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Fformula88 said:
One other thought, if its shaped decently it may also be more useable than the Miata’s because that car has a rather shallow trunk.
Shallow??? 11" is shallow??? :crazy
 

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Fformula88 said:
Trunk space will be a turnoff for some people, but how many people we don’t really know. A comparison to the MR2 is not fair since it sold at a level close to what Toyota really had expected. They only planned on importing around 2000 per year, which is close to its sales level. With the weakening of the dollar, it no longer is cost effective to bring it to the states. They are still making it for sale in Japan.

The Miata is certainly the car it will be cross shopped with. However, at GM’s target sales range I am not sure its going to be compared to competitors all that much anyway. GM is trying to more than double the low priced roadster market. So they are looking for new buyers who are not interested in Miatas at all. Since they are not buying Miatas anyway, unfavorable trunk space dimensions in comparison to the Mazda may not be as big of a factor.

My biggest worry for the success of the car is that the small trunk space will not bring in as many new buyers to the roadster market as GM is hoping for.

One other thought, if its shaped decently it may also be more useable than the Miata’s because that car has a rather shallow trunk. I know the showcar has a weird box in the middle, and it looks useless. However, someone suggested that the production model would be a little different inside.

We’ll see in a few months I guess.
Couple of thoughts on that:
I don't think that GM built this expecting to take many sales away from the Boxster, Audi TT, SLK, S2000 etc, as import buyers tend to be a tough sell for the Domestic makers (I'm a bit of an exception as I have a Z4 and am seriously considering the SKY, but most of the cars I've ever owned were G.M. cars, so I'm very comfortable with the General).
Further, Roadster are kinda fun, but useless cars for the most part and one thing G.M. doesn't want to do is to have the SKY & Soltice steal sales from its other brands. IMO, the Soltice and SKY are meant to be a 2nd or 3rd car and maybe the General has determined that those 2 cars will enlarge the car-pool pie rather than stealing someone elses piece (or their own) piece of the pie. Having a few impractical features (like a trunk too small) to prevent it from being a daily driver for the average Joe (or Pam), may not be counter to their strategy.
Dunno... Just thinking out loud... :skep
 

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Skyward said:
Couple of thoughts on that:
I don't think that GM built this expecting to take many sales away from the Boxster, Audi TT, SLK, S2000 etc, as import buyers tend to be a tough sell for the Domestic makers (I'm a bit of an exception as I have a Z4 and am seriously considering the SKY, but most of the cars I've ever owned were G.M. cars, so I'm very comfortable with the General).
Further, Roadster are kinda fun, but useless cars for the most part and one thing G.M. doesn't want to do is to have the SKY & Soltice steal sales from its other brands. IMO, the Soltice and SKY are meant to be a 2nd or 3rd car and maybe the General has determined that those 2 cars will enlarge the car-pool pie rather than stealing someone elses piece (or their own) piece of the pie. Having a few impractical features (like a trunk too small) to prevent it from being a daily driver for the average Joe (or Pam), may not be counter to their strategy.
Dunno... Just thinking out loud... :skep
I'd agree with that. They certainly have made an effort not to compete with those roadsters on price. They benchmarked the S2000, but I think they really want cheap roadster buyers to think they are getting the performance and quality of a more expensive one and not necessarily to draw that car's buyers. They have called the Miata out by name, so they certainly are targeting that cars buyers.
 

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Fformula88 said:
I'd agree with that. They certainly have made an effort not to compete with those roadsters on price. They benchmarked the S2000, but I think they really want cheap roadster buyers to think they are getting the performance and quality of a more expensive one and not necessarily to draw that car's buyers. They have called the Miata out by name, so they certainly are targeting that cars buyers.
They should have benchmarked the Miata and S2000 trunks too!! Copy the sucessful designs, not the duds! (MR2) The Miata is sucessful because it's fun to drive and two people can go for a weedend trip in it with the top down and not have to FedEx their clothes to the hotel or buy new clothes when they want to change! It's all good and well to focus on the handling, ecceleration and style of the car, but you have to live with it too. The way it seems now, I can go away for the weekend comfortably with the top down... by myself!! :banghead Really stupid planning on Pontiac's part. Copy the leaders, not the losers.
 

