Nearly all of the leading global automotive manufacturers are seeking to find the right mix of models in order to appeal to the broadest possible audience.
We recently weighed in on the issue with the audacious suggestion that GM should kill the Corvette and its antiquated pushrod engine in order to focus on newer technologies while fine-tuning its product line. Most of you thought, in the words of one reader, that we were "all wet" for even proposing such an idea.
Maybe, but guest blogger and Semico Research auto analyst Morry Marshall did succeed in generating a healthy debate about the future direction of U.S. automotive technology.
GM's biggest overseas competitor, Toyota Motor Corp., confirmed this week that it is planning to bring a sports car to the U.S. market. The New York Times' Michelene Maynard reported from Traverse City, Mich., that Toyota President Akio Toyoda said the new car would be built in a joint venture with another Japanese car maker, Subaru.
"I am very excited about it, and I plan to fast-track it," Maynard quoted Toyoda as telling an automotive industry group.
Toyoda declined to say when the new Toyota sports car would be available in the U.S., but media reports have said the car would be available as early as next year.
Nicknamed "Subieyota," the sports car is expected to be rear-wheel drive coupe.
The problem with Toyota's lineup is the opposite of GM's. It produces fuel efficient cars that squeeze as much horsepower as possible from a 4-cylinder engine. And then there's Toyota's top-selling Prius hybrid.
From here, it's not clear there's room or even much demand in the U.S. for a new sports car, whether it's from an American car maker or a leading overseas auto manufacturer like Toyota.