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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I keep hearing about 20K to 30K Sols and add a comparable number of Skys how many of these cars will the public purchase? Here is an interesting chart of Corvette since inception

http://www.corvetteactioncenter.com/specs/totalmodel.html

Automobile, I believe published a number of months back the total convertible sales and the entire group did not add up to a respectable for a single mass produced car.

According to R.L. Polk & Co., a Southfield-based automotive marketing company. "The convertible registration number of 315,306 in 2004 is a 6.3% increase over 2003 and breaks the record of 309,741 set in 2001."

"Convertibles are considered a discretionary purchase and as such a strong convertible market reflects an optimistic economic mood witnessed by the economic turnaround experienced in 2004," said Lonnie Miller, director of Polk Analytical Solutions.

My question is, if GM could delver an unlimited supply tomorrow, how many buyers would there be?
 

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One car executive, I forget which, said "Sports cars are great, you can sell thousands of them, but you have to sell them all the first day."

Point being, that more than any other type of car, sports cars are very "flavor of the month."

When the Acura NSX came out, dealers were getting $90k for a $65k car.

When the Prowler came out, same thing.

When the C5 Corvette came out, same thing

Others:
S2000
350Z
C6 Vette
05+ Mustang
Boxster
Ford GT

etc etc


If GM could make 20k Solstices tomorrrow, they could probably sell them all. But, in 6 months, they'd be selling them for $5k off sticker, just like what happened (or will happen) to virtually all of the above. Once a car, especially a sports car, becomes ubiquitous, there is a much lower demand for it.

'Course, for guys like me who usually have to wait a few months to buy a car anyways, this works out better in the end.

-Chris, who hopes he can buy a new loaded Solstice for $17k in 2 years
 

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Chris Stack said:
One car executive, I forget which, said "Sports cars are great, you can sell thousands of them, but you have to sell them all the first day."

Point being, that more than any other type of car, sports cars are very "flavor of the month."

When the Acura NSX came out, dealers were getting $90k for a $65k car.

When the Prowler came out, same thing.

When the C5 Corvette came out, same thing

Others:
S2000
350Z
C6 Vette
05+ Mustang
Boxster
Ford GT

etc etc


If GM could make 20k Solstices tomorrrow, they could probably sell them all. But, in 6 months, they'd be selling them for $5k off sticker, just like what happened (or will happen) to virtually all of the above. Once a car, especially a sports car, becomes ubiquitous, there is a much lower demand for it.

'Course, for guys like me who usually have to wait a few months to buy a car anyways, this works out better in the end.

-Chris, who hopes he can buy a new loaded Solstice for $17k in 2 years
Normally I would have agreed with this assesment, but I'm convinced that the Sol is an exception. I think they could easily sell 40k the first year and at MSRP. Remember, over 13k preorders and almost no advertising and absolutely no presence in showrooms or on the streets. And another major factor in their favor is that many of these cars are selling to people who were not in the market for a roadster, which includes me. If there was no Sol, no one else would be getting my money because I don't like any of the others.
 

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Editguy, you are on the mark.
I have owned 5 Porsches and had NO plans to buy another sports car any time soon. I would not be buying anything, if not for the Sol. If it was over $30K, I would not be buying. If I can get a Sol in the near future for MSRP, I would love to buy more GM products. I will even buy the Sol Coupe when it comes out.
 

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Speaking of Mark-Ups....

Chris Stack said:
One car executive, I forget which, said "Sports cars are great, you can sell thousands of them, but you have to sell them all the first day."

Point being, that more than any other type of car, sports cars are very "flavor of the month."

When the Acura NSX came out, dealers were getting $90k for a $65k car.

When the Prowler came out, same thing.

When the C5 Corvette came out, same thing

Others:
S2000
350Z
C6 Vette
05+ Mustang
Boxster
Ford GT
Don't forget the Audi TT, Lotus Elise and the Mini (huge mark-ups)
:yesnod:
 

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Roadsters make up approximately 3% of total car sales...very niche market.

The purpose here is to change the peception of what Pontiac is and show it as fun, exciting and performance oriented.

A car like this is used to get peeps into the showroom and sell the bread and butter cars like the G6, Torrent, Montana and Vibe. Peeps come in to take a peek and the pretty, impractical sports car and then decide, since they're there anyway, to take a look at that more practical option next to it...
 

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By a quick look at the graphs in the link, it seems that sales have been consistent, with an obvious spike in coupes in years where convertables were selling zero... i'm guessing the convertables were not being produced those years.

Without a doubt there has been a rush to buy the solstice. I don't think we are going to see the market for Kappa convertable saturated any time soon. It's niche in GM's line is a low volume halo car, and it's been reported that GM plans to build a few less cars than the market demands going forward. New editions like the hi performance turbo solstice and solstice coupe, and maybe even a stripped down 'competition solstice' should provide interest in future model years. As to seeing a loaded Solstice at 17k, I don't think that is going to happen anytime soon. The cost of tooling for the solstice was relatively low, but the cost of production has to be considerably higher with all the hydroforming and handwelding... it's been described by some as a nearly handbuilt car. Have you priced a set of 18" wheels and tires lately? I've "heard" that the top alone costs GM $800. I'm sure the GM beancounters are still howling about the low profit margin.

What got the Solstice built is it's ability to build the Pontiac brand. It is an "object of desire" that is actually within the realm of possibility for many people because of it's price point. It was never intended to be a big moneymaker for GM, so don't expect it to be deep discounted in the future- there is no business reason to go there with this car.

Personally, I believe the Solstice has 'Classic Car' potential. October Car and Driver had a news article about a multi-car crash in a vintage race.. the damage- '65 corvette...$82-$94K, '64 corvette convertable...$78-88K, '66 corvette...$62-74K, '69 corvette...$68-74K,70 mustang boss 302...$74-89K,'69 Pontiac Trans Am...$80-90K.... a few more too, but you get the picture. I doubt i'll ever sell mine, but seriously believe it has potential as an investment grade car.
 

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Should my plans come to fruition, I can state unequivocally that Pontiac will sell at one Solstice in early 2006 to a 46-year old male chemistry professor in West Texas. :lol:

--Chemist
 

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cdb said:
Personally, I believe the Solstice has 'Classic Car' potential. October Car and Driver had a news article about a multi-car crash in a vintage race.. the damage- '65 corvette...$82-$94K, '64 corvette convertable...$78-88K, '66 corvette...$62-74K, '69 corvette...$68-74K,70 mustang boss 302...$74-89K,'69 Pontiac Trans Am...$80-90K.... a few more too, but you get the picture. I doubt i'll ever sell mine, but seriously believe it has potential as an investment grade car.
Without a doubt. The current demand for the car paired with low numbers of cars built...that '69 Trans Am you mentioned above...689 coupes, 8 Conv't - my P.O.S. '69 Firebird Coupe 350 cu. 2bbl (I love this car...) in my garage...in pieces it's booked at about $2k as is (74,673 Coupes, 11,641 Conv't - 1 year only body style although it carried over into '70 - '70 being a mid year introduction).

Keeping this car for 25 years is not at all unreasonable to me. I already plan to yank, store and replace the Sols original wheels, tires, filters (except oil filter...although I'll pick up an extra replacement at the dealer), spark plugs and plug wires the day I drive it home. :willy:
 

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SolLate said:
I keep hearing about 20K to 30K Sols and add a comparable number of Skys how many of these cars will the public purchase?
A little off. The plant running at full production will only be able to produce about a total 25K combined units of Solstice/Sky/Opel per year. Since the frames are hand welded it really limits the production.
 

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One thing that also would influence the total car sales (if there was an infinite number of Solstices available) would be overall market trends. We are following an SUV boom with a period of exceptionally high fuel costs. In this time of relative market affluence, there are a lot of people out there with monstrous people movers that are tempted to buy an additional little car to run around town. But it's difficult to justify buying a boring little second (or third vehicle) so that 12mpg SUV would just sit in the driveway. The Solstice's low price, visceral appeal and relative fuel economy would make it more attractive to some than say a Cobalt. Remember, it is the least expense roadster available, it's domestic (something that appeals more to the SUV crowd), and it's the best looking new roadster in the market. Because of the SUV's availability, it would offset the otherwise impracticality (just seats two and small trunk) of the Solstice. GM just lucked out in bringing this car to market when it did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I would agree that GM should have no problem selling 25K units in the first year. GM has stated they will not over build demand and because there is not huge profit in the car they have no incentive. Therefore, I do not expect to see $17K deals being commonplace.

