Last post on Sep 27, 2008 at 6:59 AM
You are in the Nissan GT-R
What is this discussion about?
Nissan GT-R, Coupe
#23 of 32 Re: It is what it is [habitat1]
Sep 21, 2008 (8:11 am)
Sorry if my previous post was interpreted differently than I intended. Frankly, I'd much rather sit next to an honest landscaper that makes $25,000 a year beautifying our neighborhoods than an ambulance chasing trial lawyer that makes $25 million a year on extorsionist settlements that we all pay for in higher health care costs. So there.
The Maxima sales decreased mainly because the Altima was upgraded nicely and had plenty of power with a 6 cyl,.... Even Toyota's Avalon has been on a decline in sales.
What are Doctors, Lawyers, and VP's driving? ..... Only the best Nissan product available
Mostly driving Murano LE, Loaded up Maximas, and Loaded up Hybrids...
WSJ.... I can assure you of this. Nissan isn't selling vehicles any cheaper than $13k... Maybe $13,500.00
#24 of 32 Re: It is what it is [habitat1]
Sep 22, 2008 (7:08 am)
Nissan sales of under $10-$13k vehicles has increased substantially. This "SHIFT" was much more pronounced in Nissan than Honda or Toyota.
Its the credit/fuel crisis has everyone buying smaller, more economical cars. ALL the brands that have their wits about them are bringing more small car models to the US.
Did the Wall Street Journal really criticise Nissan for offereing models that sell? Thats a funny way of putting negative spin on financial success. Sounds like Nissan made the right decision.
There would not have been any honor to not have offered small cars when small cars are sopping up most sales right now. They just would be stuck with more expensive cars sitting on dealer lots.
Ever since Nissan pissed away the Maxima as a near BMW competitor from the mid-1990's
It is most bizzarre that you keep repeating that you'd like the Maxima to continue competing with the 3-series, when clearly its is the Nissan Camry. They didn't piss it away in the sense you are imagining.
The Maxima continued to compete with Camry/Accord because it is a large FF car. If the Maxima isn't selling, its because its not as popular as Camry or Accord. Even if they put a manual in the Maxima, sales figures of manuals would not be large in that market.
They selected the G to compete with the 3 because it is a FMR platform, just like the 3. They couldn't call it the Maxima, because in Japan its more related to the Skyline.
Again, sounds like this divergence made a great deal of sense. Both of NiMoCo's two major brands are growing in sales.
Still curious how this relates to the uber-Datsun. The GT-R is not a luxury vehicle. It belongs in the shop next to the Z.
#25 of 32 Re: It is what it is [bigmclargehuge]
Sep 24, 2008 (8:30 am)
I wouldn't characterize the WSJ article as "critical" in tone. It was just stating the facts as to where Nissan has gone over the past decade or two. The WSJ author did, however, question whether or not Nisssan could compete with the Korean and, eventually, Chinese manufacturers at the lower price points, given Japan's intrinsicly higher labor costs.
As far as Nissan "pissing" away the Maxima image and more importantly, customer base, I think we'll just need to agree to disagree. I don't have the exact figures at my fingertips, but in 1995-1997, Maxima sales were well above the combined sales of both the Maxima and G35 sedan sales today. So not only did the Maxima devolve from being a top contender in the ELLPS category, the G35 did not come close to making up for the lost Maxima sales.
Back to the GT-R. We can probably agree that it belongs next to the Z in the shop. What I still question is the propensity of someone paying $90k+ for it. 1,500 sales in the US annually - sure. But I doubt it could go far beyond that without running into resistence. According to someone I know who has driven one extensively, the performance advantages of the GTR at the extreme do not appear to make up for its other day to day shortcomings. This particular person ended up buying a 2008 M3 6-speed. Absolutely hated the GT-R paddle shifting DSG around town. And even though the M3 is no featherweight, it is lighter and more "nimble". But probably most of all, for $70k, the M3 looks and feels like a $70k car in fit and finish. The GTR, according to him, does not.
