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Discussion Starter #1
I had an interesting conversation with my Pontiac dealer friend. His thoughts are that there will be little demand for the Soltice in northern climate states based on past sales of covertables and roadsters here. The real problem, in his view, is the Soltice rear wheel drive and that this alone will keep demand down. He uses as an analagy the rear wheel drive Cadillac CTS and STS, for which customers have returned cars to the dealer after they realized that the rear wheels spin on ice and snow! For the five percentile of us that think the Soltice is a gift from heaven think this is positive engineering for a performance car. But the other 95% doesn't look at the car world the way we do. Time will tell if the Sol sells out like the XLR or gets shelved after a couple of years for collecting dust on show room floors.
 

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I passed a BMW Z4 in the ditch on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Snow storm was real bad in central IL near Peoria Bloomington. I was thinking about the Solstice and enjoying my front wheel drive Chevy Prizm. Made me have 2nd thoughts of what I would do if I bought the Solstice as my only car. My Prizm is running strong with 128,000 on it, but two cars is a pain in the arse to upkeep.
 

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tennis4789 said:
I passed a BMW Z4 in the ditch on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Snow storm was real bad in central IL near Peoria Bloomington. I was thinking about the Solstice and enjoying my front wheel drive Chevy Prizm. Made me have 2nd thoughts of what I would do if I bought the Solstice as my only car. My Prizm is running strong with 128,000 on it, but two cars is a pain in the arse to upkeep.
I'd keep the Prism rolling, 2 cars is a pain but having only a roadster is real tough.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I am in northern Wisconsin, north of Green Bay, and I have no thoughts of ever using the Solstice as a year round car. I'll stick to my 4x4 truck for winter driving so I don't end up like the Z4! For those that do, or must, use the Solstice as their only year round vehicle, rear wheel drive will be a definate draw back in this climate. Much the same as it was and is for Camaros, Mustangs, Corvettes, etc. etc.
 

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yes rear wheel drive does present some problems, but I think that most people if they have a little common sense will be able to deal with it. I have driven a 2wd ford ranger (no stability control or other fancy stuff) for the past 3 years and have only gotten stuck in the snow once, and that was only for a few minutes until I loaded the bed with snow and drove on. I agree that the solstice will have a smaller demand in the northern states, not because it is rear drive, but because it is a convertable. Who wants to drive a convertible in the middle of winter when it is 2 below out? As for the dopes that bought a CTS or STS and returned it because it was rear drive and had a hard time on ice I would love to smack them. How do you spend 40 - 60 k on a car and not know it is rear drive? Also, when i was making a trip from madison back to chicago after a snow storm there were 12 or so cars in ditches, maybe 1 of those cars was rear drive the rest were small fwd cars. I firmly believe that front or rear drive has less an affect on a car than the skill of the driver. That is my .02 maybe I am full of it but that is what i believe.
 

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I've been driving front wheel drive cars for many years now, but this past winter in Missouri I have been driving a '92 GMC van with rear wheel drive. I figured I would have problems with the ice and snow, but have not had any problems. I will be using my Solstice as a year around driver, so I think I can cope with the bad weather. If its too bad, my wife will probably stay home and I will drive her front wheel drive to work.
:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I totally agree with you Brian, :agree: but thats our five percential speaking. I would bet that the Caddi dealer DID NOT TELL the ninety-five percential purchaser that it his STS was RWD, when most recent Cadilac offerings have been FWD, (except the CTS and XLR) and the buyer probably just assumed that it was. The unsuspecting purchaser failed to find out anything about the car ahead of time and, SURPRISE, it snowed and he got stuck. Ask any mass production car dealer in our region, they do not want to sell rear wheel drive cars.

That should not happen with the Solstice. But the mass buying public wants FWD just because 1) That it what they are used to, or 2) They they think RWD is obsolete.
 

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I agree that it is less likely for a roadster to be in demand in northern climates. Low ground clearance, rear wheel drive, shorter wheelbases, lighter weight, and just being a convertable tend to all be negatives in the winter months.