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I agree on the trunk! They should have made it more functional than it looks. It certainly could become a dealbreaker for many potential buyers who can get away with the available space in competitors, but who may see the Sol's space as too much of a compromise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
Here is a quick quiz. You are the lead engineer for the new Pontiac Solstice. Design has come down, shown you a full scale clay model and said, "build it." A cursory glance proves that you can't build a state of the art rear suspension, a spacious trunk and a generous fuel tank. Somethings got to give.

You study your engineering options and you decide to...

a) design a race-inspired IRS at the cost of usable trunk space,

b) use a solid rear axle for max. trunk and fuel tank room, or

c) lengthen the car, ruining its proportions and adding weight.

IMVHO, the Pontiac Solstice was a styling exercise that turned into a real, live full blown sports car -- against all odds -- and for a measley $20,000. It seems that GM has done the impossible here and is giving people like us the chance to have a car with performance similar to a BMW Z4 at half the cost. This car will be available to many, many people that simply can't afford a Z4, Boxter, TT, S2000 or SLK.

That it has poor trunk capacity is not going to condemn this fabulous machine. People will adjust. It is going to be a great performer. It is already a stunning looker. It is going to sell. It will not be for everyone but believe me, this car is going to be a home run trunk, top or no.
 

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For me, I think this car will be a no-brainer. The car is what is, nothing more. It's a styling exercise come to life and we can choose to be the luckier for it, or not. I'm waiting until I see the car in person before I make judgments, but that's just how I am. I usually have a 'let's wait and see..' attitude about things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Michael,

I was intrigued but not impressed by the Solstice photos. They do it no justice.

When I saw the car for the first time at the San Francisco auto show, I kept returning to it over and over and over. The car looked different from various angles. The complexity of the curves, lines and subtle, almost invisible creases from tail light lens to headlamp was bewitching. Uncanny, it was so graceful and classic.

This car looks molded. It is really rolling art and looks much, much more expensive than it will cost us. It is a fabulous looking machine and I don't see how anyone can decide to own one or to not own one without having at least seen one in its full three-dimensional clear-coated splendor.

JMHO, but you generally have to move up to cars costing $50,000 or more to get something with the stunning, integrated beauty of the body design of this car. Amazing.
 

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Thanks Jimbo for sharing your thoughts as you did! I have not seen the Solstice in person as others have and I envy you more than a little bit, but I do know well that feeling you expressed seeing the car. The car will do well, I believe that.
 

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jimbo said:
IMVHO, the Pontiac Solstice was a styling exercise that turned into a real, live full blown sports car -- against all odds -- and for a measley $20,000. It seems that GM has done the impossible here and is giving people like us the chance to have a car with performance similar to a BMW Z4 at half the cost. This car will be available to many, many people that simply can't afford a Z4, Boxter, TT, S2000 or SLK.

That it has poor trunk capacity is not going to condemn this fabulous machine. People will adjust. It is going to be a great performer. It is already a stunning looker. It is going to sell. It will not be for everyone but believe me, this car is going to be a home run trunk, top or no.
Well said jimbo, we all do get caught up on the little things sometimes. A 9 out of 10 ain't bad for $20,000 :cheers
 

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Fformula88 said:
I agree on the trunk! They should have made it more functional than it looks. It certainly could become a dealbreaker for many potential buyers who can get away with the available space in competitors, but who may see the Sol's space as too much of a compromise.

I couldn't care less about how many people decide NOT to buy the Solstice because of its small trunk space, as long as I can get 1 its okay with me. And judging by its fabulous design I would guess GM will sell enough to make a profit. Why keep debating the trunk and top issue here? People either buy a Solstice and deal with it, maybe even with an aftermarket solution, or they buy a Miata NC with double the trunk space but horibbly bland styling :smile

Rene
 

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jimbo said:
Here is a quick quiz. You are the lead engineer for the new Pontiac Solstice. Design has come down, shown you a full scale clay model and said, "build it." A cursory glance proves that you can't build a state of the art rear suspension, a spacious trunk and a generous fuel tank. Somethings got to give.

