At the end of the day today 2020 will be half over. Sometimes it’s OK to be Captain Obvious, or Capitaine Évident, because sometimes the obvious is a point worth making. Even with all of the bad things that have occurred and are occurring, this has easily and scarily been the fastest year ever, by far. Is that simply inevitable given I am older? I don’t know, but I hope, somehow, things slow down even just a little, especially after the virus situation calms down. I will offer my opinion that the coronavirus will never go away completely, that just like we (should) receive an annual flu shot, we will receive an annual (or biennial, every other year) coronavirus shot.
While I know that much of the substantial increase in views/visitors since early April is due to current circumstances keeping people at home, I want to thank the readers of Disaffected Musings for visiting. The monthly average for views for April-June of 2020 was about 40% higher than the previous high for one month. That’s quite a quantum leap in readership and I appreciate it. All that being said, I will continue to ask for the sale. Please feel free to tell your friends about the blog and to pass along the URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com), please feel free to click on any (or all) of the related posts at the bottom of each post, please feel free to “Like” any post and to submit thoughtful comments, and please feel free to click on any ad in which you have genuine interest.
This post is the most recent one in which I wrote about the potential market for an American-made super-luxury car. Also remembering that it is the automobile business I floated the idea of such a car sharing some components with other models, but not too many, so that initial development and tooling are not prohibitively expensive. From The Pontiac Solstice Book by Gary Witzenburg here is a partial list of components the Solstice shared with other cars to which GM had access:
Ecotec engine: Pontiac G6, Chevrolet HHR/Cobalt, Saturn Ion; yes, I realize that these models and even makes no longer exist, but that’s not relevant to the point
Manual transmission: Hummer H3, GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado
Automatic transmission: Cadillac SRX/STS/CTS
Driveshaft, differential, rear axles: Cadillac CTS
Steering wheel: Pontiac Torrent
Steering column: Chevrolet Cobalt
Interior storage bin: Cadillac XLR
Seat frames: Opel Corsa
Obviously, I realize that a super-luxury car could not share too many components because that would diminish its status. Maybe the engine would have to be exclusive to this car, but could still be based on existing architecture. Here is a picture of a car, from machinespider.com, of one of the most beautiful cars I have ever seen, and a car that could be the basis for a super-luxury car, the Cadillac Elmiraj concept:
I stubbornly cling to the belief that such a car, even priced at $300,000-$500,000, could sell 5,000-7,000 units a year, especially if it had any success abroad. Let’s say my range is 1,000 units too high. At the midpoint of the suggested price range, annual gross revenue would be between $1.6 billion and $2.4 billion. At the bottom of both ranges, that figure is $1.2 billion. Even at half of the latter figure ($600 million), couldn’t GM recoup its development costs quickly and make a profit? Remember that Ferrari’s average profit per car is $80,000. At half that margin and at the bottom of my lower production range, GM would earn $160 million in profit annually from a super-luxury car.
OK, maybe I don’t really know what I am talking about. Maybe tooling and production costs would be higher, maybe sales would be lower and maybe the price would have to be lower. I still think the car would be profitable AND it would be a halo car that would give GM some positive publicity, if executed properly. Of course, no one at GM will ever read this and this car will almost certainly never be built. That doesn’t mean I can’t think outside the box. What box?!
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10 thoughts on “Wave Goodbye To Half The Year”
First off, happy “Bobby Bonilla Day!”
Second, stop thinking about COVID. Time will now be forever recorded as “BP”-before pandemic, and “AC”-after COVID. Yes we will have to take SOMETHING routinely to fight COVID, whether it is a monthly/yearly vaccine or a $20,000 treatment. (I know I am exaggerating, but shame on Gilead). We will now take vacations like they did in the movie “Total Recall”, and sports will consist of the National Cornhole Finals and Madden Football Leagues. PS, two of my friends are very big in Esports. Stay tuned.
Finally, is the Tesla S not the American made car of which you speak? Does it need more leather and wood? Get rid of autopilot? Add exhaust “ringtones” so it can sound like a Packard or the Bullitt Mustang or a Ferrari Dino depending on one’s mood?
