2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo highlights 6 ways automakers can succeed wildly
In the US marketplace there are literally hundreds of different models for sale. However, if you park in any mall parking lot every fourth or fifth car seems to be a Corolla. At the day-care drop off the lot looks like a pod of whales as every car is a minivan. Why do some models do so well? A recent high level meeting by Torque News staff (done by Google chat while in pajamas), brought to light the fact that even now new models are emerging that everyone knows will be a winner. Here are some reasons that happens.
Be a Visionary - Ford Mustang
When Lee Iacocca invented the Mustang for Ford he did not start with a new sheet of paper. He didn’t pour billions in to product development and do CADD drawings of 50 different designs. He thought, “Here is this boring Ford Falcon. What can I do to make that car interesting.” The result was a car that has outsold it competitors handily and never stopped production (unlike the Camaro). From a humble basic car he made an exciting car people wanted. Simple, but only in hindsight
Break All the Rules - Chrysler Invents of The Minivan
The 1970s and 1980s were sad times in the history of the family car. Emissions controls, stagflation, and other factors led to the family four-door falling from grace. The station wagon had become so ugly and so dowdy that families were left without much to look forward to on weekend drives. Chrysler asked a simple question; “What do families really need in a full size car?” The answer was the iconic Minivan. By completely reinventing the family car Chrysler had the market to themselves long enough to get good momentum. The fact that they blew it and conceded that segment to Honda and Toyota is its own good story.
Exceed Expectations - Omni GLH-S (Shelby)
The Omni was sort of VW Rabbit, but not a good one. A copy of the fun to drive VW, done sadly, the Omni was basic transportation for people with little choice. Then Dodge decided to inject the Rabbit with steroids. The resulting car was so fun to drive, and so legendary, there are still fan clubs. Once Carol Shelby got involved and used his Midas touch, the car became not just good, but great. The reason this car made owners so happy is that it wildly exceeded expectations.
Keep It Fresh – Hyundai Veloster
In the pocket-rocket segment the horsepower has gone past enough. Mazda has to limit torque so the MazdaSpeed 3 can get moving, otherwise it just smokes the tires and torque steers into the curb. VW has polished the Golf GTI to such a shine there is really no place left to go. It is absolutely as good as that car can be. Honda quit. Rather than keep the Civic SI a high revving tuner it turned the Civic SI into an Acura TSX with bad interior trim. Our managing editor and others recently discussed how cool the Hyundai Veloster, and now the Veloster Turbo, is. It is one of the coolest looking, and solid to drive cars in the segment. And it is fresh. It does not follow the same old formula that Mazda, Honda, VW, Subaru and others have followed. By making it fresh, it has made the segment cool again.
Make It Work - Subaru Outback
Here is why the Subaru Outback is so legendary. Mom can take it to her church group in the snow. When she gets there she can do everything wrong. She can park nose-first, on a decline (so the front is lower than the back), in icy muddy muck. When she comes out and puts that car in reverse it will back right out. The car is all-wheel-drive in reverse, as well as in drive. All the other moms in front, or rear drive cars will be stuck. Even those with trucks would be scratching their heads wondering what Pa does to make the thing switch to 4 wheel drive. The Subie can climb a tree, and it works just like any other car. Genius.
Make it Better Every Time - Camry, Corolla
There is also one other way to make a car better. Simply Make-It-Better. Every year, for decades. This formula requires dedication. It is easy to sit back and say “Just make it bigger by one inch in every dimension and add 2 more cup-holders.” That can destroy a legacy (see Honda Accord). Toyota has always taken heat for making the Camry and Corolla too bland, too slow, to this, to that. Remember that the people writing that usually have a BMW M3, or a Mustang with 550 horsepower in their driveway. Toyota does not make its cars to thrill auto-writers. It makes them to thrill customers. Good old fashioned attention to detail and continuous improvement works.