QOTD: The Right Idea, the Wrong Execution?
Today’s QOTD is about past vehicles that just weren’t quite right. Perhaps a manufacturer intended to make the sort of vehicle you might actually want in your driveway. And they got the styling just right, but the materials and build quality were terrible? Maybe the mechanics and trim were just right, but the end vehicle was so hideous you had to look away in horror? Let’s talk about the multiple times OEMs ended up with a proverbial fly in the product ointment.
Yeah. I’ve picked on the Lexus SC 430 before, but I’m doing it again today. The premise Lexus had was not problematic: A V8, rear-drive luxury coupe as successor to the company’s aged, Supra-based SC 300 and 400 coupes. While the original SC was long in the tooth by the time of its death in 2000, its design and mechanical combination were fundamentally good. Inline-six and V8 engines were paired to manual and automatic transmissions through most of its run (the manual died in 1997). A sporty and well-made package, one might think a similar concept and execution should occur for the second-generation SC, as well. But no…
Lexus unveiled its new Sport Coupe concept (which was a convertible) at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show. Since a Supra basis was no longer possible, the SC and its Japanese twin the Toyota Soarer carried on as a singular car on a new platform. Perhaps sensing the new SC convertible would disappoint the first generation’s customer base, Lexus downplayed the performance angle of the new SC. Per the VP of Lexus at the time, “This is not going to be a Corvette, where you take it out and really fly; it’s not meant to be. This is not a high-performance, boy-racer type of car.”
In the same speech, the same man claimed Lexus planned to bring more emotion to the lineup and focus on the less rational reasons customers might buy a Lexus.
Presumably by removing the fun and performance angle from the new SC 430, Lexus could enjoy many more of those emotionally-driven, non-rational customers who want to drive slowly around Florida. Right. The SC was a great example of all the right ingredients, combined and cooked very incorrectly. Sadly, they boiled their prime aged steak, then added some mustard.
Off to you. What’s your pick for poor execution?
[Images: Dodge, Lexus]
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