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capriceman

Detroit Muscles Up

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11677325/site/newsweek/

Detroit Muscles Up

Hold the obit! Motown finds some new life by reviving its monster hits of the motorway.

By Keith Naughton

Newsweek

March 13, 2006 issue - GM chief designer Ed Welburn sweeps into his Chevrolet design studio and it's as if he were stepping back in time. On one side of the cavernous white room, designers huddle over a silver retro remake of the Chevy Camaro. A few steps away, stylists scurry around a future Chevy family car that ripples with sinewy muscles from a bygone era. Papering the walls of the studio are photos of classic iron from Detroit's halcyon postwar years—the chiseled '65 Chevy Impala, the jet-age '65 Ford Galaxie, the long-nosed '65 Plymouth Fury. Welburn slowly walks around the work-in-progress family car, inspecting the latest nips and tucks. Suddenly, he notices an 18-inch clay model on a table nearby that offers an alternative take on the car with a gull-winged rear end. "Oh, my God," the normally soft-spoken designer shouts. "That rear is unbelievable! It links all the way back to the late '50s."

Detroit, desperate for a few hits, is driving in a new direction: back to its glory days, when its swaggering sedans and pumped-up muscle cars were the monsters of the motorway. Motown's hottest sellers—the hip-hop Chrysler 300C, the in-your-face Ford Fusion, the vintage Chevy HHR—all share an open-throttle American esthetic. Sales of a half-dozen new American-roots models are up 21 percent so far this year over the final two months of last year, and they're selling without the typical big Detroit discount. The stars of this year's auto-show circuit are remakes of classic American muscle: the Camaro and Dodge Challenger, which, just like back in the day, are gunning for the hot new (or is it old?) Mustang. "There's enormous good will for the glory days of American cars, when they really were American and didn't try to be Japanese or German," says GM car czar Bob Lutz. "We all recently discovered that was a gold mine we had left fallow for a couple decades."

Detroit could sure use some gold. Years of chasing the Japanese have left Motown facing its own mortality. GM could be surpassed by Toyota this year as the world's No. 1 automaker. Ford, which once posted BEAT CAMRY signs in its design studios, has shrunk from 25.5 percent of the American car market in 1998 to just 18.2 percent today. For two decades, the Big Three spent billions copying Toyota's factories in hopes of matching its topnotch quality. Yet for all the gains Detroit has made, it still can't catch up. Last week, Consumer Reports named all Japanese cars as its top picks for 2006. But Detroit's back catalog of hot cars is emerging as the one clear advantage it has over its foreign rivals. And it's not just sports cars. The Dodge Charger steroidal family sedan could sell more than 120,000 copies this year. "The Japanese can't manufacture this kind of heritage," says Peter DeLorenzo, editor of autoextremist.com. "But if you have it and can bring it forward, it can be a game changer."

Edited by capriceman

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They should stop trying to copy german and jap cars and make there own cars.

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:) Ah I need to see the Impala!

Well.. I can't wait for the Impala design competition to see who comes closest either..

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I could not wish for anything better than this. AMERICAN CARS for AMERICANS. What a concept. DUH, Big 3! Where have you been for the last 20 years? :huh:

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It took GM 20 years to realize that americans DO NOT WANT japan-ized american cars... They want EXCELLENT, technological, efficient AMERICANIZED american cars!!!

You go GM!!!

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Personally I always hated the stacked headlight designs. Having said this, it *is* all about the designs. Cadillac is proof of this if there's doubt in anyone's minds.

Go GM!

[sarcasm]Quick! Where are all of the crabby old farts telling us GM needs more mid-sized, FWD sedans to survive?!?1?1!?1?1//1?1???[/sarcasm]

But really, this is a good article. When given the choice between driving a sheep in wolves clothing and a sheep in sheeps clothing, most people will choose the wolves clothing, with an optional wolf in wolf's clothing for good measure. Make the car cool enough and you can get the public to forgive the car and the company for all kinds of sins.

EDIT: For those of you not fortunate to know what the cars being refered to in the article look like, here they are.

1965 Impala. I want the Impala convertible back! :hissyfit:

Posted Image

1965 Galaxie. I want the Galaxie convertible back! :hissyfit:

Posted Image

1965 Fury. I want the Fury convertible back! :hissyfit:

Posted Image

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Japan has never gotten a good grasp of heritage when it comes to products. They are always forward thinking to the next step. They never look back and in some cases for good reason.

Case in point Harly Davidson. Japan has always tried to find the formula of a Harley and built may V twins but no matter what they build they are still not Harley Davidson. You can make it look like one, sound like one and even run better than one but it is still not the original.

Honda Also has learn the same on the NSX. It might be a great car but it's still a Honda and not a Ferarri.

GM if done properly can capitalize on it heritage of past models in modern designs. So many of Japans cars have no styling that relates to much and they have little to draw from the past but a few limited production models like the Toyota GT from the 60's.

