By on March 28, 2016

Mazda Miata RF reveal at NYIAS, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

The auto show press conference is a strange phenomenon. More often than not, it’s an executive from a foreign land, reading what is likely his third or fourth language from an obvious teleprompter, getting ready to introduce a car that we’ve all already seen at a “preveal” party. He’s typically using words like “social media,” “lifestyle,” and “aspirational,” all to describe a car that will likely sell less than twenty thousand units — if it even makes it to market.

The speeches are full of safe, non-threatening language, and normally take place in front of screens that rotate stock photos of happy multicultural families enjoying life on sunny, non-homogeneous days. The music is more Wagner than Bach, with thunderous bass and drums booming through speaker systems that even The Darkness might look at and say, “That’s a bit excessive.” And then, finally, a wall lifts and a car appears through a screen of smoke to thunderous applause from a press corps that can’t wait to rewrite the embargo materials already in their collective inbox.

So when Masahiro Moro, President and CEO of Mazda North American Operations, calmly stood next to his gorgeous new creation last week, with little fanfare or adulation, and said these words in while standing front of a black wall, accompanied only by the silence of the room, I believe he did it purposefully. Here’s what he said:

“Other companies have become quite successful by not caring if their cars are boring or not.”

Mic drop. And you know what? Moro-san is absolutely right.

To read the coverage of any auto show is to be besieged by the fantastic. We gobble up the descriptions of the high-horsepower, high-dollar machines with their heretofore unheard of statistics. Power by the thousand. Price by the million. Cars that even the mythical One Percent have to check their bank balances to see if they can swing.

Meanwhile, the new Civic Hatchback rotates largely unnoticed in the middle of the floor, not mentioned in a single “BEST OF NYIAS” recap. Same with the anniversary-edition Corolla. And yet, in its final iteration, each of one them will individually sell more than every other car introduced at NYIAS — combined. 

Why? Why do “journalists” (I don’t write that word without quotes anymore) focus so much on the bombastic when it’s the boring, run-of-the-mill car that sells?

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a good supercar story as much as the next guy. However, times have changed. The young people of today have a decidedly #feelthebern nature to them. They’re offended by mere chalk drawings. This is a generation that no longer aspires to wealth — they despise it (that is, until they acquire some of their own in the future). They don’t dream of owning a Ferrari, they dream of keeping people from being able to afford one. And as America chooses its path toward two extreme sides of the same coin in the upcoming election, one can’t help but think that the supercar will continue to lose relevance. Either increased wealth inequality will make the supercar a target for the new Bolsheviks, or a villainous upper class will be made to pay for their sins by relinquishing their possessions.

But until then, it cannot be denied that the mid-sized sedans and smallish CUVs continue to dominate the marketplace. And the brands that lead the way? Toyota and Honda? They don’t even have flashy, expensive halo cars. You can talk all you want about Acura and Lexus, but you’ve gotta drive a hundred miles or more to see a Lexus store in the majority of flyover-country states. You’ll never see an NSX on a dealer lot, unless the dealer principal himself buys one. No, it’s the Camry, Accord, Corolla, RAV4, Civic, and CR-V that rule the day.

So why do autowriters focus so heavily on the big money cars? First of all, big money cars = big money press trips. Slobber all over the Alpina B7, and maybe you’ll get a trip to Germany to drive one. Put some shiny pics of the GT-R on the front page and wait for that invite to show up in your inbox to drive one in Japan. Don’t forget, dear reader, the ultimate customer of a lot of these writers is the OEM, itself, and those writers dare not offend.

Secondly, autowriters are typically old. I’m 38, and I’d be the junior member of most autowriter associations (which I’d never fucking join in the first place). With the exception of a lot of the fine folks at Road & Track and Jalopnik, the average journosaur grew up dreaming of the Countach and the Testarossa. Unfortunately, since he’s an autowriter, he can’t afford one, so he makes up for it by driving the modern equivalent on the OEM’s dime. He’s not excited by the latest Altima. He’s a car guy, after all. So he’s not going to spend time talking about it.

We know different at TTAC. Sure, we love to drive fast, but we know that the biggest traffic here comes our reviews of cars you can actually buy. The Camaro, the Accord, the Jetta. You want to know what it’s like to drive the cars that might end up in your garage. Boring works. Boring gets you to work on time. Boring tells the neighbors that you’ve made it, but you’re sensible. Boring means you can make the payment without sweating it too hard. Even among you, the group that one writer I spoke to this week referred to as “the most loyal fanbase of any website,” the most passionate of all car fanatics on the internet, you know that boring can be exciting in its own way.

Moro-san is right that many companies have become successful by not caring if their cars are boring or not. I’m glad that he feels Mazda isn’t among them. But one couldn’t help but hear a twinge of jealousy in his voice, too. As pretty as the Mazda6 is, it doesn’t sell. Are you telling me he wouldn’t rather have the Camry’s sales figures? Please. After all, what jazz saxophonist wouldn’t trade paychecks with Kenny G? What struggling artist wouldn’t like a share of Damien Hirst’s wealth?

Like every other form of art, mainstream cars will always get their share of derision from critics, but they’ll shrug it off all the way to the bank. At the auto show, the boring cars might be relegated to the corner, but when the sales numbers come out, they will, once again, have the last laugh.

[Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars]

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120 Comments on “NYIAS: Contrary To The Axiom, Boring, Not Sexy, Is What Sells...”


  • avatar

    Cars that are “practical to use”, “easy to drive”, “inexpensive to maintain”, “cheap to insure”, “cheap to fuel”, and affordable…tend to be boring.

    SEXY COSTS MONEY.

    The vast majority of the market: buried under student loans, depreciating properties, facing an uncertain job availability market, delayed family planning and still living in mum’s basement can’t easily afford “SEXY”.

    Praying to Bernie Sanders isn’t going to change that.

    The majority of the future American market has essentially lost a decade of their lifespan to the economy.

    BOTTOM LINE: bring our factory manufacturing jobs back and watch this nation heal itself.

    • 0 avatar
      Krivka

      Ragging on Sanders when there would be a better chance for manufacturing to return under his policies than ANY GOP candidate is silly. And on the point of boring vs sexy, if Toyota would bring back the MR2, Honda the S2000 or Chevy a decent sporty car that could be repaired and maintained on the very strict budgets people have to live on, they would also sell. Of course there are Mustangs, Camaros, anything with a HEMI but they are overhyped and in the case of Camaros, too good for their own sake. In fact the Camaro would be the BEST car in the USA if GM would have tried to sell it to regular people and not to their target audience; i.e, Camaro owners. If they could come up with a 3/5 version of the Camaro with useable windows sightlines, and allow a young design team to create it, it could be both sexy to drive and boring to own.

      • 0 avatar
        BrianL

        Sanders plan to have free college for everyone and increasing wages is going to bring back manufacturing??? Are you serious?

        To the points about the MR2, the S2000 or a Chevy, I completely disagree with you. 2 door cars don’t sell in the numbers to make the profitable like the other models out there. Developing platforms for these is terribly expensive, which is why Toyota teamed up with Subaru on the FR-S. It is still pretty expensive. A base Mustang or Camaro is cheaper. But the MR2 and S2000 (and Solstice/Sky) lost out to the king of the small roadster, the Miata. Still, that starts out at 25k.

        I also don’t think you know what you are going to get when you talk about a 3/5 Camaro. You are talking about something really small at that point. You might as well be driving a Honda Civic coupe… it would be bigger.

        And what is with the comment on the young design team on the Camaro? Now granted, the sight lines are a problem for the Camaro, but they tried to keep it as close to the concept as possible. This was the result. There was a lot of pressure to keep it looking like it did because of how many times GM did a bait and switch with cars that were gorgeous concepts and terrible final product. A young design team wouldn’t have solved that problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      Spot on. (I work for a manufacturing firm, and lots of these guys drive trucks. Big ones. I know jobs like that are a rarity in the US right now, and I appreciate my employer a LOT for keeping us.)

      Oh, one more thing, I think in flyover-ville we tend to be practical, so if we’re going to show off, a truck also solves multiple problems. Can it carry the entire family? Yep. Can you fill the bed with leftover palates at the same time? Yep. Snow a problem? No. Insurance? Weirdly, less expensive than most vehicles with half the horsepower. I rent Mustangs, and love driving them, but the car only solves one problem; my desire to do so. But as you stated, lots of people lost a decade financially, and having three cars became sharing one, so it better do everything.

  • avatar
    nguyenvuminh

    Masahiro Moro and Mazda can talk all they want about exciting cars, the fact is Mazda would love to have 2/3 the volume of Toyota or Honda. Their zoom-zoom cars and message over the last 15 years haven’t gotten them to where they truly wants to be. They are doing reasonably well because of their CUVs, and I hate to tell you Masahiro, your CUVs are no more exciting than other CUVS one sees on the street. The majority of car buyers out there see the cars as transportation appliance, so the car companies that deliver the appliance product with reliability, sells the most. BTW, I drive a Mazda5, not because it’s zoom-zoom or exciting, but because of its practicality (size, 3 row flexibility, sliding door, reasonably good driving).

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      ” Mazda would love to have 2/3 the volume of Toyota or Honda”

      This. Money is never boring. And I think Mazda would cream their ジーンズ for 1/3 that volume.

    • 0 avatar
      toplessFC3Sman

      On the other side of the coin, I drive a Mazda5 for the same reasons that you describe, but also because it was available with a manual transmission and 4-cyl engine for more enjoyment. Granted, car companies couldn’t care less about my desires since I have yet to purchase a new car, and won’t be doing so for at least another 5 years for financial reasons (family, home and project cars come first). Of course I may be shooting myself in the foot, by then there may not be very many reliable, comfortable cars available with a manual transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @toplessFC3Sman – I think you will still have a decent selection then. Honda is expanding the manual offerings in the Civic by now pairing the stick shift with the turbo motor. The Fit EX still has a stick. The Mazda 3 offers a manual across every trim. Ford has expanded the availability of manuals in the Focus and the Fiesta. I think compact sedans will be the cutoff. you may not see stick shift Accords and Mazda 6’s 5 years from now.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      Indeed, I bought a Mazda last year, but I’m an old car guy who was migrating from a BMW. The CX-5 is the least boring car in its class, but remains practical. That’s a good spot to occupy.

      The Japanese brand seeming doing the best to increase share in none other than Subaru. The most boring and practical brand of all. Yet I was tempted by the Forester XL, I truly was. If not for the CVT, that would likely be my car.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      I bought a Mazda3s 6MT because it was a little more lively than the competition – and it came in a nice, convenient hatch with good reliability ratings. I wish that combination was working out better for Mazda…

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    “So why do autowriters focus so heavily on the big money cars?”

    Seriously?

    Because they’re interesting. No one is reading Ferrari vs. Porsche vs. McLaren because they’re researching a purchase, they read it because it’s cool and interesting and fun and a daydream before they go get in their Toyonda Pilotander.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Exactly. A McLaren on the cover has a chance at selling some magazines.

      Not so with a Corolla.

      As long as the writing is good and the journalism is solid, what’s on the cover shouldn’t matter, as long as it’s “accurate.”

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        What’s accurate? It’s all opinion. Most of the “auto journos” think that the Mazda3 is some sort of sporty thing, I think they are barely more fun than a Corolla. If I am interested in a car that I can afford, I can just go drive one and make up my own mind.

        S2K Chris is correct, boring cars are boring. If I want to read about boring cars I will look at Consumer Reports at the library.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Is it an informed opinion based on verifiable facts, or just BS?

          That’s the difference between “good,” journalistic opinion and paid PR.

          And I’ll disagree with you on the Mazda 3 and Corolla – drive them back to back and you’ll find a WORLD of difference. It may not show up in the performance stats per se, but you feel it. The 3 may not be a McLaren, but it’s never less than entertaining.

          Practical cars don’t have to be boring…not at all.

  • avatar

    The MX-5 RF seems practical and sexy enough. Cheap too. Two cars for the price of one. You get a coupé and an open top.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      This is a strange definition of “practical” that includes a car with two seats and a trunk of less than 5 cubic feet.

      Even before I had children, I couldn’t have owned a Miata except as a second car.

      • 0 avatar
        Sketch

        Why do you need to carry so much stuff all the time? I have never owned a miata, but I’ve owned cars with trunks just as small (note: the standard soft top miata has a larger trunk than this), and never had a problem going on trips for two that lasted over a week.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Same. I had my S2000 as an only car. Rarely had a problem.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Do you have kids? My weekly grocery/supplies run typically takes up most of the ~15 cu ft trunks on either my LS460 or my Legend.