However, I am not sure how this will effect overall demand for the car. The northeastern US seems to be one of the last strong markets for GM sales. GM execs themselves have admitted there are many southern and western markets in which they do not have much marketshare anymore. So if they plan to ship most of these cars to southern climates, they will really have to rely on bringing in new customers, and not selling all of them to their traditional die hard base. This could be just the car to do it.

One other note, GM did ship a lot of the first GTO's to northern cities to get them into their stronger markets. It was a disaster, in part because it was in the middle of winter. Being RWD cars, they languished on lots, and GM took a big image hit.
 

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Its all about being smart about your driving. Im 19 years old and my first winter I was driving a firebird in my first snow experiences. I never got stuck once or lost controll. Its all about having patience and driving smart. You have to expect that its not a FWD Prizm and that if you drive too fast for the snow then u will lose it. Just have to remember what you're driving and think about it. Personally i wouldnt have wanted to learn in any other car. I learned the most from that firebird RWD and everything else is a walk in the park now.
 

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goalscore247 said:
Its all about being smart about your driving. Im 19 years old and my first winter I was driving a firebird in my first snow experiences. I never got stuck once or lost controll. Its all about having patience and driving smart. You have to expect that its not a FWD Prizm and that if you drive too fast for the snow then u will lose it. Just have to remember what you're driving and think about it. Personally i wouldnt have wanted to learn in any other car. I learned the most from that firebird RWD and everything else is a walk in the park now.
I completely agree my first car was a taurus and I was babied by the fwd so I never really learned how to drive in the snow properly. Now that I have a ranger I have learned to drive preoperly, and unless i am forced I will never go back to fwd. Rwd is just so much more fun to drive, I can stomp on the gas and still be in control of the car, but when I was driving my friends saturn I would hit the gas and spend my time fighting for control of the car. Control of a car is more about the person bnehind the wheel and less about the car that they drive.
 

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I am sure everyone will agree that it partially depends how you drive in the snow, but there are also better cars and worse cars for it.

I have had the pleasure (or more likely, displeasure) of driving a Fiero in snow. Now, there are 2 kinds of snow here too. The inch or two that makes roads slick, and the 2 inches and hour snow that piles up quickly. A Solstice, or any low to the ground roadster will be helpless in that second kind of snow very quickly simply because their chassis is so low to the ground. It’s a matter of ground clearance, and the Solstice is not going to have much. That makes it much easier to get stuck. Plus, the sound of those chunks of ice off of other car’s wheelwells scraping the underside of your car doesn’t sound too good either. I thought some were going to come through the floorboards in the Fiero!

As for other intangibles, the drive wheels to me is not a big deal. FWD cars have their own problems in winter. They are easier to get moving in slick situations, but they are not as easy to control once you are moving with so little weight in the back of the car. However, the short wheelbase could be a negative. The shorter the wheelbase, the more likely the car is to swap ends on you in the slick stuff.

Wide tires hurt too, as they don’t bite into the snow on the road as well.

Certainly practicing good winter driving habits is a must. However, there are still vehicles that are better than others in those conditions too, that give you a greater margin for error. Its up to the driver to be safe, but the car can make a difference on how easy or challenging it is to be safe.
 

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Brian said:
I completely agree my first car was a taurus and I was babied by the fwd so I never really learned how to drive in the snow properly. Now that I have a ranger I have learned to drive preoperly, and unless i am forced I will never go back to fwd. Rwd is just so much more fun to drive, I can stomp on the gas and still be in control of the car, but when I was driving my friends saturn I would hit the gas and spend my time fighting for control of the car. Control of a car is more about the person bnehind the wheel and less about the car that they drive.
I agree, i got in my grandmothers 240hp GTP and altho i was impressed by the tired smoking as i stomped on it, u had to fight to hold the wheel straight
 

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goalscore247 said:
I agree, i got in my grandmothers 240hp GTP and altho i was impressed by the tired smoking as i stomped on it, u had to fight to hold the wheel straight
Put 4 directional snow/ice tires on it and try again!
 

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Demand = no one knows. The looks and low price of this car make it a wildcard that is impossible to predict. The trunk is tiny and the top is a pain, so folks in the north would have to justify it long and hard! But what if they just fall in love with the looks and have to buy one? I assume (wrongly perhaps) that the majority of Solsti and Skies sold will be 2nd cars. If so, who cares how northern winters are when you only drive your Sol/Sky in the summer?

