By on March 7, 2008

gt-r.jpgWe like Jack. Aside from being a hell of a race driver and future LeMons teammate, Jack Baruth is one of the most refreshing voices in the auto rag biz. His take on the new GT-R? Not good. While he's got nothing against the car per se, he's asking, "Who's going to buy it?" Jack argues that the GT-R's main competitors (Corvettes and 911s) have deeply entrenched, well-heeled fan bases with multiple owners clubs and racing series. The GT-R has fat kids in Mom's basement with carpel tunneled thumbs and a Slurpee's chance in Hell of getting the $70,000 needed to buy "Godzilla." He's also doubtful that the "Car Formerly Known as Skyline" will be much of a halo vehicle for Nissan, pointing out that the best thing about previous Skylines was that they didn't actually exist. They were myth. Now that they are bloated, expensive reality? Meh. Furthermore the GT-R is going to turn the 350Z into the "Nissan with panties." And finally, for those that can afford such a beast, are they going to enjoy slumming it down to their Nissan dealer where they might accidentally be seen next to a Versa? Nope. And Jack should know; he's the proud owner of two Volkswagen Phaetons.

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33 Comments on “Jack Baruth: The GT-R is Bad For Nissan...”

  • avatar

    Why didn’t this car go to Infiniti, again? Seriously?

    That said, I think Baruth’s comments are asinine. His portrayal of GT-R fans is convenient, short-sighted and blandly stereotypical. The amount of sheer positive press this car has created among the enthusiast community and, yes, the youth of America may not lead to instant sales success (though it seems like it has), but will surely foster decades of it. The same success the Corvette and 911 enjoy as aspirational vehicles. I’m sure people heaped “just a Chebbie” and “jumped-up Beetle” comments on those cars a long time ago, and I imagine that Mr. Baruth uneducated diatribe will just be a drop in the sea of idiocy this car will sail through over the years. The new legacy has to start somewhere. I’m glad it’s starting here and now.

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    That last phrase explains EVERYTHING.

  • avatar

    No, it won’t pilfer many (any?) sales from Porsche or Corvette, but it is a cult car with the video game set. Also, if this isn’t the ultimate wet dream of the young rice-rocket brigade I don’t know what is. Wonder if the fart cans will be a dealer-installed accessory…

  • avatar

    You know what I think, VI? I think it’s easier to sell a performance car without “badge” than it is to sell a luxury car. Snob appeal can outweigh the other merits (or lack thereof) in some cases.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    CarShark — Jack may be many things — but he ain’t uneducated.

    Very few uneducated people write 2,000+ word screeds against obscure Japanese sports cars.

  • avatar
    Bruce Banner

    He’s underestimating the number of young people with lots of cash. The same ones buying Mitsu Evo’s then dumping another $30,000 into mods. Even those who were buying Integra Type-R’s and dumping 30K into them. That’s who will buy this and make it legendary.

  • avatar

    That’s like, just your opinion man…

  • avatar

    Nissan’s building only 12,000 or so per year worldwide, quite constrained compared to those other two cars. There were that many 911’s sold in the US alone last year, and Corvette sells almost triple that.

    Don’t forget that well over half of Corvettes are sold with a slushbox.

  • avatar

    Who cares if guys like me (Corvette-centric) or most any Porsche owner won’t lust for a GT-R, it will sell like popcorn in a movie theater. More to the point, every kid who grew up with sport compacts will wet their pants when they see the GT-R. And some of those “kids” are doctors and investment bankers today.

    All I care about is seeing the production GT-R put some numbers down. I expect, aside from 0-30 on wet pavement, that $70,000 is better spent on a Z06.

  • avatar

    I think I heard this same arguement almost twenty years ago regarding the LS400, and we all know how big a failure that whole “expensive” Toyota experiment was.

    Don’t sleep while it is still debatable as to how successful the GT-R will be (at least here in the USA). This car does have game changing potential like the LS400 did back in 1989. Just like the LS400 turned out to be Mercedes Benz’s biggest nightmare, the GT-R could posse the same problems for Porsche, AND for the Corvette in markets outside of the USA.

    Now I like Porsches, but given the choice between a CaymanS or a GT-R for my $70,000 I am going for the Nissan. Regardless of the name and price this IS the most significant performance car to come along since the super-exotic 959 of 1985.

    Yes, we have seen Mclarens, Enzos, and even that silly Bugatti thing. The catch is all of these cars have listed for $500,000! A $70,000 car that can out-perform other $150,000 to $200,000 cars really makes those car look rather lame and silly, if you are intersted in bragging rights.

    If we could compare performance cars like luxury cars the GT-R would be the equivalant of selling an s550 for the price of a Passat!

    Game changing INDEED!

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t go as far as “game changing” but I expect it will get more foot traffic into Nissan showrooms and possibly sell more Z cars.