          And then there’s the drive to the airport. Rollaboards and computer bags for my wife and me would exceed the capacity of a Miata. Again, before kids are even involved.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            LS with its human sized seating and generous trunk just keeps winning out.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            I do now (and a sedan DD to go with her) but didn’t then. When my wife and I were DINKS she had a sedan that did all the shopping/suitcase hauling/etc.

            When I was single, I never needed to haul that much. Groceries? For just me, easily fit in the trunk, maybe the TP in the passenger seat or something.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Every period of my life when I’ve been adult and single has also been a period when I’ve moved frequently, usually more than once a year. So I associate single status with stuffing cars with junk to the gunwales.

            No problem owning a Miata if the wife has a bigger car. Someday years in the future I’ll probably get bored of the big comfy sedan and get a sports car. Maybe it will be a Miata.

        • 0 avatar

          95-99% of the time the driver is the only occupant. Why deprive yourself of a bit of fun by driving a boring car? Never looked over your shoulder and asked yourself: what are you doing here? I am referring to the back bench. When you need to haul stuff or plan a trip with relatives or friends, borrow or rent a big car.

          • 0 avatar
            zamoti

            I owned a Miata as my sole car, wife had an old Sentra. The only time we needed extra cargo to move furniture we rented a pickup and that happened one time. Beyond that, being DINKS as we were, I had no trouble grocery shopping for a week unless I bought a bunch of toilet paper and paper towels, but I’d just stuff them on the parcel shelf or in the passenger seat. When I wanted a Christmas tree, I had the confused looking guy at the grocery store tie it to the roof. Was easy to reach, so he was happy and it was funny driving a green Miata down Glenoaks with a tree tied to the roof. Got many thumbs up on the drive home.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      My 2002 Miata worked for me before we had kids. Okay, it wasn’t our only car because my wife had her RSX, but if I had been single it would’ve worked as an only car. It could fit at least one carry-on, two if you use the smaller ones or duffel bags (airlines are making you use smaller ones anyway).

      My friend has an MR2 Spyder and that would NOT have worked as an only car.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Boring sells because boring is easy. You don’t have to shop around for car seats that have the lowest profile seatback so your spouse’s knees won’t be crushed into the glovebox. You don’t have to rig up machined bars that mount into the tow hook holes so you can carry a bike. You don’t have to buy winter specific tires. You don’t have to worry about scraping every speed bump. You don’t throw yourself onto the ground getting into the car. You don’t have to search out the widest parking spot for your long doors to open.

    I’m not sure what the journosaur tangent really added to this op-ed, though.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      By saying “easy”, I believe you meant “easy to own”, rather than “easy to make”. Agreed.

      Because in reality the hardest cars to make are the boring cars. Tesla is sweating the Model 3 much more than the Model S, since the price point is lower, the volume is higher, and the mainstream expectations are through the roof.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Not related to the “real” topic of the article, but the ham-handed political commentary is more than a bit tiresome. “Millenials” (damn, I hate that word) as a group no more hate wealth than they hate cars. (The “Millenials hate cars” is a meme this site spent careful time debunking.) And it’s not as if the lazy, stoned, dorm-room communist (who goes on to earn bazillions at Goldman Sachs) is some sort of new 21st-century invention.

    P.S. I’m not a defensive “Millenial”; I’m the same age you are Bark.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Would have been a nice post, save for the gratuitous and simplistic political hyperbole.

  • avatar
    Chan

    You know, it’s OK not to aspire to leading sales volume.

    Some people put product before volume and profits. And life goes on.

    Why do hand-made goods still have a market?

  • avatar
    tonycd

    Bark, I generally enjoy your writing, but in this piece you’re 38 going on 83. I don’t know if you were taking those gratuitous swipes about jealous socialist millennials just for the sake of counterpoint and clickbait, but the stereotyping is embarrassing even to me, and I’m a lot older than you are.

    Yes, young Americans are graduating to find no jobs awaiting them, driving them to used and/or economical transportation choices. Yes, they recognize it, and that’s reflected in their feelings toward those who’ve denied those opportunities to them. And, they’ve grown up in a world where the massive increase in the sheer number of vehicles clogging the roads has transformed automotive enthusiasm from going fast to coupling one’s iPhone.

    But that doesn’t mean today’s young adults are inherently unable or unwilling to appreciate exotic cars, nor that they’re waving pitchforks at anybody who drives one. It just means that for more and more of them, it’s as irrelevant as discussing the relative merits of snapping up a spread in the Hamptons vs. a mountaintop lodge in Aspen. We’ve got a lot bigger problems to talk about, as auto enthusiasts and as a nation, than the stubborn unwillingness of our juniors to fantasize about the same rocket sleds as we do.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      +1

      I thougt Bark’s sniping at “kids today” was uncalled for.

      What’s worse is that I’m about Bark’s age, and it really piases me off to hear someone who might have graduated in my high school class sound like the same kind if grumpy middle aged conservatives who drove me away from conservatism. They oversimplified the issus and won arguments by the derision in their voices, rather than by the quality of their thinking. And Bark has voluntarily stepped right into that archetype. Booo.

      Its probably best if Bark sticks to writing cars, and, stays away from politics. If this blog turns in to “the truth about grumpy middle aged men’s conservative political opinions”, I’m out.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    “With the exception of a lot of the fine folks at Road & Track and Jalopnik…”

    So, why except Jalopnik?

    We know why you excepted R&T.

  • avatar
    Prado

    Yes, many journosaurs are out of touch as to what constitutes ‘sexy’ and ‘fashionable’ in the automobiles of today. For the most part, one no longer needs to sacrifice practicality to get traditional ‘sports car’ like performance. But somehow to them, anything practical automatically gets labeled as boring. An analogy..Assuming I had the same powers, I’d rather dress like Clark Kent, rather than walk around all day in a Superman costume, that serves no purpose other than to say ‘look at me’. Sports cars are the Superman costume.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    “We know different at TTAC. Sure, we love to drive fast, but we know that the biggest traffic here comes our reviews of cars you can actually buy. ….”

    For the most part…ya.
    BUT this site can get caught up a the Tesla or two per week write up.
    It was another day another Tesla story. As if Elon had the chains and knew how to pull em for headline manipulation.

    And ever since my 04 Mazda3 purchase and the reading of the head designers and engineers, Mazda always seemed to be run by the car guys more than the Wall Street guys. The head engineer used to drive the old Speed3 everywhere.
    They REALLY love their work and cars.