#26 of 32 Re: It is what it is [habitat1]
Sep 24, 2008 (12:55 pm)
The WSJ author did, however, question whether or not Nisssan could compete with the Korean and, eventually, Chinese manufacturers at the lower price points, given Japan's intrinsicly higher labor costs.
While true, many other Japanese and European makers don't always manufacture their small cars in their home country for that very reason. Maybe you should look at the small car offerings in other countries. Just because every maker from Ford to Renault don't send their small cars to the US, doesn't mean they don't have little, cheap buggers competing with Daewoo.
the G35 did not come close to making up for the lost Maxima sales.
Perhaps not, but the G35 + Altima certainly did. I think you're a bit too hung up on naming schemes.
As all cars in almost every brand started putting on the extra pounds in the early-mid '00s, the Maxima became a full-size (formerly mid-size), the Altima became the mid-size (formerly compact).
The Altima has the 6-speed mated to the VQ. The customer base stayed with Nissan's mid-size car. The name changed.
The name 'Maxima' was formerly on Nissan's largest sedan, and they decided to keep it that way. Though apparently I was mistaken in calling it the 'Nissan Camry'. The 'Nissan Avalon' would have been more appropriate.
Unfortunately while large cars were all the rave 5 years ago, the demographic shifted to smaller vehicles.
That seems to be no-mans land now though. If someone isn't satisfied with the luxury and performance of the Altima, they'll give the Maxima amiss and go straight to the G.
Now I'm not a fan of the naming conventions either. I'd rather the name 'Skyline' made its way to the states for the G-series. And you would seem to rather that the name 'Maxima' stayed on the mid-size car we now know as 'Altima'. Or heck, maybe it would have made sense to call the 'G' the 'Maxima'.
But I shrug and get over it, because there's really not much in a name. The end result is that Nissan has a FF manual V6, and a much more stately and fast FMR competitor for the 3-series. They just happen to be 2 different cars.
But even still, no matter what they call it, could the FFmid-size really be a competitor for the 3-series? No. Its not bad for its class, but thats still a far cry from either the 3 or the G.
So I repeat, there was no chance for the vehicle formerly known as 'Maxima' to continue competing with the 3-series. They needed a new platform.
Names regardless, what exactly are they lacking?
#27 of 32 Re: It is what it is [habitat1]
Sep 24, 2008 (12:57 pm)
Back to the GT-R. What I still question is the propensity of someone paying $90k+ for it.
I'm pretty sure supply/demand still applies in this instance. The only reason it was going for $90K+ is because of a markup. A markup can only be paid if you have more demand than supply. If nobody buys it at the markup, it goes back to MSRP.
By definition, if they are going for 15K over MSRP, they could sell more than 1500 in the US.
But probably most of all, for $70k, the M3 looks and feels like a $70k car in fit and finish. The GTR, according to him, does not.
Uhuh. I'm sure every Lamborghini owner can justify the 'fit and finish' of a 220K car. Oh yes, definitely 3x as well appointed as the M3. Because thats what its for, after all.
I'm sorry, but what did he expect? This is exclusive to the GT-R how?
While I'd typically say, "to each their own," your friend must have had ludicrous expectations.
Its fine to think the M3 is the car for you, but "the performance advantages of the GTR at the extreme do not appear to make up for its other day to day shortcomings?"
Right, because all track cars are well appointed. Good one. You really had me going there.
#28 of 32 Re: It is what it is [bigmclargehuge]
Sep 24, 2008 (5:36 pm)
The "day to day shortcomings" he was referring to relate to how the car drives at subsonic speeds on public roads. For the record, he has pelnty of experience with "track" cars, having previously owned both a Ferrari 360 and 911 GT3. His gripe about the GTR was that, driven at soemthing less than 9+/10ths, its bulky weight, heavy steering feedback and jerky transmission make it a far less desireable daily driving experience than the other two.
And as far as fit and finish goes, don't confuse that with do-dads or being "well appointed". From my own experience, the 350Z plenty of the latter, but was nowhere near the build quality and finish level of a "poorly appointed" but perfectly constructed and crafted S2000.