    But its certainly not making the mistake of the NSX: a halo car with no budget-minded partner to help move metal and build brand awareness.

  • avatar

    One thing about the GT-R that is significant is that it looks like a lot of Fun to drive and drive fast. From everything I have read so far it is fun and easy to drive but in an involving and entertaining way.

    I think this thing is going to deliver performance in a way that will make even the biggest Vette fan smile from ear to ear!

    It is important to understand the philosophy of Japanese automakers; they make cars for real people. While Corvette and Porsches might outperform the GT-R in a real track race. The GT-R looks like it will be a wee bit more fun on the street were it will spend the majority of its life.

    Car like the ZR1 Vette and the Viper remind me of a Cobra 427. A car that is blast to drive until it scare the living sh*t out of you or you simply get tired of modulating all of that power through a manual gearbox and heavy clutch. SO much power in a very hard to use package. AWD does allow you to do some funny things without gaining the attention that a high-powered RWD will get you.

    It is nice to have a High performance car you can take out and drive even if there might be some nasty weather headed your way. It is also nice to have a semi-exotic car that you can comfortabily drive to work and simply put it is “drive” when you hit the traffic.

    I like to think of the GT-R as a cross between a 911 Turbo and a M3.

  • avatar

    Folks like to go on and on about how great the NSX was. I presonally think the NSX was a poorly executed car from the get go.

    One look a CaymanS and we can claerly see that the use of Aluminum for the chassis was a big fat waste of time, energy, and money.
    With the NSX Honda ended up with a car that was too expensive, they were unable to seriously update the styling, and the engine and its power output was never anything to write home about.

    One would have thought that after all of Honda turboing success in F1 during the 1980s they would have made a turbo v6 with class leading power. Even better yet they could have skipped the aluminum chassis and did somehting great like a flat crank v8 just for the sound if nothing else.

    Also, once the TT supra hit the market with performance that matched or exceeded the NSX at about half the price the NSX found itself searching for significance yet Honda was only able to come up with a extra 20hp.

  • avatar

    I’m a 911 multiple recidivist, but I’d happily consider a GT-R, salesmen in loud checked jackets and all.

    Doubt I’d buy one though; powerful heavy cars aren’t usually as much fun as less powerful lighter ones.

    That’s why given the choice between a Cayman S or a GT-R for my $70K I’m (probably) going for the Porsche. Actually, based on what they’re currently selling for, it’s more like $60K after discounts for a nicely optioned Cayman S, versus God knows what for the Nissan.

  • avatar

    I agree with Bruce, don’t underestimate how many of us “kids” who played games featuring the Skyline are now beginning to hit our 30’s and no kids yet. All my friends I played PlayStation 1 with are highly successful and love toys like that… If I had their kind of money, I’d seriously consider this car after driving it.

  • avatar

    I’m not worried for Nissan, this car is a press darling and will do quite well. However, I hope that Ghosn understands that he’ll need to invest the profits into building a better, more appealing Sentra.

  • avatar

    I would not be at all surprised if the 350Z shortly got a makeover to make it look more like a junior GT-R. Trickle-down, baby, trickle-down — hey, it worked for GM for years (Cadillac cues filtering down the line). But I agree with the posters who said that any profits Nissan earns on this car need to go into making a Sentra that anyone other than retired schoolteachers might actually want to buy.

  • avatar

    Very few young guys put anywhere close to $30,000 into Evos or Integras. Eventually there’s a point of diminishing returns and even the most ardent Evo or Integra fan would probably want to move up to a Supra/NSX/911 etc.

    Plus the whole point of buying a car like that and moddding it is that you can spend money on mods over time. Just because someone has plunged thousands of dollars into a car over the years doesn’t mean they had all that cash to spend at once when they bought the car

    That said, there are plenty of late 20s-late 30 year old professionals that would definitely want to buy a car that outperforms everything within $50,000 of it. Assuming the insane performance numbers achieved with the prototypes carry over to the production car

  • avatar

    I agree that the GT-R doesn’t fit with the Nissan brand but I think it will have no problem selling. You don’t have to be some nerd who spends all day on auto related forums and blogs but doesn’t make enough money to ever hope to afford one of these to appreciate it and buy it, I’ve heard…

  • avatar

    The Supra didn’t fit the the Toyota brand….

    ….but I guess that’s why they killed it.

    Not every enthusiast with money is a brand snob who bows to the altar of Porsche and Corvette.

    In reality, the same thing can be said about a Corvette when it’s parked next to an Aveo, or a Viper sitting next to a Neon, or a Ford GT snuggled up to a Ford Focus.

    Volkswagen’s mistake was to build a luxury car when it had no business trying to. You can’t apply that kind of brand snobbery to an automaker building high-performance sports car. It’s two different worlds with two different expectations.