    But as a whole…the news here is pretty useful stuff. Even the junkyard cars are interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Get ready for the Model 3 pre-order stories. Tesla’s Model 3 reveal is March 31.

      Personally, I’m on the edge of my seat.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        I am on the edge of my seat to…but when you get older you find it easer to sit and stand up this way.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “Personally, I’m on the edge of my seat.”

        Hopefully, the Model 3 will be the car I’ve been looking for all these years.

        The silhouette shown looks good. Hopefully, it’ll be a hatchback with a small faux trunk, like the Model S.

        If so, I may put down a deposit tomorrow night. I’ll be watching with my with checkbook by my side.

        But, the devil is in the details – especially when you’re looking for a vehicle that will be in the family 10-20 years.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    With traffic getting ever faster & denser comprised of drivers increasingly ill-trained and distracted, boring is not an option no matter what one drives. How I wish it were.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    I suppose it depends what boring means to you personally. Me? I’ve always found Miatas to be underpowered, which made them terribly boring to me…despite the great handling.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Millenials hate wealth? Nonsense. They like expensive stuff as much as anyone else does. They just measure wealth differently. Here’s where they’re REALLY coming from (from my millenial daughter):

    1) They lived through the Great Recession. They saw their friends’ big houses (or maybe even their own houses) get taken away because Mom and Dad couldn’t really afford them. They saw Mom and Dad get laid off with distressing regularity. They saw their college funds get eviscerated. And they saw clearly that all this took a heavy toll on Mom and Dad. In other words, they figured out that Mom and Dad’s whole concept of wealth – i.e., go out, make money, and buy lots of stuff – was illusory.

    2) They understand the economic and ecological consequences of what passes as wealth to folks my age – i.e., unbridled consumerism – far better than us. So, they like nice stuff, but understand there’s a cost to it that goes far beyond just making money and paying for stuff.

    3) They’re less hopeful about becoming wealthy because they correctly perceive more social and economic stratification. Ever wonder why Bernie Sanders is hot with younger voters? It’s no mystery.

    4) To people who’ve never been without the Internet, information = power. Wealth is a function of that. Therefore, technology is the means to that end.

    None of this is Bolshevik. That’s silly. It’s realpolitik – a reaction to the times they grew up in.

    (And boring may sell, but sexy can help sell boring every time.)

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      Well said. It would be a grave mistake to dismiss the millennial generation as out of touch with anything. They represent, more than anything, the harsh reality of today’s economy.

      They love phones more than cars? Because they can’t find the careers nor access the wealth/credit that lets them play with cars or other US$5-digit luxuries, at least not to the extent that their parents could in the 1970s and 80s.

      They live in daddy’s basement? Because daddy is busy playing punt-a-house with the other affluent daddies in metropolitan areas all over the country.

      Deadbeats? Those exist in every age demographic.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        So spending $5-600 every year or two with the money they do have is worthwhile because larger ticket items are out of reach?

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          You’re referring to mobile devices, I’m assuming?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Correct. These silly things are such a scam, the only willing move is to not to play the game.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            This!

            I’d wear a t-shirt that says UN-MOBILE except viewers would assume it just referred to my bod.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Right, but to younger people, they’re more than just a phone – it’s how they connect with the world. You’d be AMAZED how deeply kids are engaged with these things…my ex was supposed to be paying for my kids’ phones, and she failed (surprise, surprise!). I am NOT spending a hundred bucks a month on leasing Galaxy 6’s or Iphones for everyone. So I got them prepaid smartphones. Paid $50 a pop, $40 a month, unlimited talk/text/data. And they’re prepaid, so if my youngest doesn’t do what she’s supposed to do at home, or blows off schoolwork, Dad doesn’t pay the bill. Problem solved without having the cell phone company turn you in to collections.

            But anyway, neither phone is even remotely as “powerful” as the (non working) ones Mom got for them – they had Galaxy 6’s before. Amazingly enough, they’ve adapted. Radical, right?

            But to these kids, it’s not a scam – it’s how they connect. Weird to you and me, maybe, but my parents also thought it was weird for me to want a PC (Dad saw the light, Mom never has).

            But if anything, the whole “my IPhone’s newer than yours” thing is proof that these kids are definitely materialistic – if they weren’t they’d all be using prepaid Nokia flip phones.

            It’s definitely materialism, just on a more affordable scale. For people in my generation, it’s what you drive, what furniture you have, the neighborhood you live in, how big your house is, etc. For kids in my daughter’s generation, it’s your phone, what you wear, what you eat, where you travel, and where you eat (and the beer you drink, believe it or not), etc. It’s still materialism, just on a different scale.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Kids today from only middling circumstances are pretty much hopeless anyway so whatever distracts them from that is a blessing, I guess.

            But there’s no pretending that their broadband connection to the world is anything but a giant slurry pipe. Commerce, gossip, lowest-common-denominator entertainment and porn are all it delivers. Read any college students’ papers recently?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @RH

            I will buy that shirt. Let’s put a rotary phone on it.

            @Freed.

            I maintain the world is sh*t and its not worth a constant connection. From the moment the cell phone was made popular it became a shackle. Now these kids are bullying each other over the computer. Bullying has become so lazy and impersonal its gone digital? Time was, you stood up to a bully and it transformed you as a person. Now what, more meaningless tweets back?

            I can’t speak for your time, but my time as a youngin’ was not so long ago. Then it was Walkmans and Starter hats/jackets usually featuring the Steelers or Penguins (who had won back to back championships at the time). Same idea different decade. I say f*** materialism. I want nice sh*t to an extent but I’m not falling into the trap of retail. If this generation were truly bright they would see this and go anti-consumerist just as much as proles are “voting” anti-establishment. But they will still line up like lemmings for Iphone 37 or Galaxy S99.

          • 0 avatar
            JuniperBug

            Hold on a second: buying a new model of faster, stylish phone for $500 every couple of years is a scam, but leasing a new model of faster, stylish $35,000 car every 3 years isn’t?

            You don’t need a fancy version of either to perform the basic functions you need out of them, but one of them is a much more affordable luxury than the other.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “Let’s put a rotary phone on it.”

            Candlestick phone!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Juniper

            The simple answer is, yes… which is why I don’t lease.

            “one of them is a much more affordable luxury than the other”

            Wants vs needs.

            @RH

            Yes!

