Opinion

Here's Why Manufacturers Don't Build The Cars That Enthusiasts Want

Sorry enthusiasts, you are part of the problem.

We have the good fortune of being able to drive a lot of brand-new vehicles. Sometimes we take them to local car shows to gauge what other enthusiasts think of them. All of our conversations seem to have a few common themes, the first of which is that every car we drive seems to be too expensive. Without fail, whenever we show someone the sticker price of the latest car we are driving we always get the response "why is it so expensive?" It seems that most enthusiasts are out of touch with what new cars costs.
Back in 2016, the average price of a new car was $34,077. Most enthusiasts seem to be living with an outdated perspective on what it costs to buy a new car. We are now living in a world where a fully loaded Honda Civic can be optioned to over $30,000 without an Si or Type R badge. So when people tell us that they wouldn't buy the new car that we are driving because it's "too expensive," we just have to remind them that all new cars are "too expensive." This leads us cleanly into the next trend that we have noticed. Enthusiasts like to tell us that "I would buy one of those cars if [insert enthusiast cliche]."
For example, they would buy one if it was offered with a manual transmission, came in RWD instead of FWD, had a V8, The list goes on and on. Enthusiasts seem to be prepared with an endless list of reasons why they decided to buy a used Subaru WRX or Volkswagen GTI instead of the latest and greatest new sports car. This is precisely why enthusiasts don't have a say in what manufacturers build, because we are all too busy buying much cheaper used cars. Buying a used car is almost always better than buying a brand-new car. However, when you buy a used car, manufacturers don't get to count you as a statistic.
Say for instance you go out and buy a used Subaru WRX STI. This makes you feel proud because you are keeping the tradition of driving a manual transmission alive. However, Subaru has no way of knowing that you bought that STI, so it does not go back as a statistic that someone just purchased a manual car. When someone buys a new STI, Subaru sees it as a sales figure which can show that someone out there still wants to buy a manual transmission car. After this happens, the execs at Subaru can sit in their office and decide on whether or not to offer the next car with a manual or not. That one person who bought a new STI is showing Subaru that someone out there still wants a manual.
On the other hand, the person who bought one used has done nothing to prove to Subaru that people are still willing to buy new manual transmission cars. If enough people do this, then Subaru may eventually stop offering a manual and then there will be no used cars left for enthusiasts to scoop up. We may have used Subaru as an example here, but this is happening across the industry. Even BMW, a company that has always offered a manual transmission, may soon kill them off. Our advice is simple here: if enthusiasts want a say on what gets built, we have to start buying new cars again.
So the next time we hear someone lament the fact that the BMW M5 no longer comes with a manual transmission or that GM killed off the V8-powered Chevy SS, they need to stop blaming the manufacturers and start pointing the finger back at themselves for not buying one of these cars new when they had the chance.

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