I also believe that the sales of these cars will be at the loss of units from other convertibles. I do not believe that all these sales will be net new sales to the segment. I would expect moderate growth i.e. 6 to 10% .

It has always been suspected that GM sells the Corvette at a minimal profit or even a loss. They have continually raised the price to control sales to capacity. The intent is to bring customers into the sales rooms to drive the high volume, high profit vehicles.

I concur that GMs timing is fortunate and should drive additional growth in the segment but only a few additional percentage points.
 

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SolLate said:
It has always been suspected that GM sells the Corvette at a minimal profit or even a loss.
Don't bet on it. The same was suspected about the Miata but it turns out it was a real money maker for Mazda.
 

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SolLate said:
I also believe that the sales of these cars will be at the loss of units from other convertibles. I do not believe that all these sales will be net new sales to the segment. I would expect moderate growth i.e. 6 to 10% .

I concur that GMs timing is fortunate and should drive additional growth in the segment but only a few additional percentage points.
Only time will tell, but I don't agree, because this car is a 2 seater which ultimately limits it's market. If you have a family of 4 and you're in the market for a convertible, you will proibably continue to look elsewhere. So I don't believe it's taking many sales from other convertibles. Again, I wasn't in the market for a roadster or a convertible (already own one), but here I am with one on order. And I'm not the only one. And that's what i think is amazing about this car is that I am convinced that it truly is growing the roadster market by significant numbers
 

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My 19 year old son thinks the price will drop alot in the future. He thinks I (mom) :) should buy something else,spend a few more dollars and get a Vette or Boxer etc. that will hold their value. What do you guys think? I told him with the demand and the limited production I think the price should hold for a few years.
 

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redhot said:
My 19 year old son thinks the price will drop alot in the future. He thinks I (mom) :) should buy something else,spend a few more dollars and get a Vette or Boxer etc. that will hold their value. What do you guys think? I told him with the demand and the limited production I think the price should hold for a few years.
Order yours today. The Solstice will be selling for MSRP in 2008. And unless your talking a used 'Vette or Boxter, it's not just a few dollars but close to twice what the Solstice goes for. And both these depreciate at an alarming rate.
 

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redhot said:
My 19 year old son thinks the price will drop alot in the future. He thinks I (mom) :) should buy something else,spend a few more dollars and get a Vette or Boxer etc. that will hold their value. What do you guys think? I told him with the demand and the limited production I think the price should hold for a few years.
I think a 19 year old young man wants to upsell you to much more powerful car because he has visions of driving it himself at 150mph. I kid you not. I guarantee that his recommendation has nothing to do with his concern for the 'resale' five years hence. 19 year old males have difficulty

1. thinking about anyone but themselves

2. thinking more than 2 weeks into the future.

In the event that your son is the exception to this rule, I might add that a new boxster will depreciate more in 5 years than a Solstice would cost new. A 5 year old *any car* will have maybe 40-50% of it's original value so the "future value" argument doesn't hold water.

Personally, i think having a Solstice around is pushing the envelope with a 19 year old male in the house. I think you should buy a 1990 volvo 240 station wagon-preferably 4 cylinder- and keep your solstice in an undisclosed location until he's at least 25 years old.
 

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I'm sorry to say, but I think a few of you are hittin' the reefer, or something.

The market simply isn't large enough to support too many $20k, 2 seat convertibles with no trunk space.

And furthermore, however much I hate to bring this point up, a car with little or no prestige. This isn't a Z3 or Boxster or SLK we are dealing with. Lotsa people who weren't "sports car people" bought those because of the badge. Whatever your feelings are (whether you agree with this sentiment or not), a lot of people will have to buy the Solstice (and Sky) despite the Pontiac badge, not because of it. Let's face it, "sports car people" don't buy Pontiacs (they've never offered one before) and Pontiac people don't buy sports cars (ditto).