          • 0 avatar
            JuniperBug

            “Wants vs needs?” Which is which?

            I can – have, and possibly will again – work at a slightly-better-than-average job, advance towards my business degree, communicate – and even visit – with friends and family all over the world, all without owning a car, let alone a $35,000 one.

            I couldn’t easily do all those things without an Internet-enabled smart phone.

            And for what it’s worth, I didn’t have even a basic cell phone until I was 23, and that was only because I needed it for work (wrangling wealthy tourists on Swiss cycling trails). I didn’t see the need for one before then, either, but time marches on.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @ RH:

            I’ve read MY college kids’ papers…no problem there at all. But some of her classmates’? Oy.

            That’s nothing new, though. A secret from my college days: I passed my computer-sci class by a little trade agreement with a computer major on my floor. He wrote my “basic” code, I wrote his history papers. The man couldn’t string a sentence together in coherent English to save his life. I also edited other kids’ papers for weed and beer – many of them couldn’t write either.

            Later, after graduation, I applied to graduate business school. They required an entrance essay, and I asked them why, since I’d already been there and done that (Journalism major). The admissions rep said it was to make sure I could actually write a paper.

            This was 25-30 years ago, so the phenomenon of quasi-illiterate kids in college is far from new. The more things change, you know?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Wants vs needs, say in the phone argument. You may need a telephone, so a prepaid flip phone might suffice. You may want iOS whatever to run X apps and games, but certainly don’t need it in most cases. You may need four wheels and a running motor, you may want a WRX/F32 BMW/Alpha Camaro. Leasing helps make the wants possible.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @28:

            I’ll agree with you on the cyberbullying thing.

            The good news, though, is that I’ve found schools take this VERY seriously, and the other piece of good news is that often times it’s actually traceable. One kid at my daughter’s school sent kiddie porn (yes, actual kiddie porn) to another kid, apparently because 15-year-old girls are awful excuses for human beings. They were able to trace it back to the sender and she’s doing a 60 day stint in juvenile hall.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Freed

            I shake my head at bullying in general, but this cyber-bullying is just ridiculous. Nice to see someone doing something about it.

            I thought I read minors sexting is actually a sex crimes charge these days. Juvenile hall was probably appropriate but this girl was lucky to not be pursued by the legal system.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          +$200/month……

        • 0 avatar

          28,

          I assume you realize the irony in posting your rant on the uselessness of a constant connection to the world when you are a regular contributor to the social media virtual world right?
          I mean I pretty much agree but the hypocrisy of actually posting that would be to much for me so I just think it.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Meh. When (if, but it has always been if) they grow up and make real money they will buy just as much stuff as the rest of us (see fact that “Millennials” now buy the most cars). I had no money until I was nearly 40. Neither did any of my friends or family. I want to know where all these 20 and 30 somethings that had wads of cash were, because they sure weren’t in Northern New England, with very, very rare exceptions – and those kids had trust funds. Being underemployed and living at home is NOT a new phenomenon, we just didn’t have cell phones and social media to whine about it on.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Millennials do have it harder in the sense they actually have to make whatever money they are going to have. They don’t have the option of “making” $100K/year from some cheesepalace or “investments”, by simply loading up other people’s kids with more debt, the way heir parents did.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Horsesh!t. The only difference between kids today and kids 25 years ago is we did not have the ability to whine about our lot in life to all and sundry so easily. And nobody older than us particularly cared what we thought.

          The immediate result of 8 years of undergrad and grad school (And $30K in student loan debt) for me was a year working at the local Staples making $9/hr. Did I whine about it? No. I turned it into a very good career through many years of hard work and leveraging the connections I made along the way.

          My current employer hires a LOT of young kids right out of school. They are smart and hard working and great kids overall, but they are also whiny, entitled little brats. But they do grow up eventually. We all turn into our parents.

          • 0 avatar

            They have changed a little. Statistics seem to show ecnomic patterns changing most things will stay the same but they will get married later, have kids later, buy houses later if at all, they will likely spend less a percentage of their income on consumer goods (reserve more in savings) Of course not every one will but enough to effect statistics. From what I have read in the last 6 years it seems almost of all of these things can already be verified. NPR ran a story during Detroit and found that millenials expressed admiration for high end brands in luxury cars but most said they would prefer to buy Ford Honda and Toyota. As odd as it may sound I think the current generation may turn out more economically sensible then the Gen X and Baby boomers. They may have to if wage growth stays in the crapper.

          • 0 avatar
            JuniperBug

            Really? You believe that to be the only difference?

            So the fact that a starter home now costs several multiples more, adjusted for inflation, than it did a generation or two ago is because today’s kids are whining on social media?

            The fact that the job market currently demands that you have at least a bachelors degree, which will often net you little more than unpaid internships before even talking about paying jobs is because today’s kids just won’t get off of your lawn?

            My dad, a trained machinist with no other formal education, managed to have a nice house and 10,000 sq ft of land in the immediate suburbs of a big city, paid off in his 40s, a wife who never worked, three kids through private school, and only bought his cars new, and in cash. I’m not going to say that he didn’t work for it, because he absolutely did and was good at what he did, but he himself says that what he accomplished wouldn’t be possible today.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Well said, Mike.

      I know 2008 through 2010 forever changed my mentality.

      I know of real estate developers and commercial contractors (bonded road builders, bridge builders) who were in business for two generations go t!ts up (bankruptcy).

      I know of regional and local banks that were closed down, FDIC Officials greeting deposit holders – I saw this happen.

      I personally know people who had 8 figure CHECKING accounts (but who also had a ton of debt in the form of things like millions in real estate and commercial equipment and building loans), who spent $300,000 to $500,000 per year IN LIVING EXPENSES go belly up, and explain to their princess daughters and princling sons that they would need to get jobs to help pay for college.

      And only SOME people learned permanent lessons from this. I NOW see some of these people who burned to the ground getting right back into debtor serf status as I write this.

      I guarantee that the next crisis will be worse than 2008-2010, and the world’s central banks have little ammo in their arsenal, with interest rates at the zero bound or even in negative territory (a reason why you see the rise of nationalistic and isolationist politicians in Europe, the US, the UK, and Asia is because people have lost faith in the conventional politicians and economic system).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Three words: Ordo Ab Chao.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        All true, DW, but the difference is that seven years after the last financial crisis, there are better financial controls in place.

