“People still want Spirit in a car” - Bill France, NASCAR Founder
There are several automakers that are meeting customer desires for more SPIRIT.
Today we focus on auto products being planned and produced, many of which defy federal mandates on types of cars manufacturers must build.
An example of mandates: the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 15 percent of vehicles sold in 2025 must be hybrids or electric models. That is five times more sales than being sold today.
Remember, by 2025, carmakers will be required to build cars that average 54.5 mpg in their product offerings. That translates into smaller, more dangerous cars to drive.
Hold on, there is good news on the way! It is heartening to witness current new models, which customers will want to buy.
Take a look at this headline in Automobile Magazine: 200 MPH for Everyone
It is reported that’s the top speed of Ford’s fastest-ever factory Mustang, the 2013 Shelby GT500. At about $55,000, it’s also the least expensive car on the market to achieve that milestone. The GT500 has a supercharged 5.8-liter V-8 engine that produces 650 horsepower … the GT500 will go on sale in May.
Contrast the new Pony, developed in Ford’s engineering labs, with the Fisker Karma, receptive of $500 million in grants from our federal government and has a sticker price of $103,000.
That is not the entire Fisker Karma story. Consumer Reports tried to test drive the Karma, but was unable to do so: “We buy about 80 cars a year, and this is the first time in memory that we have had a car that is undriveable before it has finished our check-in process.”
There are many more exciting cars coming out that people will want to buy. Here are a few:
o The McLaren MP4-12C zooms from 0 to 60mpg in just 3.2 seconds. It has a top speed of 205 MPH - and gets 18mpg in the city; 26 on the highway. Automotive News says, “A stunning entrant to the field, this is the first super car since the original Acura NSX that feels docile and comported in around-town crawl, yet turns into a lithe, silvery beast when pressed.”
o F12 Berlinetta, the fastest Ferrari ever. It gets you to 60 mph in 3 seconds with its 740 hp, 6.3-liter V-12 engine. The price in Italy is $349,000. It will be available in the U.S. towards the end of the year.
o Maserati/Chryster SUV - It’s possible, says Bloomberg. It plans to build this high-level SUV at a plant in Detroit.
o C7 Corvette - It is being tested secretly, but the introduction could be in 2014. Rumors say the C7 will be longer, sleeker with a V-8 engine, possibly offering a V-6.
o 2013 Bentley Continental GT V-8. It will come with a 500 hp 4.0-liter turbocharged engine; will have a curb weight of 5,060 pounds and 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds. The estimated base price: $175,000. Coupe and convertible models will arrive this fall.
o 2012 Aston Martin DBS Volante Carbon Edition. This is what you get for $302,576: a 5.9-liter, 510 hp V-12 engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission; 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds. Autoweek comments on a unique driving experience with the DBS Carbon Edition: “It begins when you press the crystal key into its dashboard slot. Watch and listen as the key quickly glows red, then blue, and the V-12 immediately catches with an authoritative bellow and then settles into a robust burble evocative of an offshore power boat racer.”
o 2013 Porsche 981 Boxster has a completely redesigned exterior and interior. It comes with a new 2.7-liter flat-6, which reaches 265 hp. The company says the Boxster will go from 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Base price is $49,500.
o Bertone Nuccio is meant to turn heads, reports Road and Track. “The two-seater’s visual dynamics mostly come from its roof with strongly pronounced side edges, retaining B-pillars that appear like brackets. As the windshield starts just behind the bumper, there is actually no front hood.” Power for the Nuccio comes from a 483 hp 4.3-liter V-8 engine, which can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4 seconds and reach 196 mph.
Let’s give credit to all the automakers that are determined to give customers cars they will be proud to own and drive!
Dr. George G. Spaulding is a retired General Motors executive and distinguished executive-in-residence emeritus at the School of Business at the College of Charleston. He can be reached at 2 Wharfside St. 2A Charleston SC 29401.