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Autoweek is reporting that the 2 seater roadster market is down significantly this year. Especially for the BMW Z4 which is relatively new to the market. Even without the Z4, its still down.

Overall 2004 sales are down 21.1% from the first half of last year. The Z4 is down about 25%, but there are plenty of others down too.

Lots of ideas on why. Some products are older (S2000, Miata, TT) and the Z4's controversial styling and high price are shouldering some blame.

Still, this does not appear to be a good trend for the future Solstice, at least on the surface. The one bright spot might be that sales are down because people are waiting for new roadsters like the Solstice to hit the market before buying. Hopefully that is the case! It would be terrible for GM if the 2 seat roadster market dries up!


Article:
http://autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?...=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=03511333
 

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I also read this artical. I found it interesting that the discussion did not resolve the issue causing the Z4's decline. Is it the edgy styling or the increased price? Gee guys. It's seems the styling and the higher price are independent factors that would both limit the cars appeal. Duh.

As the Solstice is in an entirely different price range, aimed at a different target market, it may fair better.

Personnally I only need them to build one. Supercharged. :yesnod
 

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I agree with the above statement. The Solstice is in a different price range. Those cars above are about double the price of a Solstice with some options on them. I would not be scared at all by what I read when it talks about the SLK, Z4, and Boxster all of them I think are way over priced for what you get. Yes they are nice cars but too expensive for my taste. The Solstice is just right and will be a great new roadster that will shock a lot of people.
 

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The problem is though they mention the Miata as well, and the Toyota MR2 falls in this class as well. Both of these are cars that don't cost that much more than the Solstice will. The Miata is pretty much the closest car you'll get in class to the Solstice right now. The Miata also just recieved a fairly large product refresh with the addition of the MazdaSpeed version. The MR2 however doesn't look like it'll get a refresh in 2005, if it's even produced in 2005 according to some rumors. It really needs it though, it's so underpowered it's not even funny.

This might help explain why no other production Kappa based roadsters have been announced by other companies. If the overall roadster market has had the floor drop out from under it, who wants to develope products into an extremely unstable market segment.
 

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Think about it, we're all on this forum because we want, or are interested in, something new and exciting. Almost all the roadsters out there have been out there, unchanged, for years. Those that are reletively new, like the Z4, seem to have significant flaws or contaversial aspects (why can't the Z4 look like the Z8? What the hell happened?), leaving many people wondering about alternatives.

The fact that we haven't all given up waiting, and bought a roadster that is on the lot now, proves that the current roadster market is lacking. We know the Solstice is coming, we know a new Miata is coming, we know the Lotus Elise is coming, we believe other GM divisions will get a Kappa roadster, and the current roadster market makes us wait and see.

I know that if the Solstice was not going to exist, I'd be shopping for a Miata now. The Solstice promises to be much more than the current Miata, and so I'll wait. I can't be the only one.
 

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The roadster market has never been big, and it barely existed until the Miata fired up everyones imagination and showed the manufacturers how a hot offering that everyone wants can change a brands image. The market is cooling off because there hasn't been anything cool that the mass market can afford for some time, other than the aging miata, and that was never really quite big enough for fatazz american drivers like me.

I really feel that the solstice is going to have the same effect that the miata did when it hit. Everyone is going to be freaked out by how cool they look when they see one driving down the road, and the first buyers are going to be driven crazy by people honking and asking "What is that?" "How much are they?" and "Where can I get one?"

In fact, I predict that the Solstice will single-handedly revive the market niche and many copycats will follow, probably from the other GM brands first. I wonder if Buick will take another stab at a Kappa Reatta?
 

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A lot of factors play into this...

Economy is down last couple of years so people have less disposable income for 40-50k roadsters. As Bob Lutz said, the world doesn't need anymore 40k roadsters. As people have mentioned the styling of Z4 has caused concerns (personally I liked the Z3 better).

