Friday, 17 August 2012
An open letter to Automobile manufacturers in the Australian market:
Dear stockholders, directors, owners, and designers (you know who you are),
What did you do? What happened?
Australian cars used to be cool. Used to be. the monaro, the valiant, the XB coupe.
Today's list is all about front wheel drive hatches, with the odd front wheel drive sedan thrown in. Or about big fuel drinking four door sixes that are too heavy, too thirsty, and too expensive to appeal to the average fun seeking driver.
Hatches. Hate em. The bubble back to me is ugly, and four doors? Why the Hell would I want four doors? I do not encourage passengers. They only distract me from driving. Or complain. I don't want to hear it. If I had four doors, I'd have to have a 1000w stereo system so I couldn't hear em go on and on about shit I don't to hear. And certainly there is no new car being made with a stereo that will do this for a reasonable price.
So basic design is going down the toilet.
What about the necessary? Car pundits are claiming the manual transmission is on its way out. What? Sports autos are autos. It took me years before I learnt the stick. I can only say now that I wish I had done it years ago. The control. The thrill. The working of gears. Twenty years of driving autos was 20 years denying myself the true driving experience. I will admit I was idiot. I wasted 20 years of my life driving automatics when I could have been having fun. Ignorance breeds stupidity. I hope you all know how to drive manuals. If you don't, learn. And flappy paddles on the wheel don't precisely replace the stick. Even the Top Gear guys have said that.
The rear wheel drives are dying off. What? You want to make cheap cars, but you kill the rear wheel drive. Chrysler went back to the rear wheel drive for one simple fact. Its cheaper to make. Additionally, much of Australia doesn't suffer from ice and snow, conditions which can, admittedly, challenge a rear drive wheel train.
Where are the coupes? All over Japan, North America, you can get a coupe. In Australia? They are there, but they're rare. And the bulk of them are crap. Also, "coupe styled hatches" (Barina Spark, Civic, Veloster) are NOT coupes. They are hatches. Stop wasting money on advertising that claims otherwise. That money could be better spent bringing real coupes into the market. I might be calling a spade a spade, but how stupid do you really think we are? A coupe has a proper boot. A coupe is impractical, but that's sort of the point. Impractical sells. Look at the Mazda MX5.
Okay, so maybe I'm insane. Maybe the Australian market doesn't like coupes. Or maybe you've biased the marketing. Maybe its just been cheaper for you not bother with the coupes in the Australian market.
Kudos to Subaru and Toyota for developing the BRZ/86. But the price, over 30k?
Would it be so expensive to send some Altima or Accord Coupes down here? They are as common as blades of grass in other markets. But they aren't sold here.
You guys can save us. Please. It can be done. Lest Australia be cursed forevermore with the eyesore that is the hatchback. It doesn't have to be difficult, unless you make it so.
I know that my next car will likely be used, because a good coupe I can afford isn't available in Australia new, and the truth is, I don't expect it to change. By the way, I'm 42, and my perferred body style remains the coupe, it's been that since I was 14. It'll be that way until I'm dead.