        Also, a huge piece of the toxic mortgage meltdown happened because of the widespread use of “stated income” loans, which, translated, meant that people could simply lie about their income and get approved as long as they had good credit. There were even loans where you didn’t have to prove your income OR your assets. And there were loans that allowed people to make less than their required payments, and tack the unpaid interest back on to the principal of the loan. Setting aside all the Wall Street shenanigans (selling junk loan portfolios as “investment grade,” derivatives, credit swaps, etc), millions of loans were originated with these types of features, and were nothing less than a ticking time bomb.

        Today, it is literally illegal to originate a loan with no income documentation “Pick a pays” are also illegal now. If you approve a mortgage, you literally have to verify “ability to repay,” and if don’t, Fannie and Freddie won’t buy it. This was all the result of legislation passed in the wake of the financial crisis.

        I’m a little more hopeful that if another crisis comes, it probably won’t be because of mortgages.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      Yeah. Millennials are apparently saving more than Americans have saved in ages. Largely by living at home, yes, but my sub-generation (the older end of the Millennials – we left college while times were still good) bought expensive cars if we were living at home (3-series or IS’s). Our younger siblings are saving it instead and making more utilitarian consumer choices. They like the expensive stuff, but they’ve seen what debt can do.

    • 0 avatar
      BrianL

      FreedMike, it is refreshing to hear a millenial say something like that. Often what we hear about millenials are about how they want free stuff, capitalism is the root of all evil, occupy protests, and the 1% vs the 99%. When you hear this, it is about how they don’t necessarily hate wealth, but the wealthy.

      But, I am no Bernie fan nor a millenial. I think his idea of growing government and spending more isn’t what the country needs. Taxes for me are already enough. I am not wealthy. But analysis of Bernie’s plans are going to raise them more.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    The point your making is unfortunate, but has really always been true. Cars are expensive for the 99%, most of us will always opt for the car that gets you to work every day, low cost of ownership, high resale.

    The subject of your story, Mr. Moro-san only speaks in half truths though and your article doesn’t really pick up on it. Mazda doesnt make attractive, fun to drive cars because they care so much or because they have such passion for driving. That might be part of it, but they make them because they have to. Its Mazda, the brand that is on the minds of 5% or less of the American car buying public. If they made boring cars, they would not exist in this market. In order for Mazda to even try to compete, they have to be sexy, sleek, perhaps even better in substance or lower in price than the Honda’s, Toyota’s, Ford’s etc. That is after all, how Toyota and Honda cracked this market. Offer more for less and look good doing it.
    I own a Mazda 6 and don’t understand why I don’t see more of them, why sales are actually falling. Perhaps due to crossovers, but Mazda just cannot pull the mainstream in yet. I think they are doing a good job trying though, maybe trying harder than most automakers that American’s actually do buy from. I hope it pays off long term.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Not unfortunate at all, I’d say…there’s no law that says that a “boring,” reliable car can’t also be entertaining. Examples: the entire Mazda line.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “I … don’t understand why I don’t see more of them …. ”

      Dealer network. It takes FAR less effort to buy a Toyota than a Mazda. There are more dealers, they have significantly better service, and they make better deals. This is the only reason my sister currently drives a Corolla instead of the Mazda3 she initially wanted.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Mr Moro’s statement also means he’s relegating Mazda to swimming upstream for years to come.

    His reverse snobbery toward the other mfrs’ “boring cars” is really just an excuse for Madza’s failure to grow market share.

    Foolishly, Mazda has slavishly committed 50 engineers to ongoing rotary development, while avoiding any efforts to develop a hybrid or EV – even one with the “exciting” driving qualities Mazdas claim to have. A hybrid CX-3 or electric CX-5 could be interesting vehicles, designed in conjunction with a seasoned partner.

    Heck, even Mitsubishi is trying stuff with their EV and PHEV efforts, but their latest success is with the lowly Mirage, which is slightly outselling Mazda’s CX-3.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Disagree completely. Mazda’s on the right track sales wise, and will only benefit from VW’s Suicide Squad imitation. They both chase the same “enthusiast driver on a budget” market. If they finally introduce the Mazdaspeed 3, it’ll put a dagger right into GTI sales (the only bright spot for VW).

      Will they be the number one seller? No. But maybe the idea is to be profitable, versus just big.

      Mazda isn’t like other companies and I respect them to no end for that.

      (Yes, I’m a fanboy.)

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        //They both chase the same “enthusiast driver on a budget” market.

        I’d say that’s ample proof they’re bakka.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Maybe, maybe not. You can certainly build on worse clientele (ask Chrysler).

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Chrysler did have one advantage vis the downwardly-mobile-with-kids demographic snapping up AVP Grand Caravans and other sub-20K new cars of only resort.

            Whether that was sufficiently profitable has I guess been answered by the GC’s discontinuation.

        • 0 avatar
          chaparral

          Rideheight,

          Mazda’s choice is a 15-20% market share of the 1,000,000 cars/year enthusiast market like they have now, or a 0% market share of the 16,000,000 cars/year plodder market like they had in 1997-2003.

          If you don’t like driving, it’s unlikely you’ll ever consider a Mazda. A Civic or Corolla has less expensive tires and more predictable resale value. If the Mazda wasn’t more fun to drive, why would the enthusiasts that do buy it buy it?

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        and maybe the idea is never to be the biggest maker…only do your thing well.

        I love Mazda. I love a lot of types of cars for different reason. Mazda just for what they do.
        They do design and road feel well. And their skyactiv, although a ton of smart folks thought they were nuts for not gong turbo or hybrid…is turning out to be one hellofava move. This motor now, with turbo, will be an awesome next step in the CX9 and Speeds.

        This being all said…I like how they are buddying up with Fiat and other makers and sharing/building tech.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      You make the classic American assumption that every company’s end goal is market dominance via volume and growth. That may be true in material American culture.

      Do Mazda guys want more sales? Probably. Are they losing sleep over Toyota’s volume? Probably not.

      I’m guessing the guys in Italy commissioning hand-made handbags or wooden-heeled dress shoes don’t lose any sleep over some factory in SE Asia cranking out stuff for another brand that prioritises market share over tradition.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “the classic American assumption that every company’s end goal is market dominance via volume and growth.”

        Evidently Japanese aren’t averse to pursuing market dominance via volume and growth. And they’re doing it better than the Heinies :-D

        • 0 avatar
          Chan

          True, but if Mazda were one of them, they wouldn’t be building MX-5s.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            How many would notice if MX-5 production ceased this instant? Betcha more people seek out episodes of Pee Wee’s Playhouse on YouTube.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            What’s the difference to you, RH?