On Miata I think the problem is it's been a long liefcycle of the current design which is soon coming to an end...they have a major redesign coming in 2006 so people will hold off buying new to see what happens there. Solstice and all it's fanfare has people (like us) frozen on the sidelines waiting for it....a good move by GM to trumpet Solstice around for last couple of years!.

Solstice and redesigned Miata will wake things up in roadster market in 2005/6 by offering more for less...what a concept. Maybe Solstice marketing campaign should be all the roadster at half the price :yesnod
 

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I think a redesigned, high performance MR2 would help the roadster image a lot as well. But more then likely that wont happen.

I also think the Elise will help boost the roadster image in america as well. Pretty much the entire first years run, plus most of the second year are already taken due to pre-order. It'll be an awesome car that people want, but it's $40k+, and hard to get. However a lot of people will be inspired by the roadster style. Those who can't afford the Lotus will then start looking for other roadsters below that that fit their budget. And that's where cars like the Solstice will shine the best.
 

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Solstice will be much like the Fiat 124 spyder

If you look back at history (1966-1982).Times when small Convetibles were not a hot ticket a little Italian company named FIAT came out with a little relatively inexpensive car called the Fiat 124 spider to the US market. It was much what the Soslice will become.
This car was priced right(Solsitce ($20K), had good performace for the time(Solstice 170hp) but most of all it had technology behind it! even in the late 60's this car had 4 wheel disk brakes, 4 wheel independant suspension and great realiabilty(Solstice, hydro forming, aluminum suspension parts, gm reliability)

Back in the day, over a 15 year period this little company cranked out 170720 cars! They averaged about 20000 a year , until its decline. This was the most successfull convtible until the Miata came along.

For those of you looking a for a interm roadster fix, check out a Fiat, they are cheap, parts are cheap, a bit of mechanical knowledge is needs or a good mechanic, but best part is they are a blast to drive.
 

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Agree about the Z4's styling being a severe handicap. In my opinion, BMW is going downhill fast in this area. I feel the Z3 was a much better looking design than the Z4.

Not to take this thread too far off course, but I test drove a Z3 3.0 a couple years ago and didn't find the structure stiff enough. When I went over a bump, I felt a wave motion go though the car like the chassis and body were flexing. I'm hoping the Kappa platform is lot more rigid.

Bottom line, I think if Pontiac builds it right and prices it right, these sales statistics won't be representative of how the Solstice does.
 

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ambient said:
Back in the day, over a 15 year period this little company cranked out 170720 cars! They averaged about 20000 a year , until its decline. This was the most successfull convtible until the Miata came along.

For those of you looking a for a interm roadster fix, check out a Fiat, they are cheap, parts are cheap, a bit of mechanical knowledge is needs or a good mechanic, but best part is they are a blast to drive.
That's only about 11,000 cars a year for the whole world. I wonder what US sales were. It is an example of a good value roadster, although I hope the Solstice ends up having a better repair record! I don't know about Fiat being "a little company". They're no where near as big as GM, but in Europe and the rest of the world they are a major player. I think GM now owns a large intrest in Fiat and I believe it is rumored that the seats for the Solstice are to come from Fiat.

The 124 is a fun car, and it looks great, but like most roadsters from the 70's, you can expect to be working on it a fair amount. It also no where near compares with more modern roadsters for performance, but like you said, good cheap fun.
 

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I own a Z3 and looked at the Z4 but price and style kept me from buying. The Z4 did address some of the short falls of the 3 but I just could like the style. I bought our Z3, 3.0L with 10k miles on it and one year old for 33k. A Z4 with the same equipment new was 46k.
 

