Niche vehicles are possibly the toughest task for automotive product planners, offering huge risks and often modest rewards. Many, like the Acura ZDX and Chevy SSR fall flat on their faces, often for very different reasons. A few, like the Lexus RX300 launch entire segments from which future niches will eventually grow. Others, like the Nissan Juke, simply sell in reasonable numbers to the people who like them while turning off most everyone else. But one thing is for certain: in an era when mass-market sedans and crossovers look increasingly alike, a good niche product is one of the few real brand differentiators, a rolling symbol of a brand’s identity and values. And with common platforms and components, certain kinds of niche vehicles are even becoming easier to build. But there’s one very small, very postmodern problem: it’s all been done. When you’ve tried convertible crossovers, four-door-coupe-crossovers, five-door-coupe-wagons, pickup roadsters and minivan coupes, where’s an industry to go next? Time to break out your thick-rimmed designer glasses and explain just what form of nonsense the industry should try now.
Find Reviews by Make: