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GM has more than just Camaro on deck, too. The new rear-drive/V-8 powered Pontiac G8 muscle sled is just now becoming available — and at the worst possible moment. It comes to market as fuel prices are skyrocketing and sales of vehicles that lap unleaded premium like a diabetic Great Dane are tanking.
Ford’s Mustang is also slipping badly, notwithstanding a universally well-received makeover just two years ago, and more standard horsepower (300) than any Mustang before it ever boasted. Ditto the Dodge Charger R/T. As wondrous as its 345-horse Hemi may be to play with, its obnoxious appetite for unleaded premium is simply unsustainable for Joe Sixpack. And it is upon the buying choices of Joe Sixpack that the success or failure of a car like the soon-to-here Camaro depends.
Consider this: According to auto industry analysts J.D. Power & Associates, sales of compact cars have grown from about a fifth of the market to nearly a third this year. And sales of high-mileage models like the Prius hybrid have absolutely exploded. They now account for 3.4 percent of the market, up from a mere 0.4 percent in 2004. Anything with a V-8 is trending the other way.
Bottom line: GM probably waited far too long to get back into the V-8/rear-drive game. There was a brief moment during the late '90s and until about 2004 (just before Katrina) when cars like the Mustang, Charger, and other mid-priced V-8 maulers made at least some sense. Because the middle and working class types who are these cars’ natural market were in a position to indulge themselves. That window, however, has slammed shut so suddenly and with such force that those who didn’t see it coming got their fingers caught.
In a world of $4 per gallon unleaded premium, the mass-market V-8 muscle car is an impossibility. It’s one thing to keep a vintage ‘67 Camaro in the garage for the occasional pleasure cruise. It’s quite another to expect fifty or sixty thousand Average Joes to sign up for a $400 monthly payment — and a $300 per month gas bill.
Someone at GM has confused wishes and wants with signing a sales order. It’s going to be a rude and ugly awakening come 2008.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?