Enthusiasts are in a conflicting situation. 1) There are some good new driver’s cars in the pipeline. But 2) is the value or desire even there anymore?
Blanket statement – tech has made the automotive industry super soft.
Car manufacturers have changed their formula. The focus is not on making machines anymore, but rather, making mobile software. And that’s a dangerous game in a sense for car makers… when it comes to creating real enthusiast passion for their brands.
Because there was a secret ingredient that made the automotive industry so magical throughout the 20th century…
And it was: People had a love for their cars. And that was a result of manufacturers actually TRYING! There was a physical connection that went to an emotional level. Driving was your reset. There was a sense of therapy, excitement, and freedom in it! But in he last 10-20 years (and hardcore in the last 5 years), vehicles have really been going the direction of an appliance and/or an electronic device. Problem is – electronics do not represent freedom or passion. They represent disengagement & distraction… and being attached to a cord. You’ll find little emotional connection to an appliance. People don’t desire an appliance… they just replace them when they have to.
And that presents a big danger to auto manufacturers.
Because when they lose peoples’ emotional connection to their brand… they lose peoples’ heart & loyalty. The lifestyle around the industry evaporates. And the magic is gone. Is there a lifestyle around your washer & dryer? Nah. Do you get nostalgic when you cook with your 1995 microwave?
For every manual transmission they cut… and for every driver-assist sensor they add in its place…
Car makers ultimately seal their fate of DISCONNECTING people with their cars. It might take another generation to fully come to surface. But trust me – the roots are dying right now. Most teenagers at this point have grown up with both their parents driving generic vehicles with automatic everything. The torch has not been passed. There’s a giant difference between automatic headlights… and pop-ups. And they don’t understand what they don’t understand.
BUT – the silver lining is that some car manufacturers are genuinely waking up.
They’re genuinely trying to contradict/counteract the appliance cars, and create a vibrant driver’s renaissance… or rebellion depending on how you look at it. Save the soul of driving while you still can. As enthusiasts, we need to get off our dead asses & buy these models! Work them into our lives!
But hell – we can’t!
Because if we’re being real & wise… the VALUE is just not there. And that’s a hard pill to swallow. But with all the requirements that government is now putting on car makers, and with all the technology that consumers seem to demand in new cars… it has run up the complication & cost of what used to be affordable, pure, rewarding driver’s cars.
Spread some record inflation on top of that shit-sandwich… and every new car is 10-grand more than it should be.
Then the big juicy shit-pickle on the side is: Cars don’t actually ‘come out’ anymore… they trickle in. Like a 95-year-old peeing. And dealers seize that opportunity by putting ridiculous offensive markups on the cars we actually want… IF we can even find them. And that falls way-way short of the intended plan or any route to success. It’s way above me to solve these problems… but I’m pointing them out, because these are the problems we need to solve. And we need the automotive industry to help us make it make sense!