If you are suggesting that the 1,500 GT-Rs coming to the US will end up in the hands of dedicated track junkies, then maybe they will be getting their money's worth. But that is a very small market and one more reason why I think the GT-R, at least in its present form, has lifespan challenges.
#29 of 32 Re: It is what it is [habitat1]
Sep 25, 2008 (1:57 pm)
There's no argument that the M3 is a practical daily driver... and almost kinda-sorta fast. Its a well rounded car, and many people like well-rounded. Some want a lopsided performer though:
6,000 Z06s leave Bowling Green Kentucky every year. Is that a well-appointed $70K car? And is the ride anything to write home about?
You seem to dodge the Z06 sales every time. Like that's a completely separate case, and shouldn't be counted in this argument. Please explain.
Many people are more than satisfied with them, because they like owning a fast car, not a well-rounded BMW.
And not every buyer tracks them. But when you buy a really fast car, you make sacrifices. It doesn't have to be a track-duty car for people to buy a 'track car'.
No, I wasn't referring to 'do-dads'. In fact, I don't think I even alluded to it in my post. I don't consider carpets and air conditioning 'do-dads.'
Speaking of which, some people would say the ride of the GT3 isn't good off of a track... but thats just their opinion. As is your friend's. As is yours.
In fact, I think its safe to say you're in the minority. Being in the minority of what car buyers like, perhaps a better way to imagine how cars will sell is to take what you think of cars, and then apply the opposite. Case-in-point, the S2000:
You actually completely contradicted yourself with your 'lifecycle challenges" comparison. You said the S2000 is the better crafted car than the 350Z. OK then.
And yet the S2000 has a far worse lifecycle challenge facing it right now. As in, nobody wants this perfectly engineered and crafted masterpiece. Its sales are down by 50%, its being discontinued, and its return will be questionable.
Kinda hard to justify 'perfect' if five times as many people preferred the Z to the S. So using 'better crafted' as an argument against the GT-R because its a Nissan is moot.
#30 of 32 Re: It is what it is [bigmclargehuge]
Sep 26, 2008 (2:38 pm)
Maybe we are both good at making each other's points.
I readily admit I was in the minority when I picked an S2000 over the hordes of other roadsters available in 2002. Next to the Lotus Elise, it was the most "track car-ish" car out there. No automatic transmission option for the clutch challenged wannabe enthusaists, no heated power memory seats or 9 speaker kilowatt audio system for the do-dad crowd. Just a 9,000 rpm engine and go cart like handling that would outperform anything under $60,000 on a track and yet was a hoot to drive at legal speeds on public roads.
So why do you think the GT-R will fare better at 2.5 times the price? The difference in handling between the S2000 and obese 350Z could have been discerned by the average grandmother on her way to church. The difference between the GT-R and some of its competition can only be ascertained by the top 1% of drivers at a track. If the GT-R had exceptional fit and finish, weighed 750 lbs less and was more fun to drive at legal speeds (all according to my friend), it might have made him think twice.
I haven't intentionally ignored the Corvette comparisons. The Corvette is an American icon and, as best I can tell, a lot of Corvette buyers don't know how to spell Ferrari or Carrera and don't care to learn. They wouldn't even consider a Viper. But I don't see that as relevant for the GT-R.
Time will tell.
#31 of 32 Re: It is what it is [habitat1]
Sep 26, 2008 (10:56 pm)
F-E-R-R-A-R-O... darnit, I was so close.
The Corvette is an American icon and, as best I can tell, a lot of Corvette buyers don't know how to spell Ferrari or Carrera and don't care to learn
If it were just plain 'iconic' people would not opt for the Z06, They opt for the 1.5x more expensive Corvette for 1 reason and 1 reason only, it beats the living hell out of cars that cost 3x as much.
And it seems there is no shortage of working class who according to you can't spell Ferrari yet can afford $70K cars. Actually in complete contrast to your point, they tend to know their competition very well:
If they're not interested in a Carrera, its because it doesn't deliver on what they are looking for. The 'fit and finish' is adequate to be a comfortable living space while going like a bat out of hell. Beyond that, what's really important about a performance car?
