I read that before on Forbes or another source - personally, I think he has it all wrong... but, like you said it is all opinions until we see how these cars do in the marketplace. Personally, as long as they drive even 4/5ths as good as they are being described, I think they will be able to sell every one they can make...
I read the article differently. What he said was that a unique car selling 25k units at $20k will not make any money.
However 4 or 5 "nitche" cars based on the same platform and differnt price ranges can. Solstice alone cannot make it just as the Fiero alone could not (and it just took a Citation power module and stuffed it in the back).
However if the Solstice is the lead car in a range of similar cars with both higher (Buick ?) and lower (Chevrolet ?) targets and demographics then maybe.
It all depends on how much market identification and lead in to other sales you can develop.
The RWD is the biggest surprise but is the way to go for a real performance car. When introduced (and this may be a reason for the delay) I can see it sucking sales from the GTO/Monaro.
Keep in mind that Pontiac has *always* wanted a two seater. In the first gen Firebird days there was the Banshee that got nixed by corporate. The first of a raft of GM two seaters in the 80s was the Fiero. Pontiac has also always been something of a maverick division. They pushed GM policy to the limit in bringing out the first GTO and are doing the same with the new one (and how they handle the "Gas Guzzler" image is going to be interesting).
It is entirely possible that if the GTO tanks then either the SOlstice could be cancelled or moved up to this year for intro (though Chevvy would not want to share the Cobalt spotlight so maybe Feb 2005 as a 2006 model - also a hallowed Detroit tradition that goes back to the 63 1/2 Fords).
GM has always had a tough time entering the sports car market but the success of Mazda/BMW/Honda/MB/etc in the open car market is hard to miss. And if the economy keeps heating up, the timing is going to be right.
However you can figure that GM is not tooling up for a 25k annual market, they are looking at a minimum 100k annual market from the same platform, the red sports car is just to get the family into the showroom.
Now that red sports car is going to have to prove itself. If the enthusiasts say "ho-hum", the families dragged by junior are not going to flock to the showroom. There is a lot of truth in the old southern saying: "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday".