Nevermind all the talk of fuel efficiency mandates. Judging by product rollouts at recent auto shows, some consumers still want racy, stylish cars. And automakers aren't hesitating to build them.
Call them dream cars. Chevrolet launched one at the North American International Auto Show in January: Its powerful new 2014 Corvette Stingray. Not to be outdone, McLaren Automotive rolled out the new hybrid P1, and Lamborghini introduced the high-powered Veneno at this week's Geneva Motor Show.
We call them dream cars for good reason. The 2014 Stingray is rumored to have an expected pricetag of $55,000, which is dreamy enough. But the McLaren P1 -- with only 375 units in production -- will run $1.15 million. And the Veneno -- possibly the ultimate in automotive exclusivity -- will cost $3.9 million. Only three will be built.
We've put together a few facts and photos of the Stingray, Veneno, and P1, the better to feed consumer fantasies. Click on the photo to begin dreaming ...
The $3.9M Lamborghini Veneno features a 6.5-liter, 12-cylinder engine. Working with a seven-speed transmission, it produces 750 HP and accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 2.8 seconds. (Source: Automobili Lamborghini)
In 1970 Pontiac GTO had a very short lived option similiar to the Stingray exhaust option shown on slide 17. Back in the day you could get a vacuum operated exhaust for the GTO. You pull the lever and valves in the muffler would open up and reduce the back pressure and up the coolness sound of the V8. I even think that you can purchase this system as a reproduction today!
So what sounds like a new design idea for a stock car (I know racers have done this for years), it is nothing new. $55K for the Stingray, or $1.5million for the other, or 3.9 million for one of the three. Not sure which one to get?
The article said that these expensive cars appearing at car shows indicates customers want them, and that is not true.
Car show presentations are what makers want to sell, not what consumers want to buy. Consumers want 80 mpg car that are simple, light, and easy to maintain. It is just that car makers don't want to sell them that, because there is not as much profit margin on them.
Simple , 80 mpg, light, .. sure people want these things but after all the manufacturers make cars that meet these simple requirements.. they will want safety, power , handling, excitement for only $5K!
Otherwise , what is will differentiate one car from the next? or do you think we should all have brown shoes?
The automotive industry pays big bucks to to find what will sell. And they haven't found a single solution for all mankind... they compromise and produce multiple solutions with the technology they currently have.
I like the idea there is a place in the world for exotics.. on one thinks they will work for the masses.. and that is OK.
Dang! I think 26 mpg , 0-60 in 4 seconds, 1G side load.. addresses a lot of compromises.
Yes there will always be a place and interest in high end performance.
But the article said this prototype showed consumer interest, and that is not true. It shows manufacturer interest.
And no one in this country is making $10 brown shoes yet when it comes to cars. Asia and Europe are, but we won't let them import those 80 mpg cars here, and the US makers refuse to produce our own domestic ones. That is making the customers more and more unhappy. These cars are nice, but all they are making are $500 shoes. Where are the $10 brown shoes? Hybrids are not $10 brown shoes.
The cost to manufacturer exotic cars generally exceeds the cost to manufacturer them .. by a large margin. Very rare to see exotics make any money on first few years of production.
The bugatti veyron price?over $2 million each.. they lost money on each of them. And not just a little bit. Wasn't until several years passed, they sold enough to recover their NRE.
The automotive industry (as a whole) does not think: the higher the price, the higher the profit.
Volume is the name of the game for automotive pricing and profit.
If volume of Chevy Volt sales were 100,000s/yr .. they would be cheaper.
Sorta of - Chicken or egg problem. Price for higher volume sales or price for expected sales. With big $ being wagered. There is a lot of NRE to be amortized.
If the EVERY ONE was willing to give up: comfort, safety, performance, reduced emissions... getting 80mpg with price tag of less than $10K would be easy.