  • avatar

    Anyone doubting the GTR will appeal to the higher end buyers is ignorant. Previous R34 GT-R’s, that were legalized, sold for $90,000 and up. I still recall a photo of a huge mansion with multiple R34 GT-R’s parked out front… fat kid in Mom’s basement, huh?

    I also know of many Porsche/ Ferrari owners who have ran out to buy an STI/ EVO after they’ve been chased down on a canyon road by one. Its clear that performance minded buyers do not care about the name. Those are quick cars, but nothing special. Now you think a car that is faster in every aspect, yet still a fine daily driver, can’t garner a little interest from these folks? Interesting…

    Its clear to me that Jack don’t know jack…

  • avatar

    Please, the dealer in my area has taken 10 deposits already for the car, and another 5 on a waiting list to put down a deposit.

    I’m an Infiniti owner, not because of the dealer experience, because I actually like the damn car.

    If I had the cash, I would have no problem buying this from a Nissan dealer. As a matter of fact, the Nissan dealer in my area tries a little harder to be nice since they are NOT an Infiniti dealership.

    It seems that “luxury dealers” think their shit doesn’t stink. The “non-luxury dealers” in my area seem to try a little harder.

    Will the GT-R hurt 350z sales – I doubt it. The two cars are worlds (and budgets) apart. The halo effect could actually boost 350z sales.


  • avatar

    First off, this car has a legendary name for a certain crowd. As Sajeev and others have put it, the import scene has been around for a while and the kids who grew up with it (myself included) are now doctors, lawyers, etc. Frankly, I think it has more of a future than some of the other cars mentioned. The Corvette loving population is getting older, while japanese enthusiasts are the ones starting to come into all the money. These will be bought buy the guys dumping serious money into Supra’s and RX-7’s. The market has been lacking a japanese supercar and this certainly fills the void.

  • avatar

    The fact that Baruth owns two Phaetons almost negates anything that he has to say about the GT-R. Also, that he is the laughing stock of VWVortex doesn’t help either. I find it sad that he feels the need to stereotype people who “might” be potential buyers of the GT-R.

    I grew up in the Playstation-1 era, and will be finishing residency in two years. I am a fan of sport-compacts. I know plenty of people in the same position as me getting high paying jobs after graduating Business and Law School. These are same people who played video games as kids, who will want to, and will easily be able to afford the GT-R.

    The GT-R has already proven itself against the GT3, 997 Turbo, R8, and M3, on the track and on the road. It has handily beat all of them. If Baruth got out of his own little small world of sterotypes, maybe he would realize that there are going to be plenty of “basement playstation” kids buying GT-R’s. We grew up. Guess what, there are other people on the planet that will be interested and buy as well.

  • avatar

    If Suzuki built the GT-R , they too could sell 12,000 [or more] in a year .

    Youthful minds don’t need [brand] provenance!

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    No, this car has a group of rabid alpha geeks.

    Remember, this includes the massive Web 3.0 startup types. I expect that 1/2 of the GT-Rs end up in Silly Valley.

    We may have started out eating chips in Mom’s basement, but look at Bill Gates…

  • avatar
    John R

    “…are they going to enjoy slumming it down to their Nissan dealer where they might accidentally be seen next to a Versa?”

    Just like the guy who goes slumming to the Chevy dealer to buy the ‘Vette that stands next to the Aveo. Or the Porsche owner who knows his 911 shares parts with VW.

    Either this guy is trying to be controversial or he doesn’t knows what he’s talking about. As someone as said, the same has been said about Lexus and Infiniti.

    I saw one or two comments from people wanting numbers. For those have yet to learn:

  • avatar

    No Porsche has a GPS system to tell you what tracks you are able to open it up on, nor does Porche require you to do a $1000 service every time you track the car in order to maintain your warranty. $70,000 is just to get your foot in the door with a GT-R. And then you still have to deal with Nissan dealers? Sign me up for a Caymen S.

  • avatar

    In Asia Skyline GTR did the same amount of priceless marketing with its racing victories for the Nissan brand than the original M3 did for BMW in Europe. So in Asia the huge fan base is there. The racing pedigree, the history. Like Porsche in Europe.

    I Europe the new GTR will have its most toughest times. I US you have the import scene crowd and grown up PS1 fanboys. It will be interesting to see what German car magazines write about the GTR. Usually they will slaughter everything that is competitive and threathens their products. Lexus articles are like anecdotes in German automotive press.

    In UK the new GTR has gotten lot of very good press. Lates Evo Magazine has the best article – GTR is better on highways and public roads than R8, faster 0-100-0 mph than Z06 and faster on track than GT3.

  • avatar

    Jack Baruth??
    Obviously this guy is not in the target market of the GTR, nor does he understand the purchasing power in that demographic.