You study your engineering options and you decide to...

a) design a race-inspired IRS at the cost of usable trunk space,

b) use a solid rear axle for max. trunk and fuel tank room, or

c) lengthen the car, ruining its proportions and adding weight.

IMVHO, the Pontiac Solstice was a styling exercise that turned into a real, live full blown sports car -- against all odds -- and for a measley $20,000. It seems that GM has done the impossible here and is giving people like us the chance to have a car with performance similar to a BMW Z4 at half the cost. This car will be available to many, many people that simply can't afford a Z4, Boxter, TT, S2000 or SLK.

That it has poor trunk capacity is not going to condemn this fabulous machine. People will adjust. It is going to be a great performer. It is already a stunning looker. It is going to sell. It will not be for everyone but believe me, this car is going to be a home run trunk, top or no.
I think the hope is that the poor trunk capacity doesn't condem it, but I am not ready to declare success just yet.

Will some people buy it? Sure will. Will they really mind the trunk, only as a nuissance, but they will appreciate the rest of the car that came to be.

The problem is, over at the Mazda dealer they are going to have a similarly sized roadster, with similar power, performance, and price, and it will have a considerably more useful trunk in it, and an easier top to operate. Maybe it sacrifices a little of the styling flare of the Solstice and Sky, but it makes up for it in usefulness.

So where will the majority of buyers end up?

Obviously, many of us here are driven by the Solstices design. I love the car. Still, I also think Miatas look very good, and the new version will certainly be a very worthy competitor.

The difference between buying one or another for many people will come down to the little things. Things like cabin space (probably a win for the Sol), ease of operation (Miata for its quick top operation), available trunk capacity (win for Miata).

The Sol by itself is going to be great, and it will get so many sales based on styling alone. Especially the first year. Howver, eventually it will have to sell on all its merits, in competition with the Miata. If the Mazda does do those little things better, its going to attract customers away from Pontiac showrooms and Sol's. That is the danger in the trunk capacity.

Not everyone interested in a roadster of this kind can afford to put up with next to no trunk volume, and with GM's sales projections, they are looking to pick up more than just the hard core roadster fans who will sacrafice amenities. They need to win over more discriminating buyers who will want things like trunk room too.
 

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Well, as Steven Wright said,

"You can't have everything. Where would you put it?"

Very insightful, Jimbo. Maybe GM is playing this right. They are putting out this car, keeping the price down, taking some risk - and not really apologizing for it. If I could give any advice to Pontiac and Saturn - if it is what it is, then don't cover it up, just show us and say "it is what it is. If you don't like it, there's other roadsters out there and most have more luggage capacity, but it will cost you an extra $5000 - $15,000 and they won't look as good." By showing the vehicle, year after year at the NAIAS and other shows, and refusing to reveal more makes it look like they are trying to hide something.

They should give a little tidbit of extra info at each of the car shows - show the trunk at one, show the cupholder(s?) at another, give out a little options list at the next, 05 NAIAS="here's what the top looks like so far", etc., show a different color at the next one, show what SPO options they are considering at the following one...

My point is, the way they are handling the marketing so far is a bit "desperate-seeming".

"It's coming!!! Wait!!! Here's another look at the same car... It's still coming!!! <insert 6 months> It's still coming!!! Here's one in black!!! It's still coming (no, you can't see the top), it looks great, it's still coming!!!! It will be faster than the Miata!!! It's still coming (hint hint, maybe a bit earlier than fall of 05)."

They need to either wait, the only pics are the spy ones seen on the road with an absolute information vaccuum, with a single statement by me... unnnnnhhhh... I mean Lutz... where he says "We're going to build this, there will be a model you can get for under $20,000, and you'll see them in the showroom by (insert correct timing here)."

OR

A coordinated information dribble that reveals a piece of the car at each show, and an "unapologetic" stance. A simple statement like "in an effort to preserve 99% of the styling of the Concept car in 2002 - a few compromises had to be made. This includes a limited cargo capacity of XX cubic feet, shaped like L x W X H." would be sufficient. Opinions would fly on forums like this (we all know what opinions are like), but at least it would clear the discussion and show a strong stance by GM.