Honestly, the best comparison you can make is with the Acura NSX. In both cases, you have a manufacturer entering a market they have NO experience with, competing against very popular, established nameplates, and they are fighting badge snobbery. The NSX sold hot for about 6 months, but then that was it. That's how it is with sports cars, they are "it" and then suddenly they are yesterday's news. Does anyone give a **** about the 350Z or Audi TT today? Not really, but they were THE car about 18 mos-2 years ago.

As far as the guys who think this is an "investment grade car:" I think of two types of classic cars. There are your MGB/65 Mustang/Lotus/Mini type of cars, where lots of people are enthusiastic about them, love them, drive them, restore them, etc. But you can buy these cars all day for $XXXX-1X,XXX. These cars hold their value moderately well now, but no one gets rich saving them. Then there are those as pointed out in the magazine article. Here's what rich guys will be paying big bucks to vintage race in 30 years: Corvette Z06, Viper ACR, Porsche GT3/GT2, Ferrari Challenge Stradale, M3 Competition Coupe, etc. Cars that are already very rare and expensive. Even a C6 Corvette or Porsche 911 will cost $20k in today's money in 20-30 years. You can tell because 20-30 year old versions of those cars now cost $20k, well below the cost of a new one. So which type of classic do you think the Sol will fit into? There will always be a market for affordable roadsters of the past, but don't even dare to dream that your Solstice will be anything more than an MGB is today. Same with the Miata, Z3, S2000, etc. These cars are all the MG, Triumph, Lotus, Fiat, Porsche 914, Alfa Spider cars of tomorrow. Collectible to those who love them, but more or less worthless to those who don't.

Now, don't freak out, I am not trying to slam anyone or anyone's favorite car. I am just trying to point out objectively, what happens to sports cars that aren't Enzos or 427 Cobras. If you disagree, please tell me why the Solstice will command a premium, or even MSRP, past next summer, when the S2000, Z3, Boxster, SLK, Elise, TT, 350Z, Mini, etc etc., couldn't even hold on that long. I could buy an '05 S2000, with a sticker of $33k, today for about $29k out the door. I could have bought an '03 in '03 for about $30k. That's what happens. It will happen again, I promise.
 

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It is ok that Pontiac is not a premium brand because the Solstice is not being sold as a Premium roadster. At $19,995, you don’t need a high end label to move a fun to drive car.

I wouldn’t compare it exactly to the NSX. The two cars compete on such a different price level. Acura developed the NSX as a response to the Corvette ZR-1 to show that it could compete on the same technological level as Chevy. It was a very limited, almost boutique sports car from the start.

The Solstice can be compared very nicely to the 1990 Miata’s introduction. Mazda had the RX-8, but they had no “classic” roadster experience. They introduced it, it was a hit, and they have sold half a million worldwide since. It wasn’t by any means a practical car. Many Americans could not even comfortably fit in it. Yet, they sold and sold.

The Sky/Sol are in a similar boat. GM has decided to keep their market goals at a reasonable level (30K combined a year), priced them very competitively, and given them styling that gets an emotional response. Yes, trunk space is limited, but that is not as much of a hindrance to a small 2 seater as it would be to a family sedan. I bet many of these will be a second vehicle for someone, and at the vary least they will not be a households primary vehicle. So when higher hauling capacity is needed, most owners will have other options.

At these expected volumes and sales prices, these cars will be ok as long as fit/finish is good and the fun to drive factor is there.

As for pricing… I tend to agree that they should be treated as any other vehicle. They will depreciate over time. When they will be offered at MSRP by all dealers (or below) really depends on how long it takes to catch up with demand. The latest pre-order number I saw in print indicated GM now has 13,000 orders pending. GM will have to catch up with all these pre-orders (and more are certain to follow next spring) before prices realistically drop a lot. That will also help hold up resale initially.

Look at the Mustang GT. It has been on the market for a year now, and there is still a 6 month waiting list for a pre-order. Who knows when Ford will catch up with that demand.

Some people here can get carried away with how well these cars may hold value in the long run, and the potential for appreciating many years down the road. Yet, they do have many positives in their corner too. Trunk space is not one of them, but the price and styling certainly is.
 
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