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Old 03-15-2014, 01:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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For years, many people, Jeremy Clarkson included, have been claiming that we are at the end of an era for fast petrol-burning cars.

That is clearly not true in the supercar world, given that there are more choices - and more profitable companies - than ever in that space. *Avoiding the issue of class warfare, clearly there is plenty of money in the stratosphere for cool toys. *The coming of self drivers will likely grow the market for ultra-buck luxo-vans, but my guess is that supercars will stick around for those who have more money than they know what to do with.

Likewise, the track car space is healthier than ever. *There are a plethora of great track car options for those with $60K+ to spend on a toy. *The coming of self-driving cars is only likely to increase the appeal of track cars, so my guess is that they might even grow in popularity when we stop driving our own streets.

However, I do think an era will end in 3-6 years: the era of the RWD manual sports car affordable by regular folks.

As noted on TTAC, the GT86 is not selling *that* well. *The Z sales have been dismal, and even the refreshed Cayman is only viable because it shares a platform with the high-profit 911. *A new Miata will come out, paired with a Fiat/Alfa, and it will make people think the end is not nigh. *

But I think it is. *Toyota has all but stated that the GT86 replacement will be a hybrid, and it will likely lose the low schnozz as the boxer gets swapped for a Toyota inline four. *I have my fingers crossed for Mazda, but I don't honestly think the ND Miata will sell much better than the Toyobaru. *Considering that Mazda doesn't have the marketing money to spare, slow sales might mean it does not get replaced, come 2021. *With bespoke car platforms now costing so much to develop, I am not convinced we will see much of the classic sports car layout after the GT86 and the ND Miata are gone.

We will have hot hatches and sedan derivatives, which cost less to develop. *Interest in those too will likely wane too as cars start to drive themselves. *Pony cars seem to be doing just fine. *But I think the ND and the 86 may be the last of the low cost, lightweight manual transmission sports cars.

When the GT86 refresh comes, I think I will have to buy one and keep it around awhile. *I am not sure we will see its like again. *I am, of course, happy to be proven wrong...
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Old 03-15-2014, 01:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Meh, gloom and doom has been predicted since the late 60s - early 70s when the government finally started to care about emissions. There have been eras of poor performance (180 hp 1987 Oldsmobile 442 anyone?) but things always come back around. I could see in 10 years having high performance RWD electric Miata/RX8/GT86 type cars at the equivalent of $25,000 in today's money. As long as they can go 500 miles on a charge and the infrastructure exists to charge them quickly, I'm cool with that.*
Owner 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible: 289V8, Cruise-o-matic transmission, vintage burgundy exterior, black interior and top, MSD Ignition, true dual 2.5 in exhaust system, Ford 9in rear. Owned since July 2013, in family since 1967.

DD: 2004 Ford F150 Heritage, single cab, bench, crank windows, 4.6V8, automatic, aftermarket flatbed, Dynomax cat back dual exhaust. Owned since 2006. 2010 Toyota Highlander, V6 AWD, three row, family truckster *
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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> But I think the ND and the 86 may be the last of the low cost, lightweight manual transmission sports cars.

There's probably enough room in the market for a couple modest volume niche budget sports cars. In any case with platform sharing the risks drastically decline since a niche vehicle can be made right alongside a popular one.* Dedicated platforms for niches are dead anyway, sport car or not.
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