    Hey Jack, thats why there’s a long waiting list, strict import limitations, and a special committee setup to discourage $60k markups!

    And Volkswagen Phaeton?? Not only is this one of the worst car decisions VW has done, but you have 2 of them! Hilarious.

    Tazite com

  • avatar

    Jack is so far off that he’s in the pit lane on this argument.

    “They were myth.”

    That is about the dumbest comment I have read all day. I don’t need to repeat the truths others have said about all the errors in Jack’s comment. The “kids” ready to buy this car need only a fraction of the cost of buying and upgrading an American muscle car to come close to competing with this beast. Likewise for a ready to roll exotic import. This car will prove to everyone that you don’t need a fancy European family name on your car, or an engine sticking out of the hood and guzzling massive liters of fuel to leave the competition smelling fumes along the entire length of the track. This beast is so far above anything else in the Nissan stable my only concern is how to manage repairs and upgrades. I think a warranty will be useless, just buy it and take it to your trusted shop and do what you want. But you’re a fool if you ignore this car approaching in your mirror Jack! Did he even drive this car? I can’t comment on actual performance but expectations are high.

    Reading this ignorant viewpoint makes me think “Are all race car drivers stupid?” But I don’t believe they are, so let’s have the Top Gear crew take this car, crown it the new King of the track and see Nissan sales triple. That’s my prediction.

  • avatar

    First off i own a Zo6

    I have non runflat Invo’s. and ceramic brake pads

    My compfort level is far improved. and as far as staightline acceleration 345 rears does wonders for a car that already hits 60 by 3.5 seconds.

    Meaning i’m faster now.
    The GT-R is an incredible car. Period.

    try buying one for even close to a Zo6 price and i tell you its the best car on the planet.

    but WHY would any Nissan dealer sell a car that car compare with an enzo for Msrp. they won’t and aren’t.

    Look to the GT500 still people paying over msrp and the thing can’t run with the big dawgs.

    With the tire and brake change my Zo6 went toward real refined in feel. With headers and intake….it will easily put down 500+ rwhp and just under 500 rwtq. in a 3100 lb package that can achieve 1 g or better lateral grip..its all you need babby.

    the GT-r computer gives it the edge not driver.
    It reminds me of the guys with prosthetic althetic lower limbs that can run the 100 meters faster than a Olympic human sprinter….its a product of technology…..

    the Zo6 could be equipped with a luanch control
    that would make super consistant.

    with non runflats it seems to bite into turns better….and recover better once your oversteeered into the danger zone.

    I personally give Kudo’s to Nissan.
    they have done it…..but at the expense of the driver. Hell why not make it driverless and i’m sure a computer will smoke a human…..its getting to the AI point for me.

    happily i have a 427 sb chevy…that will beat a GT-r in the 1/4 and top end…… there might never be a time again when such a large engine will come in an American car. the Zr1 is really more or less a pumped up LS3…smaller engine under pressure.
    Cosidering real price points the Zr1 should kill the GT-r.

    Anyone know who has a GT-r and how much they paid for one?
    i’d be surprised if one has been sold for under 90k.

    I have no fear of something i won’t ever see on the road….and if i do…will the guy risk his precious warrantee to mod it…..with that complicated tranny and electrnics my answer will be NO….they will likely be stock…

    drive a Z06 then you might have insight.
    your at a buck 20 in a flash…and you realise no one is around you…they all are amile back…inclucing the motorcyle cop you just passed…lol kidding.

  • avatar

    Ok the GT-R is the real deal.

    no if ands or buts. Price point even at 90k

    I’ve read a drop in computer tune will raise hp 65hp and torque 80 ftlbs.

    Intake tune and headers on a zo6 will raise hp approx 50hp and 40 ft lbs….

    add an intake and header to the Gt-r.

    turbo motors …within there fuel system limitation can turn up the hp very easily and stealthy,, so as it is easy to return it to stock for warrantte work…

    I’M Napper i own a Zo6 , a 535whp 06 GTO and a 470 whp 04 GTO.

    on the late=tter 2 cars i spent alot of money toward the suspension and braking..

    The GT-r should be mass produced not limited production…they make 100, 000 they’ll sell everyone….if they can keep the price close to Msrp or even 10k over.

    Tuners are drooling….off the floor it can go toe tot toe with America’s 2 monster V8, top handling cars….the Z and Viper.

    tune, exhaust ,intake…. and bettter tires. And you have yourself an incredible car…
    its achilles heel is all its electronic nannies…

    thats my only problem with it……some geek could beat you with zero skill in racing…..

    i would know….my launch skill on a 99Mustang GT with full bolt onn compliment kept me winning against superior LS1 Ws6 and SS’s…….

    i knew how to launch that car….. and i was younger.

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