Posts from ‘Review Flashback!’
There are limitations to the marketing power of heritage and quirkiness, and it’s possible that no car manufacturer is more aware of this reality than Volkswagen. Case in point: VW recently made known its intentions to drop the retro-themed Beetle from its lineup. Both the soon-to-depart current-generation Beetle (2011-2019) and New Beetle before it (1998-2011) drew heavily on shopper nostalgia. Though they were quite conventional mechanically, these “homage” Beetles obviously borrowed their “throwback” styling inspiration from the legendary original Beetle, which was first produced in 1938.
Just a thought: What if the 1974 Pontiac GTO was never actually named “GTO?” What if, instead of disappointing GTO loyalists, this extensively upgraded compact Pontiac had instead been called the Ventura GT?
History has probably been unkind to the 11th-generation Ford Thunderbird. Ask your average enthusiast about the relative marketplace success of Ford’s retro-themed 2-seat convertible, and you’re likely to be told that the revived T-Bird was a flop.
Merkur, if you recall the brand, was in many ways a marketing complement to General Motors’s Geo experiment.
With a huge budget, and a script based on the work of famed science-fiction novelist Frank Herbert, the motion picture Dune should have been the kind of movie sci-fi geeks go crazy for.
Blame Audi, Saab, and Volvo if you like, but by the mid Eighties, turbocharging had a sophisticated European cachet to it, and a number of American carmakers were working to get in on the trend.
As fate would have it, the 2002 Eldorado would not be the last Cadillac coupe—a couple of subsequent 2-door models would relieve it of that historic burden—but by most accounts it would be the last “old-school” Caddy.
The 2003-2006 Chevrolet SSR was a retro-styled convertible pickup truck, though the vehicles with which it shared its basic architecture were none of the above. It would not surprise me if the SSR was the product of a truth-or-dare game gone horribly wrong, and a group a General Motors engineers found themselves at the losing end of a sinister “dare.”
In recent years, Ford’s F-150 product planners and marketing staff have found themselves with an enviable “problem:” They have apparently not yet found the ceiling for what buyers will pay for a fully decked-out full-size pickup. With each new model year, pickup manufacturers keep finding buyers for ever-more-high-end trim levels loaded with new features and gilded with luxury-level appointments.