            If you don’t like the Miata, don’t buy one. But plenty of other people do. And Mazda brings in nine figures of revenue from that.

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    The economic uncertainty is part of the gravitation away from risk-involving unusual cars. But I think it’s the opposite side that’s changed: today’s Internet-driven market tends to emphasize the howls for more wild, non-standard, edge-cutting models and designs…and all the noise, all the howling, is from people who WILL NOT, CAN NOT, BUY.

    The Volt is a case in point.

    Boring…as someone said, means, workaday. Reliable. Also, useful in its design. Long before the Great State of Ohio issued me my first driver’s license…I saw the experience of a friend’s older brother. In high school, his father helped him buy a soiled-but-solid Falcon.

    That wasn’t him. He was too cool for school…he took some summer-job money and bought an MG Midget. Chick magnet, right?

    Maybe. It was also a hole in the road he tried to fill with money. When he ran out, he salvaged what he could, got more help from Dad and bought a seven-year-old old-lady’s Beetle.

    So much for hip, edgy cars.

    Boring sells…because when you’re looking at a seven-year car note, you cannot risk Trendy and Hip and Lifestyle. What is kewel at age 22 is perhaps going to be gauche and embarrassing at age 31. And it might be completely out of fashion in two years, with the resultant crash in resale values.

    Corollas, boring roaches of the road, hold their value and have a constant demand. You can hardly go wrong taking a long-term loan out to buy one. Not so much a Prowler or a Leaf…think of what the EV people must be experiencing as gasoline dips into prices that, adjusted for inflation, have never been lower.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    Honduh and Toyoduh buyers put the least effort into their purchase – they have been conned into thinking these are good products while the rest of the competition have surpassed them in so many ways; it is not that dull sells, it is rather the awful products from Honduh and Toyoduh which are also some of the least attractive products sold, sell based on their history, not on their present.

    Styling is not a deterrent to purchase – the ugly and the attractive sell – the indifferent not so much. There is nothing practical about a Toyoduh or Honduh – they’ve all bloated in size and are simply dead bodies in a pool of idiocy.

    There is no modern reason to buy a Toyoduh or a Honduh over other products – the gap in quality is so small as to make the purchase of the two brands one based on laziness, not because the buyers did their research. One could actually say that Hyundai now builds better Honduhs and nicer looking ones than Honduh does. Toyoduh has long been a rancid product that is now beaten with the ugly stick so much that it is hard to even look at one. And both Honduh and Toyoduh don’t roll out new products – they simply use the same hard points for generations while falsely claiming it is new. The current Accord is several generations old in its life, reskinned to con their lazy buyers; same for the Tupperay from Toyoduh – there hasn’t been an actual new Tupperay in over a decade.

    Boring has no inherent advantage in sales – it is simply that two brand buyers settle and aren’t intelligent enough to do their research.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Do your parents take you anywhere with crowds or is that just too risky?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      If you mean “duh,” as in, “the last five Hondas I had were good, dependable cars, and Honda will hook me up with wicked good financing to keep my business, so yes, I want another one, duh,” you have a point.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Thing is, the last five (more like 15-20) well-used Saabs, Volvos, BMWs, and VWs I bought were good dependable cars, I didn’t HAVE to finance them, and they cost me less than the first few year’s depreciation on an Accord or a Camry. So why would I bother with a boring new car? I can’t see spending real money on boring. Mazda at least TRIES, even if I still much prefer VW (matter of taste). Toyota and Honda have been phoning it in for a decade – more like two for Toyota.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          We all make our buying choices, krhodes.

          Not everyone wants to pay cash for a “well used” import that you take a huge chance on. And not all of them are even remotely as reliable or trouble-free as a Honda or Toyota – I’ve owned “well used” VWs and Volvos too.

          Some people would rather have a new car and are willing to pay for the privilege. And you know what? Thank God for them…because they’re the ones that make those “well used” imports you like available.

          Your mileage may differ, as they say.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Aside from being quirky, what advantage do Saabs, Volvos, and VWs have over Hondas? BMWs I get, but really, what are you getting out of any Saab, Volvo, or VW made in the last 20 years that an equivalent Honda can’t do? Mostly it comes across that people who prize buying something other than a Honda or Toyota makes them superior because it’s different, but in reality, different is not superior. It’s just different.

          • 0 avatar
            carlisimo

            S2k Chris, I’d say quietness. The ride is probably better, too, and since they’re using forced induction more widely you get more torque. I don’t say that as a fan of those brands – you give up a lot, like reliability, and even fun (I don’t think much of the new GTI’s steering).

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            What advantage does your Acura, which IS a Honda Accord, have over a Honda Accord of the same year? It’s “nicer”. Same with a Saab. A 9-5 has much better seats. It’s quieter. It’s faster AND as fuel efficient. It has nice little touches like the cool cupholder. Nice wood trim. Nicer leather. Nicer plastic. All the things that make a premium car “premium”. The 9-5 Aero is a rocket. And of course the big one that there is no such thing as a Honda Accord wagon for most of the years of the 9-5.

            I simply prefer the style and drive of VWs over Hondas, otherwise I have always found them pretty equivalent. RWD Volvos are simple tanks, I am not a fan of the FWD ones, but all the same things as the Saab 9-5 apply – a more premium experience.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    What percentage of the US population becomes passionately abusive about the fidelity of MP3s? I’d say these folks are of equal marketing significance to those who understand how a car could be boring.

    To the rest of us, it’s just one more damned cost of first world living. Some are more reliable, comfortable and valuable when traded/resold. Those are about their only distinctions.

    Oh, and in the past, some offered pretty colors.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    I still hold that this generations’ first cars are going to the student loan bureaus. 30k average student loan debt vs 32k average new car price? Not buying a new car isn’t about ‘feeling the Bern,’ it’s just the simple economics of the modern Educational-Financial Complex.

    And out of car loans and student loans, only one hangs on past bankruptcy.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Aside from cultural and economic factors, the elephant in the room, the one that will one day swell to the point he simply cannot be ignored, is that cars nowadays are pretty much all darned good.