Just a 9,000 rpm engine and go cart like handling that would outperform anything under $60,000 on a track and yet was a hoot to drive at legal speeds on public roads.
Ever seen the Mini Clubman vs. go-cart race? Mini wins. GASP! But the Mini is heavier! Obese by comparison! Oh sure, being in a light, visceral go-cart is fun. Not arguing that. But its fun because all that connectivity to the road makes you feel like you're going faster than you actually are. In agreement with the fact that every day at the legal limit is a challenge and an adventure. But because of its simplicity, the go-cart can't outrun the heavier, yet more powerful, Mini.
The opposite of the go-cart, the powerful and heavily dampened car, that softens out all those bumps is going to feel slower than it actually is. Boring? Well at anything less than 100% of what you've got, probably so. But an overwhelming majority of performance car buyers seem to like their car to have 2 heads: lamb on the street and lion at the track. Seems Nissan has them covered.
Similarly, I have no problem finding tests where the 350Z proved faster around a track than the S2000. And since the topic of today is how ignorant Corvette buyers apparently are, it doesn't change the fact that the base C5, retailing for a hair over $40K in 2002, would have made short work of the S2000 as well.
The Z is a sportscar icon in the US. It sells like wildfire.
So why do you think the GT-R will fare better at 2.5 times the price?
Is that rhetorical? They sell a 911 for $80K, and another 911 for $180K. The difference that makes that $100K worthwhile to the buyer? Performance.
They'll sell every one built of a supercharged Corvette that looks exactly like the base one, but costs 2.5 times as much and beats every single car in the world. Simple.
What do you mean 'fare better'? The GT-R has to sell 5% as many at 2x the price as the 350Z. Plus we already know the following:
- working-class folk can afford 70K cars
- American car buyers will pay 70K for a car that is fast, even though they could get an icon from the same company for 40K.
- 'pure' sports cars are for a shrinking minority. Most buyers clearly think torque is more useful 300 days a year than high revs.
Seems like the GT-R fits right in. Primarily in Nissan's #1 market, the US, where they dominate the sports car market with the 350Z.
The difference between the GT-R and some of its competition can only be ascertained by the top 1% of drivers at a track.
All my sources say the opposite. The GT-R is said to behave unlike anything else at the track.
An old lady could tell the difference... on her way to McDonalds.... with Tiger Woods....
Is there a point to that, really? 5 out of her 6 grandsons would take the Z over the S2000.
I am in no way arguing that you shouldn't enjoy your car. Its certainly a car that makes enjoyment easy. I tend to shop for cars that are lesser known for what I feel are their blatantly superior qualities as well. The last thing I want is what everyone else has.
But I don't like the GT-R for what it is, I like it for what it represents. New technologies that if used correctly (i.e. on something lighter) will bring about automotive insanity. Aren't you even curious what could be done with the right combination of factors? Its not like lightness fails and AWD wins or vice-versa. They have not been combined properly yet. Much room for improvement remains.
I don't think Nissan will necessarily be the one to accomplish this. I'm expecting it will be the NSX (if and when). But whatever it is, I know this type of car has a following. And they are not ignorant, or poor, or fickle. I think you'd be surprised at how similar the people are transcending the numerous groups. The opinions are different, but the passion is the same.
#32 of 32 Re: It is what it is [bigmclargehuge]
Sep 27, 2008 (6:59 am)
HOWEVER, I think my idealism puts me in the minority as well. To say the GT-R could be improved upon has gotten me in trouble already. There's no question that the GT-R is a hyped-up car. Sure it delivers, but that just means its going to be the benchmark from now until doomsday. It is a 'fanboy' car. And by the time the R35 has made its run, it'll be a fairly common sight.
I think every Zed / WRX / EVO guy who gets a few merit raises will be eying the GT-R. And they number in the hundreds of thousands. It'll sell because to the average buyer its the uber-Datsun, and they think Datsuns rule. If the Zed is good enough for most, the GT-R will be good enough for some.