The American public - thought it legislators - has mandated certain minimums must be met. These minimums (air bags, seat belts, crash testing, emissions, etc..) all add up to a car that has more mass. The public has decided: NO one can choose to eliminate these minimums.
If you test for total emissions instead of PPM, then of course an 80 mpg car would always pass, and the 14 mpg SUV would always fail.
Safety is always better in a smaller and lighter vehicle. Ever notice that motorcycles have a better survivability rating than cars? That is because smaller means more manuverable and accident avoidance is the main key. But if you hit a brick wall, a tiny car has less mass that needs to be slowed down, so can do better than a big car. Small cars automatically benefit from the better mass to strength ratio. That is why an ant can lift 100 times its own weight, and we can't. It is only head on small car vs large car where big is good. And the solution to that is fewer large cars.
Airbags are deadly deception, and should be illegal. No one should be allowed to put explosive devices in front of people's faces. Permanent padding is cheap and much safer, like on an amusement park ride.
Having 1 or 2 seats instead of 4 or 5, does not decrease comfort, but increase it.
The reality is that smaller cars are better in all ways, unless you need to haul the whole family around on the weekend, and for that you can either dust off the family truckster or rent.
Motorcycles have better survivabilty than cars? Please cite your source.
I believe that airbags are partly responsible for increased car safety, the decrease in car accident deaths (USA), along with the many other modern safety improvements. Nobody wants to put on a firesuit, five or seven point seatbelt, HANS device and helmet, to get racecar-like safety from street cars (racecars don't have airbags).
Back on THE topic...the new Corvette is awesome!...and for not much money compared to the exotics. I can hardly wait to see the new 'Vette in person, test drive also. I'll check it out at the NASCAR race later this month, along with all the other latest domestic muscle-cars on display by the manufacturers. There is also a nice showing of hot cars in the parking lot, as lots of racing fans own high-performance cars of various sorts, especially for recreational/occasional use.
Airbags cause hundreds of deaths each year, from things like neck injuries, knocking hands of the wheel, and forcing glasses into the eye. Airbags are not like a firesuit, 5 point seatbelt, HANS device or helmet, so why did you bring those up? Amusement park rides deal with safety by adding permant padding instead of explosive padding. Much safer and cheaper.
And sorry, but the new Corvette looks silly. What are all those grills and side ridges for? Nothing at all. They are nonfunctional.
We know what customers want because we know what they buy in the rest of the world and what they buy everytime gas prices go up.
It is the US that is socialist, in that the car makers used government to restrict the sales of the cars we want, in the US. It is the socialist car makers that want to keep relying on government bail outs every time gas prices go up and they can't sell their gas hogs any more.
Easy to prove. If we really were interested in air quality, then how come we just test parts per million, and not calculate total pollution output? Cars that get 80 mpg should never fail, and cars that get 14 mpg should always fail. But not in the socialist US of A. Here you can add on 50 pounds of airpump plumbing that cuts mileage by 5%, and then you pass DEQ even though you increase pollution. That makes no engineering sense at all, and obviously is just corruption.
Not true. No car sold in the US gets better than 42 mpg, and most diesels are not even allowed to be sold here. The single most popular car in the world, the VW Polo is not allowed to be sold here. These cars are cleaner and safer, so the rules are obviously being rigged to prevent the sales of cars most people want, in preference to what car makers prefer to sell instead.
Permanent padding has the exact same cushining capability of explosive airbags, except that they do not knock your hands off the steering wheel or break your neck, and the padding is still there through multiple impacts in a series. If the bag inflates on first fender bender contact, it won't be there when you then go out of control, off the road, and impact a tree.
Lets face it, airbags are terrible from a safety perspective, and are only useful in that they hide all accident concerns and preparations from the customer.
Just how much padding (density, thickness, etc) is needed to duplicate the deacceleration profile of an airbag? I suspect it is more than 2 or 3 inches thick. Much more than that becomes an interference with driving.
