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Old 10-04-2007, 04:41 AM   #1
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Hot then Not: Mainstream article on FE/Non-FE fads...

from MSN this morning:

great quote: "Hot when it first landed, thanks to a shift in the environmental winds the Hummer H2 is now the redneck's parade float."

http://autos.msn.com/advice/article....&topart=sports

Interesting observations.

Related to the earlier thread, what does it take to make FE cars attractive?

IMO, better marketing.

I really think cars are 10% transportation, 90% jewelry, so I think cars that are FE need to be seen as "______", (put it your own modifier). Powerful and macho for the truck crowd, safe and convenient for the mini van crowd, babe attracting for the young crowd, and smart/efficient/ethically responsible for the current hybrid crowd.

"Perception is reality" unfortunately, in marketing and sales at least.

The technology is there. It's just not used. A good salesman will only give what is necessary to make the sale.

The more accurate quote is "Perception is reality in the absence of experience. - Tom Martin". The above article illustrates this very well. But I think the limiting factor for most FE cars is social (perception and reaction) not economic or logical.

Please feel free to debate at will and rip my head off if you disagree.
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Old 10-04-2007, 07:44 AM   #2
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I think you are correct that what vehicles people buy has alot to do with image. I'd put it in a range between 30 utility/70 image to 60 utility/40 image depending on how vain or pragmatic the person is.

If a person just recently bought a vehicle they loved due to image and perceived utility to them and it was expensive to operate, they bear with it partly due to them reinforcing to themselves they made a good decision and partly due to hanging on to the image they want to see themselves in. Eventually after the honeymoon wears off, they are sadddled with a good looking pig they have to feed - and it gets burdensome.

If that same person bought the same vehicle and it got 40% better mileage because the manufacturer put some effort into it, the honeymoon lasts longer, the pig is now a horse they love to own, and the good decision lasts longer.

This is the strategy Honda and Toyota (and others) have used in the past but they've added relaibility. Make an attractive, well designed, reliable, fuel efficient, good driving vehicle in that order, and customers will love thier vehicles for years to come. Detroit knows this but has been often focusing on only the first items for the most part, giving the customer what they want at the time of sale, not so much down the road.

Example: Dad bought his second 'old mans' car, a buick lesabre. He loved the image, bells and whistles, comfort, etc. When he was really sold on the car was when he and mom took a trip to florida with about 60,000 on the car and they averaged 31+ mpg. He was amazed that such a comfortable car could get such good mileage and be so reliable. (Absolutely no problems even now at over 80K.) He loves that car. Detroit apparently did good on those.

Example: We were looking for a mini-van. Wanted room for kids and stuff and taking trips. Compared used Odyssey and new Caravan. Bought the Honda. Same utility, image-same, it's a mini-van, better FE, more power, drives fantastic for a van - it's actually kind of fun. My neighbor with a 3.8 Caravan gets 17mpg, we average about 22-23 (need to add it to garage) with very similar driving cycles. We chose well and love our van, they complain about it being thirsty and drive it 'cause it was cheap.
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:29 AM   #3
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So the xB is a "not" and the mini is a "hot" - weird I say.

I was having trouble finding annual sales figures -- so I got the sales figures for the month of may (arbitrary).... Just based on this, both seem to have similar sales figures o.0 I used all of the mini cooper sales rather than just strictly the cooper (so those figures include the cooper s, convertible, etc.).

Code:
Car	'04	'05	'06	'07
Mini	3,355	3,878	3672	4130
xB	3,759	4592	6763	3658
So, what makes a car Hot v. Not according to that author?
-----
The Mustang, okay - here we're dealing with a pedigree with a long history.
911 - same as mustang
Mini Cooper - wha?

----
So if we were to look at how long a car is in production.... The old VW beetle wins No other car has been in production for as long as that one (1938-'03) - at least not yet.
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Old 10-04-2007, 03:26 PM   #4
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oneinchsidehop -

Oh most definitely. I loved the CRX when it came out because it was a combination of small, cool, *and* thrifty. While the Geo Metro was small and thrifty, I never seriously considered it because of it's aesthetics. This isn't a shot at Metros, it's just different strokes for different folks.

For me the CRX was the "New Karmann Ghia", which was just a VW bug with a beautiful body.

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Old 10-04-2007, 05:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trebuchet03 View Post
So the xB is a "not" and the mini is a "hot" - weird I say.

I was having trouble finding annual sales figures -- so I got the sales figures for the month of may (arbitrary).... Just based on this, both seem to have similar sales figures o.0 I used all of the mini cooper sales rather than just strictly the cooper (so those figures include the cooper s, convertible, etc.).