Right now, they seem kinda "willy-nilly", "silly knees-bent running about" worried that they have to keep dangling the thing in front of folks to keep it fresh.
 

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solsticeman said:
They should give a little tidbit of extra info at each of the car shows - show the trunk at one, show the cupholder(s?) at another, give out a little options list at the next, 05 NAIAS="here's what the top looks like so far", etc., show a different color at the next one, show what SPO options they are considering at the following one...

My point is, the way they are handling the marketing so far is a bit "desperate-seeming".
I agree. As we have touched on on other threads, I believe what is happening is they boxed themselves in on the top design by insisting on the head fairings (which I adore) and the AFBTSs (which I think they should ditch), and they are finding out that being a slave to style at the cost of function is not so easy. The top supplier probably wishes they never bid this job now! They are no doubt having problems with this very unique, complex top and don't want to show it until they are certain it is the production top.

They don't want to show the trunk because they don't know what the top will look like in there yet, and no point in getting people's hopes up on space that might not be there in the end. If they had just gone with a simple top like on the '32 Ford hot rods out there, they'd be well on their way and we'd have seen it. Some would say this and that about it, but it would work, be simple to operate, and we'd get to keep the head fairings.

I agree though, the time to start letting us at the rest of the car is now. Those show cars could have the rear deck lids bolted shut so there is no way we could look in there, then they shouldn't have any fears of us sitting in it. Right? We've seen the interior for months, we like it, what are they hiding? Let us sit in it! How about under the hood? That would go a long way to convicing us that they aren't hiding some bad news.
 

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Exactly, we were assuming NAIAS would bring us something new. Since we're supposedly 6 months from being able to drive one home off the lot we had all assumed that GM would have given us something.

We did get some newer images of cars that look almost production, but the only things we've learned from those is we'll get a stationary radio antena, the placing of the XM antena, what the door locks look like, and the fact that the black color looks horrible under show room lighting. None of these were offical information told to us by GM, they were all our observations. All the other trunk news and other bits we probably were never meant to see.

GM is pouring out information about all the other vehicles they're making. Cobalt had tons of info available early on, the HHR has it's own flash site dedicated to it. The SKY even has more information on it's page then the Solstice, and we've only 'officially' known about it for a whopping 2 weeks at best. Apparently the back to basics roadsters gets back to basic information too.
 

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Perhaps GM feels smugly the car will sell on it's own merits? It does seem odd that so little information has been released save for what those have contributed in forum here. I have to wonder what sort of discussions if any go on in the backrooms of GM concerning the obvious lack of information released so far. GM surely cannot be blind to those issues and concerns stated by some here in the forum.
 

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brentil said:
Exactly, we were assuming NAIAS would bring us something new. Since we're supposedly 6 months from being able to drive one home off the lot we had all assumed that GM would have given us something.

We did get some newer images of cars that look almost production, but the only things we've learned from those is we'll get a stationary radio antena, the placing of the XM antena, what the door locks look like, and the fact that the black color looks horrible under show room lighting. None of these were offical information told to us by GM, they were all our observations. All the other trunk news and other bits we probably were never meant to see.

GM is pouring out information about all the other vehicles they're making. Cobalt had tons of info available early on, the HHR has it's own flash site dedicated to it. The SKY even has more information on it's page then the Solstice, and we've only 'officially' known about it for a whopping 2 weeks at best. Apparently the back to basics roadsters gets back to basic information too.
I have a feeling GM really is not going to make a huge deal about the top and trunk, and will just let that information out quietly as introduction nears. I think they have not given much information on them in part because they are not the car's best features, and they do not want to heavily publicise its weaknesses. Aside from those two aspects, and some minor details, there isn't much else left to question really. Final specs, top and trunk info, maybe some details on interior bits and pieces, but nothing that I would expect to be earth shattering news.

Or, GM is just concentrating on their all new intros right now, and they do not want new information on what is really last years intro to get lost in the shuffle of the new cars, the HHR, the Sky, etc.
 
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