I understand why you would think that way, but the problem is that airbags actually are horrific in terms of decelerration profile. That is because they are not static. There is an explosive inflation velocity that makes them an accelerant if you come in contact too soon, and a rapid deflation velocity that make them viturally useless if you come in contact too late. A couple inches of padding do much, much better, all the time.
But you are correct that the important thing is to minimize distance from the person to the restraint. The dashboard is too far away. And if you take the easy path, which is where the airbags inflate, then you block view too much. So the trick is to have a restraint attached to the seat, that hinges up when you exit and enter, but comes down in contact with the chest, and provided a pad for the head to rest on when the head starts to approach the chest area.
Oh. So more like a roller coaster restraint than a bumper car steering wheel. Now, that has potential. That would work a lot better than a steering wheel mounted padding that I was envisioning when you suggested it.
But, if it were to go that route, a full 5-point racing harness would probably do as well.
Yes, a full 5 point harness would be best, but the trick is to get it to be self installing, sort of like an Ironman suit. You just sit down, and it wraps around you.
Problem is it can't be attached to the dash, floor, or roof, because those things can move relative to the passenger, in an accident. The only thing that can't, is the seat. So the wraps have to be part of the seat and come out of the seat.
If steering wheels reqiure too much mobility, then dump the steering wheel. With power steering, you could easily steer with two lever arms on either side, where to make a right turn you pull on the right one and push on the left one. If the arms are long enough to have sufficient leverage, you would still have a power loss backup. More easily made electric than the rotary system anyway. Then full body contact padding down the center would be very easy.
I'm a consumer. I'm 32 with likely a few vehicles that I will be purchasing in my life time. I want a very simple 80-100 mpg, very light 3 wheeled vehicle for commuting for days when the weather is not very appealing for my motorcycle or bicycle (rain/snow/salt). The ELIO is almost it, but even they are putting 3 airbags into the vehicle. I want a basic $5k vehicle that has a roof, is reliable, and gets great mpg. I don't want ABS, airbags, traction control, satalite radio, GPS, remote start, power windows, power seats, etc. I don't even need a radio.
... I want a very simple 80-100 mpg, very light 3 wheeled vehicle for commuting for days when the weather is not very appealing for my motorcycle or bicycle (rain/snow/salt). The ELIO is almost it, but even they are putting 3 airbags into the vehicle. I want a basic $5k vehicle that has a roof, is reliable, and gets great mpg. I don't want ABS, airbags, traction control, satalite radio, GPS, remote start, power windows, power seats, etc. I don't even need a radio. ...
I agree that consumers don't want to pay a price anywhere near what's mentioned here, Rigby5. That said, these articles always seem to pique reader interest, so I assume that somewhere deep inside, some consumers are interested, By the way, the three Lamborghinis have already been sold. Who buys them, I don't know.
Chuck, Thanks for the slideshow and we can sense your enthusiasm for dream car designs and new technologies. Even given the most frugal approach to efficiency and practicality, there will always be a place for dream cars in the automotive landscape. Thanks.
Three times now gasoline prices have soared and US automakers had to be bailed out because they made expensive cars with low mpg. It happens about every decade. It will likely happen again soon as the conflict with Iran continues. I like these cars, but the dessert does not replace the potatoes in a meal.
I agree with your premise, but we must ask ourselves why do we keep bailing out the American auto industry?
I suggest that it is a combination of politics and consumers really want those kind of cars. Consumers say they want the cheap, high MPG cars like the rest of the world, but they do not want to drive one. I personally like my older cars, but reality is that I need a high MPG and will relegate my older cars to limited driving/collection pieces.
We all wish we could have one of these cars, but if I had the 3.4 million dollar car I would be afraid to drive it!
On the political front, well crony capitalism trumps free markets because it is about buying votes! We voters keep voting the same political hacks (both parties) and expect different results (or just any results).
My memory may be failing me, but when was the last time Ford was bailed out?
When we talk about "bailing out the American Auto industry", it should be understood that we bailed out GM and sold Chrysler to the Italians. Ford stood on its own. Why? They build cars that people want to buy.
