Why not? Saturn Sky / Pontiac Solstice

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Posted · Report post

Killed by the economic crash of '08, these two most promising designs GM ever did are gone.

This Wiki article tells the tale of sales success and great concept cars no longer here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PontiacSolstice.jpg

What's worse, GM seems to have learned no lessons for their style/designs for the future.

The ultra rare Coupe (less than 1200) is to my eye, what the 'Vette should have become. The bloated corpse Camaro, Vette and Mustang should have taken design cues from these cool and tasteful examples.

If I could build another car, it would be that Coupe with a 700HP LS-7.

Flame away.... :angry:

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I got a pontiac Solstice, by Burago or Maisto, don't quite remember. It's a very nicely done model, and about the closest you'll come of finding a model of one. My wife's co-worker has one, and it is a VERY nice driveing little car. To bad GM killed Pontiac AND Saturn!!!

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Posted · Report post

Not a fan of the Solstice design. It looks like they over-inflated it.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

The Solstice Coupe is a great looking little car. Turbo 4 with dual exhaust is a neat touch.

There is no place to store the removable top on the coupe version - which is totally weird and a mistake - and visibility is limited (I have read and heard from a family member at a body shop), but still, cool.

I would get a kit mainly because I love two seater cars, and I like the Pontiac legend (not so much all the cars).

Edited by Erik Smith

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Posted · Report post

The overall designs of both cars were great, but suffered from typical GM cheapness when it came to fit and finish. The quality of the interiors was terrible for the price of the cars. I told the Saturn salesman that GM never learns from past mistakes (aka Fiero) and that the Sky and Solstice would suffer the same fate. They were going up against the Miata and the S2000 which both were better built sports cars. It was a shame, the Sky was a great looking car but within a year of the two cars coming out they were showing up on used car lots. GM needs to come up with something else to fit the void.

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Posted · Report post

The economic collapse aside, most consumers (unfortunately for those among us who actually LIKE to drive, especially with the top down, and are good at it ) have little interest in 2-passenger "sports cars". Look at the top sellers for Jan. 2013. Basically Camry-esque 4-doors, pickups and metro-boxes. These are not 'driver's' cars. They're the automotive equivalent of the refrigerator or dryer...appliances to get around in.

http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2013/02/top-10-best-selling-cars-january-2013.html

Many interesting American cars have fallen by the wayside for the same reason.The Chrysler Crossfire was a striking and unusual design, great fun fun to drive, to look at and had all Mercedes guts. Gone. The V6 Fiero was quick, agile, looked good and was terrific fun. Gone. The last iteration of the Corvair was a fine handling machine, very much a cheaper, better Porsche in many ways. Gone. And though I've never even driven a Solstice and don't much like the styling, it's gone because it didn't sell enough to impress the bean-counters.

Maybe if a US automaker could come up with something that filled the niche-market of the ORIGINAL Miata....yeah, right. Simple, well done and reliable. That'll never sell.

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Posted · Report post

Bill, 2-seater sports cars will never be more than a small niche market in the US no matter how well designed and engineered. The majority of Americans like their cars big, comfy, and cushy... with an automatic and as many cupholders you can possibly squeeze in. The segment of the US consumer base that buys cars like the Fiero or Reatta or Solstice, etc. is tiny. There's no money to be made in bringing cars like that to the US market. At best they maybe create a little buzz for the manufacturer and maybe draw a few more eyeballs into the showroom... but they'll never sell in big numbers here. The average American consumer just isn't interested.

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Posted · Report post

Not a fan of the Solstice design. It looks like they over-inflated it.

OK-put up yer dukes... :huh:

How can you say 'over-inflated' when it's visually 3/5ths scale of the new Vette you like so much??

The worst thing to my eye about these two designs is the Fischer-Price windshield frame. Needs to be slimmer and straighter across the top.

Another one in this design motif is the mid-engine Boxster-but I'd like less front overhang on that.