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AeroDave said:
...I know that if the Solstice was not going to exist, I'd be shopping for a Miata now. The Solstice promises to be much more than the current Miata, and so I'll wait. I can't be the only one.
You're right, you are not the only one! :D
I too was looking at Miata (least expensive and clean lines) this year until I got wind of the Solstice. My concerns are cost and looks. The other roadsters are too expensive and basically doesn't look good to me or are not practical. The Z4 has me scratching my head. I thought the Z3 had a more classic look. The MR2 has no storage! I'd like to be able to go on a weekend trip away from home and not have to buy dental floss when I get where I'm going (okay, an exageration. But not by much.). I haven't heard anything about the new Miata thats coming so for my money it is a one horse race.

Solstice to win, place and show! :yesnod
 

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dls6774 said:
I haven't heard anything about the new Miata thats coming so for my money it is a one horse race.

Solstice to win, place and show! :yesnod
I'm not counting Miata of it...I think they'll come to the plate ready to swing in 2006. They are keeping their plans very quiet while watching Solstice for last few years.
 

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Yes but the pictures I've seen of the new Miata bode well for GM. In order to establish product line identity, Mazda's done that "funny" thing with the front wheel openings that they did on the RX. It's a love it or leave it style device. I'm on the "leave it" list, as are a lot of other people.

Perhaps I'm restateing what others have said, but there are just too many 2 seated roadsters in the same 30 to 40 grand market..care to list them all? At short notice, I can think of ones from Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Audi, Mecedez, Porche and BMW. Do you call an Elise a Lotus or Toyota? Move into the low 40's and the list gets longer. Add Jaguar, Chevy, Ford, etc. But Solstice is in the 20 to 30 grand market, which is underexploited.

I'm sure Solstice will do well the first few years. But a car of its type will require more frequent "refreshing" than say an Grand Am in order to stay up with the competion that will surely follow it's introduction.
 

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mceb said:
I'm not counting Miata of it...I think they'll come to the plate ready to swing in 2006. They are keeping their plans very quiet while watching Solstice for last few years.
True.
But I was thinking about the timeline... When the Miata first came out it was what $12K? As time went by they added stuff to the base vehicle that began to raise its price. Now the base is about $23k. I'm thinking that a newer, redesigned model of a vehicle that has been around for years isn't going to be selling for less than the previous model. Probably more?

The Solstice on the other hand is at the beginning of its timeline. It is going to have the lowest price it will ever have now as it comes to market.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I tend to agree with everyone here that says the Sosltice will invigorate the Roadster market.

The 30K plus roadster market is way too packed with offerings. The S2000, Boxster, Audi TT, 350Z, SLK, Crossfire roadster, Thunderchicken, Corvette (on the high end) Z4, among others. Thats a lot fof niche market iron at a relatively high price. Most people cannot afford to park any of these vehicles in their garage as a primary vehicle, much less a secondary vehicle.

The Miata has always been popular, but it also has limited appeal. Its great fun to drive, but it is also very small. People who may otherwise consider it feel it is a little too cramped, or they feel a little too vulnerable on the highway. Same with the MR2. Then there are people looking for more power, who end up gravitating to 4 seat convertables like the Mustang because there is no power in the under $30K roadster set.

The Solstice with good power (assuming a high output version) and mid $20ks price seems just what the roadster market needs. Miata has done very well over the years, but more power and a little more room at a Miata like price might just be the sweet spot for the market!
 

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dls6774 said:
I was just reading some of the previous posts.
How did I miss this?
It's great!
I'm available if the Pontiac Marketing team wants me. I work cheap...1 loaded Solstice is my fee :yesnod
 

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I think that the situation that GM & the rest of the industry finds themselves in will force them to hold the line on prices (for the Solstice). GM has already said that the list price for the 05 Vette (coupe) will be less than the 04. Go figure that? This whole Kappa deal is about making money on a low volume model. In fact, that was the mantra that sold it to the big shots @ GM. This pricing weakness may play right into our hands (as buyers) when the Solstice hits the dealerships. I don't expect any discounts, but on the other hand, maybe it will reel in those dealers looking for big a market adjustment (read rip off) on the car.
 
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