LOL on Bobby Bonilla Day. I, too, am still being paid by major league baseball as my monthly pension payment arrived today, as it does on the first business day of every month.
In my opinion, a super-luxury car would harken back to the days of Duesenberg or be similar to today’s cars like Rolls-Royce or Bentley. A Tesla is on a different track.
I know drug prices are a sore spot for many, and I think drug companies spend too much on advertising and not enough on R&D, but those companies are entitled to have a positive ROI. As you are well aware, developing a new drug can cost billions. How much did lifelong treatment for Hep C cost before the modern drugs? I think the drugs are FAR less expensive, even at $80,000 per treatment.
The thought of people like Maxine Waters or Rick Perry having a say in drug development is beyond frightening.
I agree with your thinking on the super luxury car. This current economy would have to have a significant rebound to even get the auto executives to think about such a project.
The parts commonality among the auto manufacturers was basically started by Henry Ford. The manufacturers must share parts between models for the sheer economy of the business. It also saves engineering and design resources. Their purchase of parts from outside suppliers also is a factor in what interchanges. It is the parts interchange which makes projects like mine much easier to source parts. It is interesting that the Dodge Viper shared front suspension parts with the Dodge Dakota pickup.
The Cadillac Elmiraj is a beautiful car. They should have produced that one.
Thanks, Philip. I could write that great minds think alike, but in my case the dominant thought is “What Mind?”
Although, as I wrote, I think the coronavirus will be with us for a long time, the situation will not always be as acute as it is now. Fortune favors the bold.
David Banner should know that there is Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard that requires electric vehicles to make noise. It goes into detail about the decibel levels and frequencies required. They created this regulation so that inattentive pedestrians would be alerted to the approach of an electric vehicle. And this was before the widespread use of cell phones and people aimlessly crossing streets entranced by the stuff on their phone screens.
You ask yourself “What Mind?” Of course you have a mind how else could you generate all of the statistics you post?
Thanks, Philip. My mind works at a small fraction of its former capability. I KNOW I am growing older.
There are plenty of folks who will pay a lot to get what they want. The problem for a domestic manufacturer is having a usable platform for an “ultra” luxury car.. Cadillac and Lincoln are the only 2 I see. And with every manufacturer going green, I suspect it would have to be electric.
Myself, I’ve kind of went the opposite of green. Back in February/March, I won an auction on BaT for a low mileage 2001 Ford F-350 dually with the 7.3 diesel engine.I have had 2 previously and they are about impossible to kill. Previous to buying it, I had talked with the owner of a local diesel performance shop about getting some more power out of one. Factory they have 525 lb/ft of torque but I was looking for more as I have also bought a bigger, 32′, car hauler. When I got the truck home I pretty much went straight to his shop to have them start working on it.
The single turbo was removed and a twin turbo setup was installed, the block was O ringed, different camshaft, free flow exhaust, adjustable injectors and an Allison 6 speed transmission was mated to the engine. The rear gear was changed from a 4.10 open to a 3.73 LSD. On the dyno it now has 815-835 lb/ft of torque , in “pulling” mode( I have three modes to chose from) from 1700 rpm to 2600 rpm. Last night I picked it up and went for a test run. WOW. It cruises at 1750 rpm at 75 mph, right in the range I wanted, and if you hit the throttle hard it drops 2 gears and pulls like a freight train.In pulling mode. While it’s certainly not “green”, it’s not “rolling coal” either. My next step is to lower the truck 2″ as it sits a bit to high for my taste. On a truck that I paid around 18,500 (including the auction fees) I have now spent another 15,000 to get it mostly to where I want. Another 2,000-3,000 and I’ll be there.
Being as he has about 18 other trucks there having work done, I guess I’m not alone..
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.
It doesn’t have to be a pure electric; it could have a hybrid drivetrain like the McLaren P1 and the rumored Corvette Zora. Right now, the share of the US auto market that belongs to electrics has plateaued at about 2%. Of course, that can change, but a ground-breaking luxury car can set its own rules. I agree that only Cadillac and Lincoln are in a position to do this.
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