The PT Cruiser while not a great car it has already proven people want cars that are cool. They want cars that make them stand out in a crowd not something a Camary will not do for you.

A good design should make you feel it inside when you look at it. The Ferarri's cars of the 60's and 50's could stir most souls when they see it. Not because they are Ferarris but their styling. The Italian rebodied Vettes of the 60's prove this.

If a cars styling does not make you say WOW! when you see it like the Caddy Sixteen or Camaro concept It needs work. It needs to be interesting and attract the veiwer.

I have said berfore it cost no more to style a good looking car as a plain or ugly car. Give a car presents at a affordable price and they will buy.

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if GM is to survive and be large scale, they do need to still make mainstream products, not just retro AMURCHAN mobiles.

so Gm and ford do still need to take stabs at the UJS's......that's where the market is

Edited by regfootball

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Hmm....interesting how a flare of authentic heritage (i.e. current Ford Mutang and concept Camaro) can inject excitement/enthusiasm into a car company, eh? Too bad the big 3 took so long to realize this ... but, hope springs eternal :).

Cort, "Mr MC" / "Mr Road Trip", 32swm/pig valve/pacemaker

MC:family.IL.guide.future = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort/

What's it like to buy your favorite car brand new? Wish I knew...

"You've made a fool of everyone" ... Jet ... 'Look What You've Done'

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Posted Image

Are you sure though that they cant bring some great styling from this model gleaming with history :P

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Big V8s? YES!

RWD everything? YES!

bold styling? YES!

Muscular proportions? YES!

affordable performance? YES!

Toque over HP? YES!

Luxurious, roomy sedans? YES!

Taught, muscle car coupes? YES!

YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

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Holy Sh*! They are just figureing this out. This is what happens when you have soup and diaper engineers trying to build cars . You need car guys to build cars. I'm am very happy to read this and see the front of that new CTS. There is promise. GM dont let any focus groups get near those cars either !!

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if GM is to survive and be large scale, they do need to still make mainstream products, not just retro AMURCHAN mobiles.

so Gm and ford do still need to take stabs at the UJS's......that's where the market is

Hmmmm.........Why can't good 'ol american style be the mainstream?? :huh: I think that's a direction that has been lost for waaaaay too long now.

Case in point is the Chrysler 300.........while not mainstream as far as Camry standards are concerned, the car sells like gangbusters! Believe you me, had GM done something like this before Chrysler, we may not even be having this discussion now.

True, FWD has its place among smaller cars, but must everything have been FWD for the past 20 odd years including full size cars?? Ford seems to have gotten the message with the Fusion (though FWD) which is mainstream, but still has an american style to it.

BTW, to illustrate how great the American auto industry once was...............for 1965, the Big 3 had ALL NEW bodystyles for their full size lineup-----meaning the full size line was totally redesigned from the 1964 line.

When's the last time we've seen that?? Now they want to hang on to the same ugly body style for 6-7 models years! :banghead:

The current Monte Carlo comes to mind.

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I sincerely hope we do not have a bunch of retro mobiles with $10,000 on the hoods in a decade's time.

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That's the thing. It won't happen. This is a surefire "eureka!" to the domestic companies.

Don't join them, beat them! :yes:

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I like the new Camaro since its a art/science design with hints of past years.

Unlike the Challenger thats straight from past years.

So if GM continues with the Hints and not full out retro it will be a sure hit.

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:huh: if that made any sense at all. Edited by capriceman

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Guest buickman

Big V8s? YES!

RWD everything? YES!

bold styling? YES!

Muscular proportions? YES!

affordable performance? YES!

Toque over HP? YES!

Luxurious, roomy sedans? YES!

Taught, muscle car coupes? YES!

This hits it right on the money (except some FWD is nice for snow country). Heritage is one thing, and retro done right can work. However. it's the above that American's are prime for purchasing.

Buickman

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I sincerely hope we do not have a bunch of retro mobiles with $10,000 on the hoods in a decade's time.

Well being retro is one thing, but being American is another. The Charger is not retro, and neither is the CTS, but they are definately American.

The G6 would be on the opposite end, they tried too hard to look Japanese. Someone who likes Japanese designs, will just go out and buy a Japanese car, they wont buy an American car that looks Japanese.

A return to American design, without going retro is the way to go.

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Ah. Automobiles that reflect directly to their home countries.

Rather obvious, but it's all in how it's pulled off. The devil is in the details, you know.

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Well damn, GM finally learned what Chrysler has already learned. Why do you think the 300, Charger, and to a lesser extent, Magnum sell like hotcakes? Not everyone likes their styling but no one will argue that they are distinctive, bold, American machines. The Camry and Accord wish they had 1/2 the balls these cars do. They create an emotional reaction. Not just "meh it's ok" but "Damn that's a sweet looking car" or even "Man that's ugly". The designs create a strong opinion about the cars and THAT (along with RWD, Hemi power, and great performance) is why they sell. Congrats GM on finally relearning the formula.

Edited by Dodgefan

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