Pontiac Solstice Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
533 Posts
Any idea if GM will give plant tours of the Delaware facility after they start churning out the kappa roadsters? If I recall correctly, some makers of enthusiast cars do that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
284 Posts
mceb said:
Little Saturn news while we wait for Solstice. I like the way they call it the "unnamed Saturn roadster".

http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2004-06-28-saturn_x.htm

Not "roadster", "sports car". I highly doubt GM will give Saturn a roadster to compete with the Solstice, it will most likely be a 4 place coupe with convertible option. I also doubt that they would give Saturn a higher class roadster because I am not convinced that people will pay $30k+ for a Saturn.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,206 Posts
A loaded Redline VUE is over $30,000. Some folks are buying them.

I'd bet the Saturn will be a more aggressive looking version of the Solstice, with similar or even shared components (same wheelbase, track, and 2 seater).

I may be wrong, but it seems like they are taking a lot of time to get the Solstice right, which is why we're not driving them now.

Now, if you take the Solstice underpinnings, stretch the wheelbase, add 2 more seats (mind you, we haven't even seen the real working top on the Solstice yet), a new fuel system, now it's heavier so you got to put a higher power engine in it, which we haven't seen yet either...

I just don't see it. If it takes 2 years+ for design and development of the Solstice, they can't pull a 4 seat convertible out of their a** in half the time.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,210 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I thought the rumor mill had Saturn getting the Lightning concept top with Solstice bottom (instead of Vauxhall)? If that's true it would be both roadster and potentially more expensive than Solstice.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,206 Posts
Yeah, mceb - that seems to be the latest thinking, and is right in line with what makes sense from a development standpoint.

If we ever see a 2+2 or nomad or something like that as an extension of the platform, look for an announcement that they will build one, probably after some auto show (or after NAIAS in Detroit) some year they have a concept that knocks the socks off EVERYONE, like the Solstice did in 2002.

Then ADD 3 YEARS and you'll get the date you can buy one, as long as the development cycle hits home runs the whole program. Here's a look at solstice history (from AutoWeek website)

[behind the scenes: the concept car is designed and build from Sept 2001-Dec. 2001]

January 2002: Solstice roadster debuts at NAIAS - it's a hit! Hmmm, Lutz starts thinking...

Mid-Late 2002: rumors from lutz and wagoner that they will build the Solstice from the "parts bin", nothing official, looking for platform

January 2003: Smith announces intent to build the Solstice, GM says "studying feasibility"

May 2003: Lutz admits prototypes are being evaluated at Milford Proving Ground, not an approved program

July 2003: Delaware assembly plant looks like where they will build it

August 2003: Prototype caught on road - suggests announcement close

Jan 2004: "Productionized" Solstice shown along with the VX lightning and two other 2+2 Kappa-based concepts - VX shows well, some support for Nomad and Curve (but not runaway hit like solstice in 2002), Solstice still a hit, announced that program is a "GO"

Feb 2004: Some journalists allowed to drive prototypes (Mules) in England

Mar 2004: A Saturn Kappa announced, no details

April 2004: Nomad not well received in clinics (press likes, public luke-warm)

May-June 2004: Articles about the journalist drive start coming out

FALL 2005: Production starts and you can pick up your Solstice at a dealer. (wishful thinking by all of us keeps backing this up - best hope is intro and first vehicle sold by summer solstice, or maybe spring 2005).

That is 2002 to 2005-1/2, or 3-1/2 years from an outstanding hit concept to production. Don't get me wrong, that is outstanding for a brand new platform, and hat's off to the folks at GM that made this happen.

But, all this, and you still won't be able to get a solstice until (officially) next fall. Even taking into account that they might have designed in headroom for all the components, stretching a platform and adding seats and blah-blah-blah means a major platform modification.

So, if they are going to do it, they HAVE to use a style that is or nearly (in the case of the VX lightning) a hit at an autoshow, or they'll have a potential flop that could damage the name of the platform. Or maybe I'm full of it.

Even if they best their time to 2 years (which would be outstanding) for development, we'd see spy pics of prototypes running around, hints that they are building a 2+2, etc. There is zero of that going on - just boasting that Daewoo will get a roadster, and Opel will get one (or they won't)... they might build the nomad, or they won't...