Code:
Car	'04	'05	'06	'07
Mini	3,355	3,878	3672	4130
xB	3,759	4592	6763	3658
So, what makes a car Hot v. Not according to that author?
-----
The Mustang, okay - here we're dealing with a pedigree with a long history.
911 - same as mustang
Mini Cooper - wha?

----
So if we were to look at how long a car is in production.... The old VW beetle wins No other car has been in production for as long as that one (1938-'03) - at least not yet.
I agree with you on the mini vs xB, I think the xB will wear very well in the long run.

The mini? Fantastic car. Handles like a go kart, 40mpg, seats 4, huge sunroof... styling is love it or leave it. I remember getting stomped on the track by the old minis so I like it. Plus, Mr. Bean was a bad4zz.

And yeah, it is arbitrary. That's the whole point of the article. People are not logical.
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Old 10-04-2007, 05:55 PM   #6
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Budget BMW vs. Toyota

Quote:
Originally Posted by oneinchsidehop View Post
I agree with you on the mini vs xB, I think the xB will wear very well in the long run.

The mini? Fantastic car. Handles like a go kart, 40mpg, seats 4, huge sunroof... styling is love it or leave it. I remember getting stomped on the track by the old minis so I like it. Plus, Mr. Bean was a bad4zz.

And yeah, it is arbitrary. That's the whole point of the article. People are not logical.
Honestly, I've helped some friends work on their Mini (now sold). What a piece! 10 years from now, I can see xBs on the road with 200K miles or more -- as far as the Mini... let's just say to fix a power window problem, a fan website suggested a rubber mallet (which worked, BTW). The limited run produced over-valued showroom stock, then a rapid drop in value as interest diminished. With Scion, there's a plan to wean young folks into buying Camrys. These have to be reliable.

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Old 10-04-2007, 06:19 PM   #7
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The Element was a good example of that... I don't know anyone who is young that owns one.
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Old 10-04-2007, 07:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneinchsidehop View Post
And yeah, it is arbitrary. That's the whole point of the article. People are not logical.
But that's what I'm wondering -- the writer was is saying that you just can't tell... But goes on to say one car is basically a flop while the other is hot... but the sales figures don't say that for either car o.0 To me, most of the writer's picks are arbitrary

----
So the H2 is the "red neck parade float?" -- on the Hot List

May Sales
'03 2911 ("first landing" as stated in article)
'04 1919 (wasn't competing with H3)
'05 1956 (competing with H3 - but it outsold the H3 >2:1)
'06: 1279
'07: 909

So, comparatively - the parade doesn't have many floats... I mean, shouldn't "hotness" be directly related to sales/demand o.0 In the H2's case, it really wasn't a big seller if you compare it to say - the Silverado. Sure it doesn't compete with the Silverado - but the Silverado sold over 60,000 units when the H2 was first released... It had the same figure the year after.

I guess my point is, without so many words -- that writer doesn't seem to be a great source - unless there's other suitable criteria that I'm not seeing that he didn't mention.
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Old 10-05-2007, 02:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trebuchet03 View Post
But that's what I'm wondering -- the writer was is saying that you just can't tell... But goes on to say one car is basically a flop while the other is hot... but the sales figures don't say that for either car o.0 To me, most of the writer's picks are arbitrary

----
So the H2 is the "red neck parade float?" -- on the Hot List

May Sales
'03 2911 ("first landing" as stated in article)
'04 1919 (wasn't competing with H3)
'05 1956 (competing with H3 - but it outsold the H3 >2:1)
'06: 1279
'07: 909

So, comparatively - the parade doesn't have many floats... I mean, shouldn't "hotness" be directly related to sales/demand o.0 In the H2's case, it really wasn't a big seller if you compare it to say - the Silverado. Sure it doesn't compete with the Silverado - but the Silverado sold over 60,000 units when the H2 was first released... It had the same figure the year after.

I guess my point is, without so many words -- that writer doesn't seem to be a great source - unless there's other suitable criteria that I'm not seeing that he didn't mention.
y'know, that's a good point. It really wasn't a screaming sales success, but a screaming media success. It just got a lot of press, then the press said it was cool, now uncool. Just as 4ssinine as the 10 best/worst dressed at the Emmy's list.

It really would be interested to see the same concept applied with proper research, based on new car sales and used car sale (actual not book depreciation) prices.

It would also be interesting to see someone do an annual automotive Rorschak (sp?) test across different demographics, to track the coolness rise and fall among, school kids, men, women, age groups, education level, economic level...
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Old 10-05-2007, 02:34 AM   #10
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i love how all these "young people" cars are introduced and aimed at that market, but the geezers come along and buy em all up.
funny post, and oh so true.
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