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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

America's next top model?

U.S. automakers use glitzy models to drive sales of everyday cars


The Ford Shelby. The Pontiac Solstice. The Toyota FJ Cruiser. They are some of the hot cars consumers are flocking to see at the Greater Tarrant County Auto Show this weekend, and local dealerships, particularly those that sell U.S. cars and trucks, are banking on these talked-about cars to bring more customers into showrooms and, hopefully, boost sales of their less-glitzy models.

"If you don't have a flashy car, they'll walk right by your production cars," said Robert Pafford, a County Line Ford sales representative who was at the Ford booth at the Fort Worth Convention Center. Ford is showing off its 2006 GT and a concept model called the Shelby GR1.

Although consumers love hopping behind the wheels of expensive luxury and sports cars at auto shows, most don't drive away from a dealership in one. For Grapevine resident James Westmoreland and others like him, the $150,000 price tag on the two-seat GT puts it out of reach.

"I'd like to buy the Ford GT, but I'd have to sell my house," Westmoreland said. "So I settled for the Mini Cooper," he said of his second, "fun" car that he drives on weekends.

Instead of purchasing the sleek hot rod that may have persuaded them to visit a showroom, consumers usually buy the car or truck that fits their everyday lives, industry analysts say. The top car model in the U.S. remains the staid, yet reliable, Toyota Camry.

"Most people buy practically, as a means to get from point A to point B," said Gabriel Shenhar, senior auto test engineer at Consumer Reports.

"It remains to be seen when the Camaro and the Challenger come out in 2009 if everybody who wanted to get a Mustang already did," said Gabriel Shenhar, senior auto test engineer at Consumer Reports.
For U.S. automakers that have continued to lose market share to Japanese manufacturers, analysts say it is critical to generate a positive buzz with one or two models each year to get customers in the door.

"If the product doesn't sell itself based on reputation, resale value and image, then you have to get people in the door in other ways," said Jesse Toprak, executive director of industry analysis for Edmunds.com, a consumer automotive Web site.

"Those [types of cars] are needed to get people in the showrooms. Once people come to the dealership room and look around at different cars, you have their attention and they are a captive audience."

Among the Big Three U.S. automakers, Chrysler was the first to successfully create that kind of buzz for its cars with the PT Cruiser, Toprak said.
When the Cruiser was first produced in 2000, consumers quickly lined up for the car that had a 1930s gangster design. Some waited months for delivery.
Chrysler followed the success of the PT Cruiser with its luxury sedan, the 300C, and the Dodge Magnum station wagon.

As a result, the carmaker has posted two consecutive years of market-share gains, while Ford and GM have lost ground.

"If the manufacturer wants to draw on its glorious past, they can't produce an impractical, expensive model. They have to look at ways of making it appeal to more customers," said Shenhar, who is concerned that some of the planned muscle cars from the U.S. automakers may be too late to the market.
"With these new models, it's brought buyers in that would never have considered Chrysler," said Chris Kreska, a sales consultant at Allen Samuels Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Fort Worth. With the different types of models introduced by Chrysler, a younger generation of car buyers is visiting the dealership, unlike the mid-1990s, when most of its cars were sold to middle-aged and older customers, Kreska said.

Ford and GM seem to be following Chrysler's lead, introducing affordably priced models that are stylish and exciting to U.S. car buyers. Analysts said Ford's reinvented Mustang has improved sales at the automaker and generated a lot of interest in the Ford brand.

And for GM, the Pontiac Solstice, a two-seat sports car, has succeeded in attracting customers where the Pontiac GTO failed.

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Source: Star-Telegram.com
by Andrea Ahles
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Sunday, March 05, 2006
 

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The Top Model was the 1970 Dodge Challenger & the 2006 Dodge Challenger Concept is the current Top Model & when the production model is released; That will be the Top Model ! In fact , I cannot stand any other models period ! Well, ok I guess a Viper hardtop or the Anti-Venom Viper; or maybe my '67 Chrysler Newport, or even that 2007 Charger R/T Coupe by BurningMon !
 

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...Yea DJ,..I got to see the Shelby GR-1 concept in person and the car stole the show,..its beautiful,..with over 600 hp!....IMO,it'll beat the z06 all day long!!..Carroll is an amazing man,and a true old school hp icon!!....The challenger seems to be a hit at every show,...wherever is goes,....yea dcx we already know it looks good,...now just Build it!!:rolleyes:
 

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Vanishing Point said:
...Yea DJ,..I got to see the Shelby GR-1 concept in person and the car stole the show,..its beautiful,..with over 600 hp!....IMO,it'll beat the z06 all day long!!..Carroll is an amazing man,and a true old school hp icon!!....The challenger seems to be a hit at every show,...wherever is goes,....yea dcx we already know it looks good,...now just Build it!!:rolleyes:

ugh.. I dunno why, but when I read your post I immediatley thought of another DCX 'prototype'... :( The M.E. four-twelve I was so dissapointed, even though I'd never afford it, to hear that it had been canned.. my dream supercar for sure.
 

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ugh.. I dunno why, but when I read your post I immediatley thought of another DCX 'prototype'... :( The M.E. four-twelve I was so dissapointed, even though I'd never afford it, to hear that it had been canned.. my dream supercar for sure.
I agree,..awesome car!!..That was a few steps up from the GR-1,for sure!! Killer car!!..killer performance ...and winning lottery ticket price!!:eek: :cool:
 

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400k.. yep, I'll pay cash, is that ok? lol, I'd love to walk down my glass staircase, into my 5 car, granite floored garage, pass the ferrari F360 CS, the Lambo, and the Viper SRT-10 Coupe and settle myself down into that Carbon Fiber body and start up those 12 Cylinders just so I can go get some milk.
 

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Vanishing Point said:
I agree,..awesome car!!..That was a few steps up from the GR-1,for sure!! Killer car!!..killer performance ...and winning lottery ticket price!!:eek: :cool:
Yeah, :) I also agree ! While I :eek: have not compared the two, the Chrysler ME412 looks very reminiscent of the Chrysler Turbo Interceptor !:cool:
 
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