There just ain't enough evidence that a 2+2 is in the cards.

:rant
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,210 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Wow, that's a great summary of the timeline, you should throw that in the FAQ under Solstice history.
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
Good writeup Solsticeman!

Saturn is most likely going to get a version of the lightning, and I think it will come in above the Solstice for price. One wouldn't expect someone to pay $30K for most Saturns (although a Vue Redline gets up there) because they have not had a car worth spending that much on. The Lightning might be it. If they introduce it with a higher powered engine than the Solstice, and load it down with more standard features, they can easily charge more. If the car performs as advertised, they won't be able to keep them on the lot even at a higher price. Instead of the Saturn brand bringing the car down, the car (if its good enough) will elevate the Saturn brand. (which is in part the reason to have a halo car).

This scenario could create some interesting engine options across all the kappa lines. Could you get away with using the same engines, or at least the same uplevel Solstice engine as the Lighting engine too? Would the lightning have to have a more powerful engine? Or a more powerful optional engine than any available on Solstice?

I like the Lightning concept, but I still do not see a need for two roadsters within GM that will be this close in price. It seems GM is going to really be pushing the limits of the roadster market. They better have some more ideas of other cars to build off of Kappa soon to keep the line going.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,206 Posts
Maybe the Fiero problem all over?

(Fiero sold business case on a volume of cars that the market wouldn't support: 120,000/year, vs. less than 50,000 the last year of Fiero production).

Maybe they're trying to increase the Kappa total volume to make the business case better?
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
The Fiero was kind of unique, as was its problem. The actual business case for Fiero was about 75K units a year, and it averaged just about that over its 5 model years. They did sell well over 100K in its first year, but that was a surprise to GM that it sold that well, and in a way spoiled GM with the car as well. The economics were looking bad by 1988 when they sold just over 26K, but low sales in the 5th model year of a sporty vehicle are almost expected. Overall, the car did make money for GM. Internal GM politics probably played a bigger role in killing the car than their business model. But the pressure to sell that many cars, and their increasing doubts that they could were certainly an influence.

Kappa was designed in part to avoid the need to sell that many of one niche vehicle all at once. Instead of 75K Solstices being sold in a year, they could sell 18K-20K Solstices, plus that many each of up to three other Kappa cars that would appeal to other niche markets to make up the 75K (or whatever their overall Kappa goal is).

The problem I see with the Solstice and Lightning is that they are starting to cross over into each others niche market. Although styling is certainly different, and we anticipate there will be other differences, we also think they will cross on price at some point, and essentially compete with themselves. since the roadster market is rather small to begin with, and GM's need to sell 20K of each Kappa car, having two that essentially target the same buyers makes it a lot tougher to do. It would be like if GM had created a Chevy clone of the Fiero, made it look like a baby Camaro, and then declared they only needed to sell 35K Fieros and 35K of the Chevy model. Sounds great on paper, but like the Camaro and Firebird, they were basically the same car, and more or less just competed with themselves for the same buyers. Once there wasn't enough buyers in that niche, they didn't sell well enough to keep on the market. Having one version of the f-body, two, or ten wouldn't have helped out in the end.

The Kappa cars really need to be different from each other. If they are not differentiated enough, they will just cater to the same buyer, and won't sell enough copies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,570 Posts
Fformula88 said:
The Kappa cars really need to be different from each other. If they are not differentiated enough, they will just cater to the same buyer, and won't sell enough copies.
That's why it would be smart for them to do the Chevy Nomad, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Lightning as a 2+2 with a differtent engine. Maybe a V6.

I thought of another GM Kappa car: GMC could do a mini sport pick up like the Subaru Brat, but in convertable style like the SSR. It could share componenets with the Nomad, yet be totally different. Could be very cool. What do you think? Is that crazy? :jester Just trying to help sell Kappas...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
281 Posts
The problem I see with the Solstice and Lightning is that they are starting to cross over into each others niche market.
exactly, which is why i say take the L and make it a caddy. it already displays the Art & Science motif. all it would need is a CTSV grille, smaller fascia openings and vertically stacked headlights. with a PFHTop, NAV, IF HUD and other goodies, it would fit perfectly in their line up. the CTS and STS already matches/bests the 5/7 series BMWs, but caddy has nothing in the 3 series sement or to battle the Z4. :D
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top