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Posted · Report post

OK-put up yer dukes... :huh:

How can you say 'over-inflated' when it's visually 3/5ths scale of the new Vette you like so much??

The worst thing to my eye about these two designs is the Fischer-Price windshield frame. Needs to be slimmer and straighter across the top.

Another one in this design motif is the mid-engine Boxster-but I'd like less front overhang on that.

I don't mean the overall size. I mean it looks all puffy and bloated... like it was a ballon car that would look correct when filled with the right amount of air... but they put in too much. Reminds me of the Pillsbury dough boy! :lol:

I know... design and styling is a very personal thing, no "right" or "wrong"... but for me, I like a design that looks a little "leaner" or "taut." Just my opinion... :D

I'm not a fan of the new gimmick of throwing as many sharp creases and "character lines" into the design as you possibly can, but at least give me a little sharpness or edge somewhere!

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Posted · Report post

Bill, 2-seater sports cars will never be more than a small niche market in the US no matter how well designed and engineered. The average American consumer just isn't interested.

The average American has to haul the kids and such and requires the seats to do so. I'd love to have a Mustang, but I need an Equnox.

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The average American has to haul the kids and such and requires the seats to do so. I'd love to have a Mustang, but I need an Equnox.

And also need room for groceries too

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I have to agree with Harry 100% about the 'inflated' styling, and i always wondered IF the car had been a little more 'taut', if it might have done better. I think it tried too hard to appeal to people who had no interest in sports cars.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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The average American has to haul the kids and such and requires the seats to do so. I'd love to have a Mustang, but I need an Equnox.

The average American family has multiple vehicles, and at least ONE of them is typically used for a one-person commute. There's plenty of rationalization for having a fun, small, efficient car.

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The average American family has multiple vehicles, and at least ONE of them is typically used for a one-person commute. There's plenty of rationalization for having a fun, small, efficient car.

If the automakers thought they could make money doing it, they'd be doing it.

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As soon as I'm not regularly driving with two kids in my car I will have either a Soltice/Sky or a Chrysler Crossfire.

Great cars killed by a poor economy and poor marketing. Proof of that is is the success of the Toyota/Subaru. Same basic concept without the benefit of a removable top but having good marketing behind it.

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Proof of that is is the success of the Toyota/Subaru. Same basic concept without the benefit of a removable top but having good marketing behind it.

While I agree about the Toyota/Subaru, and would love to get one myself, the Toyota 86 was not design or marketed for the US market , so how well it sells here I dont think is going to make a difference overall

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I don't mean the overall size. I mean it looks all puffy and bloated... like it was a ballon car that would look correct when filled with the right amount of air... but they put in too much. Reminds me of the Pillsbury dough boy! :lol:

I'm not a fan of the new gimmick of throwing as many sharp creases and "character lines" into the design as you possibly can, but at least give me a little sharpness or edge somewhere!

OK you redeemed yourself. :D

My design language is close-coupled, short overhangs, wheels at corners and functionally smooth-meaning forms that HAVE to be there for function (like wheel humps).

Cobra (obviously) and Cheetah are my timeless benchmarks.

Call me stuck in the '60's if you want but these (Sky / Solstice) are the only modern equivalents.

S2000, Miata and Boxter are 3 box designs for two-but not terrible.

And yes, this is very subjective and personal but you can all contribute under that banner.

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The average American family has multiple vehicles, and at least ONE of them is typically used for a one-person commute. There's plenty of rationalization for having a fun, small, efficient car.

So totally true. I bought an economy car because its what I need to drive 95% of the time. There is such waste buying a vehicle for that 5% - I need to haul the boat, kids' friends, whatever excuse you need.

My next purchase will be an even smaller two seat.

My dad has a Honda S2000 - they stopped production on that too - it is a great, fun car.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

If the automakers thought they could make money doing it, they'd be doing it.