No, Ford alos went under several times. Remember when Lee Iacocca helped them recover? Volvo bailed them out as well as the government. And Ford has no better strategy to avoid the next bailout when gas goes over $5/gallon soon.
Lee Iacocca took Ford from the gates of bankruptcy with the Mustang and Pinto, the 2 most successful cars Ford ever built. And Volvo and the Germans saved Ford again with the Focus and Fusion. Ford donestic production has nothing to brag about.
Yes, you're right. The Ford Pinto is the most successful vehicle ever built by Ford. Yep. I would actually be more assuaged to say "most popular", thanks to "Top Secret" and other spoofs exposing its 'flaw'.
The Mustang and the Pinto were the same chassis. The Pinto was sold in tremendous volume, and the differntial plug being able to spear the gas tank was trivial to fix, was fixed, and totally a bum rap. People always try to attack small cars because they want to sell larger cars at higher profit margins. The Corvair was another example of slander over what was not serious, easily fixed, was fixed, but still continued as false inuendo. Anyone who can attack the Pinto does not know much about cars.
Hey, easy on the Pinto. I had one in High School. It was a good car if you didn't mind the rust, gutless engine, sagging uni-body, and total lack of drivability in snow. But in HS all I wanted was to get from point A to point B. Besides, I rarely had more than a gallon or two of gas in the gas tank. If only I could afford a GTO back then and still have it today <missed opprotunities>.
But to get back to the point, as I recall everyone thought the Hondas were crap back in the 70's, got a little noticed in the '80's, and well recieved in the 90's and beyond. Why?
And they also put together some amazing dream cars for autoshows!
NHOutbacker, Ford received a 5.9 billion dollar loan, while that pales in comparison to what it took to bail out GM it's not nothing. We sold Chrysler to the Germans (Daimler-Benz). 'Benz took what they wanted from Chrysler and sold the rest to the Italians, or something to that effect.
GM is clearly committed to improving its efficiency - but without sacrificing beauty. I was at the Detroit Show in January. The Corvette and the Cadillac ELR were the stars of the show. I used to want a Corvette, but now having driven electric, there is no going back. The ELR will be my next car.
So, GM makes a $35,000 vehicle that gets 200+ MPG and consumers don't buy it. Why? Help me understand that. On electricity, it costs me 1/3 of using gas (at 37 MPG). 3 cents per mile instead of 10 cents per mile.
I'm also using 100% domestic energy instead of 60% foreign oil. How do these two things not make cents/sense to the American Consumer?
Due to this massive misunderstanding, I'm in the process of finalizing my book with my publisher - due out 3/31/13. All the costs, fuel, electricity usage, etc.
Help me understand why the average American just wants to continue supporting the 100+ year old internal combustion engine?
I do not know the mind of the American consumer. But your Harley purchase may give a clue. We like big and loud cost be dammed. I do not doubt the cost savings you get with your Volt. Kudos! But the discussion was why do American companies make expensive cars that get marginally better MPG (or in your case excellent MPG but still expensive). Where are the cheap high MPG cars?
We are on the same page then, GTO Lover. To me, gas is for retro cars, motorcyles, and plain old making a throaty exhaust note.
The beauty of the Volt is that it's first electric, but use the gas for the distance, if needed! It's like buying two cars in one really. Expensive? Not really when you consider this.
The Prius Plug-in starts at $32k, goes a whopping 12 miles on a charge, isn't eligible for the $7,500 tax credit, and doesn't have all the options my Volt has. But, it'll sell like hotcakes. WHY? WHY are we (again, that American Public I don't understand) CHOOSING this vehicle that is clearly less efficient, has a longer ROR, supports a foreign GNP, and looks not nearly as cool?
Americans are individualists formost and always!! We don't all want 'brown shoe' cars.