We are in uncharted territory boys and girls. I don't see an equivalent model out there in the past upon which to guage expected sales of these cars. I think the style is going to carry the day, just as it did for the 1965 Mustang which was nothing but a rebodied Ford Falcon.

But then, I could be wrong... :crazy:

I guess I am trying to say that half of everybody with $20,000 in their pocket who wishes they could ever have bought a Corvette is going to be interested in this car. This definitely describes me! They are going to think they can have their cake and eat it to. I really expect the styling and price combination to make the Solstice and Sky true home runs for years to come (if the prices stay down).
 

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PAS22 said:
But the mass buying public wants FWD just because 1) That it what they are used to, or 2) They they think RWD is obsolete.
The driving enthusiast wants rear wheel drive. This is a key strength of the Solstice and Sky and will be one of the key selling points. You are right that most folks neither know nor care. Most enthusiast know and car and want the rear wheels doing the work.
 

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jimbo said:
The driving enthusiast wants rear wheel drive. This is a key strength of the Solstice and Sky and will be one of the key selling points. You are right that most folks neither know nor care. Most enthusiast know and car and want the rear wheels doing the work.
:agree: Look at the Honda del Sol. It was a cheap, neat little targa/roadster, and with the 160 HP VTEC engine it would cream a comparable Miata in its day, but it was FWD and was routinely trashed for it. Styling was less than exciting too, but I think the FWD hurt it as much as its non descript appearance.

RWD is also really coming back, and its even seen as a premium feature. Most luxury and near luxury makes are using RWD these days, and those that don't have RWD such as Acura are trying to make up for it with sophisticated AWD setups. BMW runs RWD, Mercedes, Jaguar runs RWD on some, AWD on others. Cadillac dumped its FWD platforms and has returned to RWD. Chryslers new LX cars. etc etc. RWD is on its way back, and AWD versions are on the rise too, mainly for their poor weather benefits in the northern states.

In fact, FWD is overrated for its bad weather performance anyway. FWD cars were created for efficiency and weight savings, and not any kind of traction or driving advantage.
 

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You have to consider the potential demand for the Solstice and Sky. When was the last time the USA produced a gorgeous two seat convertible sportscar offering rear wheel drive and serious performance for $20,000? MSRP for a stripped 1982 Corvette was $18,290. That is 24 years of pent up demand. And the last time the USA produced a two seat convertible sports car for the equivalent of $20,000 in today's dollars was... NEVER.

We don't know how demand compares to existing cars such as the Z4, S2000 or UMCSC. Some people simply refuse to buy a "foreign" car. My brother hates them and would never buy a Mitsubishi because they built Zero's during World War II. So demand for a cheap sports car of US manufacture could be entirely different from one of Japanese manufacture.

I have already mentioned RWD. I think the last couple of Honda Preludes would have been terrific cars if they had been RWD (and not so plain looking! :yawn: :sleep: )

I don't know what the demand will be for the Solstice and Sky. But I assure you, we are in uncharted waters. I don't think you can project demand for them based on demand for the Miata, S2000, Z3, 350Z or Elise. Give them a decent sized trunk and keep the price down and I think there could be stout demand for years and years to come.
 

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Winter tires are great

I use 4 Blizzaks on my Miata and it makes it a GREAT winter car. Having sticky rubber on all fours makes an incredible difference. Actually, it reneders the RWD an asset... you can use your gas foot to control tail-out in a turn.

Biggest issue for Solstice winter tires will be the 18 inch wheels. Not much winter rubber available at that diameter. Hopefully some aftermarket 16 inch wheels will fit.
 

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I agree with using the gas foot as an asset. Ive got an S10 RWD and yes i know its a lil bit of a different world. But when u get into the brakes while turning, u just continue to go straight, if u use that gas foot right you can take a turn without any problems
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I have had rwd cars (and pickups) that would get stuck in an inch of snow, especially where there was even a slight incline involved. ABS though, goes along way towards resolving the steering while braking issue. I hope that its available on the Sol.
 
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