's like saying GM makes a WRC car because they own a % of Subaru. Yeah I guess so, but it's not really the same thing as GM really making one.

Well, the point is, before this year, there was exactly ONE (1) choice for a small, RWD roadster priced at $25k or below, the Miata. So, rather than take the GM approach of trying to make that 1 car into 3-5 different branded/named models, Ford was smart and left that one car to gather all the sales. That's why Ford doesn't make a roadster, it would be competeing with itself.
 

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Chris Stack said:
Well, the point is, before this year, there was exactly ONE (1) choice for a small, RWD roadster priced at $25k or below, the Miata. So, rather than take the GM approach of trying to make that 1 car into 3-5 different branded/named models, Ford was smart and left that one car to gather all the sales. That's why Ford doesn't make a roadster, it would be competeing with itself.
Not true. GM is not competing against itself. The Solstice and Sky are not really competing against one another. They have each found their own market. It is a brilliant strategy.
 

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Editguy said:
Not true. GM is not competing against itself. The Solstice and Sky are not really competing against one another. They have each found their own market. It is a brilliant strategy.
Wow man, you've been drinking too much GM-branding Kool-Aid if you think GM isn't competing against itself.

Okay: I know there are a lot of people on this board who would never dream of looking at another roadster, and the perfect answer to their car-buying question is Solstice. However, for each one of you Solstice-worshippers, there are about 10,000 people who, upon deciding to buy a small roadster, would drive everything from Miata, to Solstice, to S2000, to used Boxster, to Mini convertible, to VW Bug convertible, to Z4 and back again. I haven't driven the Sky or the Solstice, but if the Sky is more different than the Solstice than the Mazda is from either one of them, I will buy you ALL a new matched set, one of each. Yeah, GM is saying one is sportier, one is for touring, which means they will have slightly different suspension calibrations, and they have different styling, and maybe some minor equipment differences, but they are more or less THE SAME BLOODY CAR.

Honestly, here's what I think it will come down to: availability. Someone will really want a Sky, but their dealer has a Sol, or vice versa. Hell, we are already seeing some people jump ship to the Miata or S2k because they can't get a Sol for another year, so why wouldn't a person likely pick one of the GM twins instead of the other?

Think of it this way, there are lots of Mercedes fans who would never drive anything else, and lots of BMW fans who would never drive anything else. But does that mean the 3-series and C-Class aren't competitors? Not on your life. And they are very different cars.

When it was new, a lot of people bought the S2000 because they thought it was a nice little Honda, a Miata from the H guys. They didn't care that Honda built it like a mini-formula car, because it was just another two-seat roadster to these guys. So, GM's efforts to differentiate the two cars will go largely unnoticed, and it will mostly come down to styling preference, and availability. But if you think that every roadster shopper is a slobbering, one-brand-obsessive like some of you guys, you are dead wrong. They will shop around, guaranteed, and the sale of a Solstice will often come at the expense of a Sky, and vice versa.
 

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Chris Stack said:
But if you think that every roadster shopper is a slobbering, one-brand-obsessive like some of you guys, ...
Hey - I bought a Ford once....


... about 10 years ago - no complaints (actually liked it quite a lot), but my slobberingness has driven me back to GM for the last 6 new vehicles

:yawn:
 

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brentil said:
Now I would say Mazda makes Fords, since the Focus line are all based off Mazda designs.

Only the European versions. The US car is still based on the old Ford "World" platform" and not the Mazda3.
 

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It maybe a "keep up with the Jones" segment, but that isn't a new thing. I think it became that in 1989 when Mazda introduced the Miata. That is when the real explosion in roadsters started to happen, across all price segments. What followed in a few years from that point were new roadsters like the BMW Z3, Merc SLK, Porsche Boxtser, and Honda Del Sol along with other sporty convertables like the Mitsu Eclipse Spyder. IMO, that is when the segment became a "keep up with the Jones" segment since roadsters at any price level had been fairly limited before then.

GM is just showing up VERY late to the party, as many of those "new" roadster are in second and third generations these days, or have been replaced by new models (Honda S2000, BMW Z4, etc). Luckily, GM is showing up with a well crafted, stunning entry.

GM is late, but in this case, they appear to be fashionably late. :lol:
 

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Chris Stack said:
Wow man, you've been drinking too much GM-branding Kool-Aid if you think GM isn't competing against itself.

Okay: I know there are a lot of people on this board who would never dream of looking at another roadster, and the perfect answer to their car-buying question is Solstice. However, for each one of you Solstice-worshippers, there are about 10,000 people who, upon deciding to buy a small roadster, would drive everything from Miata, to Solstice, to S2000, to used Boxster, to Mini convertible, to VW Bug convertible, to Z4 and back again. I haven't driven the Sky or the Solstice, but if the Sky is more different than the Solstice than the Mazda is from either one of them, I will buy you ALL a new matched set, one of each. Yeah, GM is saying one is sportier, one is for touring, which means they will have slightly different suspension calibrations, and they have different styling, and maybe some minor equipment differences, but they are more or less THE SAME BLOODY CAR.

Honestly, here's what I think it will come down to: availability. Someone will really want a Sky, but their dealer has a Sol, or vice versa. Hell, we are already seeing some people jump ship to the Miata or S2k because they can't get a Sol for another year, so why wouldn't a person likely pick one of the GM twins instead of the other?

Think of it this way, there are lots of Mercedes fans who would never drive anything else, and lots of BMW fans who would never drive anything else. But does that mean the 3-series and C-Class aren't competitors? Not on your life. And they are very different cars.

When it was new, a lot of people bought the S2000 because they thought it was a nice little Honda, a Miata from the H guys. They didn't care that Honda built it like a mini-formula car, because it was just another two-seat roadster to these guys. So, GM's efforts to differentiate the two cars will go largely unnoticed, and it will mostly come down to styling preference, and availability. But if you think that every roadster shopper is a slobbering, one-brand-obsessive like some of you guys, you are dead wrong. They will shop around, guaranteed, and the sale of a Solstice will often come at the expense of a Sky, and vice versa.
So, by your philosophy Coke should never have made diet Coke because they are competing against themselves. I wouldn't argue against the idea that some buyers of the Sol and the Sky would have bought the other if both didn't exist, but I think for many of us we like one and not the other. I wasn't in the market until the Sol came along, I wouldn't be in the market without the Sol. I don't hate the Sky, I just don't like it enough ot buy it. And my interest in the Sol has nothing to do with GM branding. I just don't like any of the other roadsters in my price range. If money was no object I would be looking at Ferrari, Lotus, Corvette, Cadilallac XLR.
I'm sorry (not really) that it bothers you so much that many of us here love the Solstice (isn't that strange, people on a Solstice forum loving the Solstice!), but that's the way it is and all the trolls in the world won't change that for me. ;)
 
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