We have started to look for a replacement for our present car. Going to the car lots all we seem to see are white, black, grey, silver or red BOXES! Whatever happened to cars with pretty colors? Whatever happened to cars that don't pretty much all look alike? We don't want Hitler's 'volkswagons' or Henry Ford's color: BLACK!!
High mileage is nice and we would like it too but not at the price of being stuck in a BOX like everyone has!
I think that is what makes these high end cars that are 'different' attractive even though we can't afford one!
Since no one is making the simple brown shoe minimal car with great mileage, I am not sure I understand the idea of disliking uniformity? We are buying uniform cars, but just expensive ones with bad mileage.
All electric has more than 100 mile range, so that can't be true. But all electric cars can easily double their range with simple changes like removing electric heat and going alcohol catalytic heat. More difficult but still easy would be things like swapable batteries, generator trailers, extreme size reduction, etc.
Most people just can't afford $35k. I need the old car for weekends. I just want a week day commuter that is for 1 or 2 people, but has to cost less than $15k. I don't care if it has 3 wheels or 4. That is what a lot of people want. No one sells it. It could easily be made.
Chri. In your book how do you address the replacement tax that will be needed as petrol use declines. In the distant past the DOT controlled the highway use tax but now it is in the general fund and someone must "pay". Will we (property owners) all pay higher realestate tax to compensate for the drop in petrol tax revenue? Currently the USA exports more refined petroleum prodects than we import foreign crude (or the Fed numbers are wrong) so we can get by without importing crude for fuel. We are importing crude to make a profit and keep our people working.
I think we're missing the point here. These are dream cars, not grocery-getters. With the exception of the Corvette, these cars are unattainable for consumers. Corvettes are not cheap, but plenty of consumers can afford to buy one. However, like most of us, I can't justify owning a $55k two-seater. I also can't justify owning a commuter-friendly micro-box, either.
As for EVs and hybrids, the manufacturers don't turn a profit from them yet. In some cases they lose money on every unit they sell. Yes, if 80% of buyers bought this type of vehicle, the cost would come down, but not enough to make them profitable. It would be bail-out time all over again. Automakers will build whatever sells and generates profit. The reason they build the loss leaders (EVs and hybrids) they do now is because of government interference. It's either accept government incentives to build unprofitable cars or lose money paying non-compliance fines.
It is true that small and economicial cars won't be cost effective until they reach economy of scale, but that is very easy. You just have to drop the price lower, by making them smaller, lighter, not have tons of electric options, have swapable batteries, etc.
The people want that car and will buy millions of them. If only we would sell it.
You can justify having a commuter box if it is less than $10k and saves you $100/week in gas. And soon the current cars will cost $150/week in gas.
You are kidding. My Acura Integra is a small economical car that now has 380,000 miles on and still on the first clutch. I just changed the rear brake pads for the first time a week ago.
You can buy nice small well equiped cars in Europe but not over here. Fuel consumption has hardly reduced in the last ten years. Why? because fuel is still relatively cheap and car manufacturers like the big profits in big cars and big pickups.
It is true they have greatly reduced air bag deaths by slowing the deployment explosion and moving children and infant seats to the back.
But the main thing is that has reduced air bag deaths is that vehicles now have switches for disabling them and dealers are allowed to disable them.
The real statistics for the deaths caused by airbags are unknown because the accident itself is almost always going to be blamed as the cause. And death caused by your hands being knocked off the steering wheel by the air bag deployment, at not counted at all.
Basically air bags are a horrendous mistake, in that well designed and used restrains make them totally unnecessary.
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Robots are moving out of their traditional industrial manufacturing environment. You’ll now find robots doing assembly side-by-side with humans, working in a wide range of warehouse duties, and moving up and down the halls of healthcare facilities. Best of all, the cost of robots is coming down.
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Engineers are looking more to metal matrix and ceramic matrix composites to solve design & materials problems in thermal management and lighten up industrial turbines and jet engines, as well as traditional aerospace & defense uses.
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