    Back when “car guys” drooled over Italian Exotica, those cars were genuinely better, from an enthusiasts POV, than the average K-car. A 512, or even a Testarossa, was a beast. Involving as hell, even just rolling around suburbia showing off. Nowadays, honestly, unless you’re a seasoned track driver who pass out from boredom if the straightaways take too long, most exotic cars are cheesy old-folks cars with slushboxes. That are at their most involving, when explaining about ‘ring times to your subordinates.

    And that’s the exotics, which are still at least somewhat interesting. ALL the intermediate rungs on the ladder, have been completely stripped of all relevance, by the unstoppable march of progress lifting the bottom high enough to be virtually indistinguishable from the almost-top.

    It used to be a big Benz was lots better than a Camcord. Night and day. Then, from the mid 90s onward, it was more or less a big who cares. And then, over the past 5-10 years, from an enthusiast pov, not only do you not gain anything by quadrupling your outlay; you literally get LESS in the way of involvement. Less roadfeel, less lightness, less playfulness, less pedals…..

    Wrist watches reached that stage 30 years ago. People still buy Patek’s, but not because they serve any kind of purpose, beyond the merely tautological of being a Patek. Stereo systems, aside from the speakers, reached that stage with the invention of the CD player. Cars are now there. As a recovering Car Guy (And Audiophile. But not Watch guy), it kind of bums me out a bit. But c’est la vie.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      “It used to be a big Benz was lots better than a Camcord. Night and day. Then, from the mid 90s onward, it was more or less a big who cares. And then, over the past 5-10 years, from an enthusiast pov, not only do you not gain anything by quadrupling your outlay; you literally get LESS in the way of involvement. Less roadfeel, less lightness, less playfulness, less pedals…..”

      QFT. When I bought an e46 zhp a few years ago, it was a dream come true since I first started reading about cars in Car&Driver in high school. I lusted for NSX’s, M3s, M5s, Boxster’s, IS300’s etc. Now, I look out on the landscape and while there are some bright spots (Mustang, ATS, Camaro), I don’t have the same aspirations of ownership of a premium car that I used to. I rather buy a Mazda and a used Z3 vs a new premium car.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      Yeah, this. As recently as the 80s, German cars were made of galvanized steel and American cars weren’t. So a Chevy would rust-perforate after 3 years on salted winter roads while a Mercedes would last 10 or more. And the driving experience was night and day.

      Now, everything you get at the rental car counter lasts 10 years and 150k miles and will safely cruise at 80 MPH. And a 911 feels surprisingly close to an Audi A4.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Alternative theory: you three are being disingenuous as part of a strategy to rationalize your decision to buy a boring car.

        The Mercedes driving experience is significantly different than the Camcord driving experience. A 911 feels surprisingly close to an Audi A4?!? Nonsense! It begs the question whether or not those making these claims have driven any of these cars.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          The Benzes et al, are still “better”, just like a Rolex is “better” than some 5 dollar watch at the gas station. And a stack of Manleys or MLs per channel are “better” than some cheap, installer grade lunchbox amps. It’s just that across the board improvements, have now compressed the span from bad to good, into a range smaller than the span covered by individual preferences. The A8 is “better” than a 4cyl Accord for LA-Bozeman on back roads. Over an hour better, I’m sure:) And for picking up clients at the airport. For virtually all else, the differences are small enough that the availability of a proper tranny in the “bad” one, tips the scale in it’s favor. Which was not at all the case, between the W126 and a K-car.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            An Accord is only “better” if it is all you can afford.

            I’m not at all convinced that a current Accord is any closer to a current S-Class than an ’80s Accord was to a W126. The K-car was relatively crap, but so is a Chrysler 200 today.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      While I don’t agree with your comparisons of big Benz/CamCord driving characteristics I do agree with the general sentiment of your post but I think it’s a good thing.

      Cars on the lower end of the market have really stepped up their game. Are they as nice, refined, plush, as those pushing six figures? No. But for many people they’re good enough.

      I a performance buyer. The luxury side of the house doesn’t do it for me. But when I say performance it’s more than the numbers. Sure, you want a performance/sports car to have good numbers but to me it’s more or less how engaging the car is to drive.

      There are some rocket like cars available but when it comes to engagement they’re kinda meh.

      I think its a great that we as enthusiasts you can find a car that pushes all the buttons AND leaves a sizable amount of cash in you wallet.

      Why spend more if you don’t need to?

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      Yeah, the biggest problem for <$30k 2-seaters is the existence of the Subaru WRX.

      People used to need to buy sports cars to get the driving engagement. Now they can have their cake and eat it, too.

      2-seaters have become more of a rolling statement, and I'm glad and thankful to no end to be in a position to play with my rolling statements.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        I still think two seaters (and tight 2+2s) offer a unique driving experience. A WRX (or M3, Chevy SS etc.) is definitely engaging and an all around fun car but it doesn’t drive like or offer the same theater of a Miata, Corvette, Cayman, 911 etc.

        There’s something about a dedicated sports car platform that other performance cars can’t match. They can get close, and for many that’s good enough.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Boring is relative. You could make any performance car seem boring by comparing it to an F1 car. Today’s mass appeal cars probably are more amazing engineering than any fancy car if you consider the challenges of achieving that level of performance, durability and luxury at the given price point. Today’s mass sales cars are vastly more impressive than the mainstream cars of any prior era. So does that make them boring because there are always more “interesting” cars? The argument itself starts to seem boring about now.

  • avatar

    “the average journosaur grew up dreaming of the Countach and the Testarossa”

    I suppose that makes me a trilobite. I had two kids by the time the Testarossa came out (the second one, not the 1957 250TR – I was around then but at the time I was being toilet trained). I was in college when the Countach was introduced so I suppose I saw some as posters on walls but I was more into Pirelli calendars.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    re: “but you’ve gotta drive a hundred miles or more to see a Lexus store in the majority of flyover-country states.”
    The huge majority of the us population lives in coastal states. 39% of us live in coastal counties. Flyover isn’t flyover because it’s not stylish, it’s flyover because next to no one lives there. Acres don’t buy cars, people do.

  • avatar
    AKADriver

    Enzo Ferrari started his company in a country far more socialist than anything imaginable by an American major party candidate. But I digress.

    Far more than any political disagreement I might have, I’m more personally insulted by the idea that it’s somehow wrong for us to only care about the interesting cars rather than the ones that sell. What is there to say about the new Corolla, beyond one eyebrow slightly raised at 50 years of production? I don’t own shares of TM anymore, so why do Toyota’s sales figures matter one bit to me?


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