I agree in principle as far as it goes, but remember the original Miata created a market that conventional wisdom (especially American car-builders marketing 'experts') said didn't exist...simply by being a Lotus Elan that actually worked every day and would get you to work on time, dry.

Between early 1989 and early 2011, Mazda had sold 900,000 of them, with probably the majority of sales in North America. Not bad numbers (an average of 40,000 per year) for a car there was no market for.

I personally know several car enthusiasts (NOT the typical car buyer, at all) who have the money and who would definitely buy something like the original Miata, it it was available today. But they have no interest in the current version, (or the ill-fated Solstice) with its power-everything and steadily increasing weight and complexity. Perhaps part of the problem Mazda faces with the Miata is that it was so good, there are plenty of nice, old ones available for reasonable money, and the bloat-version misses the original mark by a mile.

While we're at it, I've thought for years that if Porsche built a stripped no BS entry-level version of something, a descendent of the original Speedster in essence, people would be standing in line to get one. I know I would.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Posted · Report post

I still do not under stand why GM closed Saturn. They sold small cars had no legacy cost but they were the first to go. The Man said we needed small cars in the US, the gas price was high, jobs were low and they were the only division GM had that foot the bill.

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I still do not under stand why GM closed Saturn. They sold small cars had no legacy cost but they were the first to go. The Man said we needed small cars in the US, the gas price was high, jobs were low and they were the only division GM had that foot the bill.

I think killing Saturn was just plain stupid. Stories abound that the brand was never profitable because the quality was too high. Who knows the real truth. When running-scared bean-counters call the shots based on next weeks profit projections, silly things happen. Kinda like killing off Olds...one of the oldest car names on the planet. Funny how Mercedes sells cars using their long heritage as a marketing tool, but Oldsmobile, even older I believe, was junked.

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GM had to cut somewhere. The corporation was too big, too bloated, too inefficient, too much product overlap and too many redundant models. You can argue til the cows come home whether Saturn, Pontiac and Olds were the "right" divisions to axe... but they really had to cut something. If I ran GM I would have also cut Saturn, but kept a few Pontiac models... maybe a GTO of some sort, and Firebird, for the name recognition/heritage alone, if no other reason... and sold them as "specialty" models at Chevy dealers. Cut Pontiac stores, but keep a few of the cars. And I would agree that they didn't need Olds and Buick, they basically serve the same "near luxury" buyer segment. Olds skewed slightly older than Buick, so Olds got cut.

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MVC003F-vi.jpg

Maisto did all three versions. The Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky and Opel GT. Note that the Sky and GT are probably only badging differences, while the Pontiac had a unique look. Interesting that a US built car was shipped to Germany and sold as an Opel. Very nice replicas! If car companies did promos today, this is what they'd look like!

My own impression of the cars is that the Sky is nicer looking than the Solstice. I never liked that cheese grater grill on it. I still stop and take notice whenever I see either. There are still a lot of nice low mile ones around. As said above, they weren't sold as primary vehicles, just as fun cars for those who could afford to do so. I don't see myself in one because I've sat in one and I found it a tight fit and uncomfortable to get in and out of.

My own fun little cars are my 1995 Celica GT convertible and 1991 Geo Tracker convertible.

Edited by Tom Geiger

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Posted (edited) · Report post

And I would agree that they didn't need Olds and Buick, they basically serve the same "near luxury" buyer segment. Olds skewed slightly older than Buick, so Olds got cut.

I think Olds got cut because Buick is a big nameplate in China, where it is revered. History has it that in the old days in China a Buick was thought of as a plant manager's car. So to cut the make in the US would have hurt that image and I understand they sell more Buicks in China than in the USA.

Edited by Tom Geiger

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I think Olds got cut because Buick is a big nameplate in China, where it is revered. History has it that in the old days in China a Buick was thought of as a plant manager's car. So to cut the make in the US would have hurt that image and I understand they sell more Buicks in China than in the USA.

Yes, I've heard that too. For some reason Buicks mean prestige in China.

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