AD #1573 – Cars That Fix Themselves, Honda’s Wild Aero Package, BRZ & FR-S Sales Fizzle

March 10th, 2015 at 12:01pm

Runtime: 8:06

- China’s MSRP Envy
- TrueCar Sued for Unfair Competition
- Should “Dealers” be “Retailers”?
- Lambo Accelerates Sales
- Honda’s IndyCar Wings It
- BRZ and FR-S Fizzle Out
- Car Components with Modems

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47 Comments to “AD #1573 – Cars That Fix Themselves, Honda’s Wild Aero Package, BRZ & FR-S Sales Fizzle”

  1. Jon M Says:

    Uh-oh, hold your tongues, it sounds like the PC Police are on patrol at Ward’s. Personally, I don’t often hear people refer to…um…those places and people you buy vehicles from…as just plain “dealers.” Most often I hear them say something like “I went Honda” or “I’m going to go to the Ford dealer.” Of course that’s just me. But honestly, I don’t think very many people, if any at all, will ever interpret your trip to “dealer” as your need to get a heroin fix–especially after you’ve been driving them crazy complaining about your broken-down, old ride.

  2. David Sprowl Says:

    Dealer vs retailer? My thought was the derogatory nature of wheeler dealer or drug dealer was spawned from the treatment most received in the past from auto dealers. While many auto dealers have shaken this behavior some have not. So call ‘em retailers – sooner or later dope peddlers will brand themselves the same. Imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery?

  3. Shirell Patterson Says:

    Not calling a dealership a dealership is taking a page from Saturn where they called the dealerships retail facilities.

  4. Jon M Says:

    By the way, comment #1 is intended to be tongue in cheek. As for BRZ and FR-S sales, I don’t think it would change things all that much, but Toyota would have at least earned more revenue if the FR-S would have been sold as a Toyota Celica. I know it’s a tired out argument, but I still think it’s true.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    When the BRZ/FR-S was introduced, it sounded like something I might really like as a “fun” car. It would be fun, but it didn’t take long to learn that the car is quite “rough around the edges” for a car new to market, even a sports car. Also, it has turned out to be unreliable, very out of character for both nameplates it carries.

    If I didn’t have my MINI, I might be interested, but overall, BRZ/FR-S has been a disappointment, and it seems to be showing up in sales numbers.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4 Also, Toyota would have sold more, if they had sold it as a Toyota anything, even FR-S, rather than as a Scion, because not all Toyota dealers sell Scion. The Indiana dealer where I bought my Prius does not have Scion.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    The Toyobaru twins need more power to please those people who crave it, most hot hatchbacks are quicker even though their handling is not as sharp, when they introduced them, they only seems to show how well they drift and handle, well for most enthusiasts, speed is King everything else is BS.

  8. buzzerd Says:

    Dealers- this reminds me of people who think that teletubbies are promoting a gay agenda or hearing satanic lyrics when playing LP’s backwards, maybe it’s got more to do with a guilty conscience than anything else.
    Modems in car parts- what part of that has to to with vehicle “abuse” and warranties I wonder.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    #6 agree 100%. just to try to save Scion, they killed any chance for the car to be a success here.

  10. RumNCoke Says:

    What a shame. Good looking, nice handling entry level sports cars can’t find any buyers in the Millennial crowd? OK, maybe they’re a bit underpowered but still…am I missing something?

    Maybe Toyobaru should approach SCCA about creating a grassroots spec series featuring these cars. Or include the Miata too as a nice foil. Zoom Zoom.

  11. buzzerd Says:

    conscious – guilty one that is

  12. Tony Gray Says:

    I LIKE Wheeler Dealers. It’s my favorite show on Velocity.

    As with the BRZ/FR-S, they need to take a page from the Mustang, Camaro and Corvette and space out different models to stretch the media buzz, and consumer awareness. Bring out the base and SS/GT/Z51 models first; then the Shelby/ZL1/Z06 models and then the Boss/Z28/ZR1.

    I suppose they thought the BRZ/FR-S twins would follow the MX-5 and go along without many updates required…I guess they miscalculated.

  13. Steve W Says:

    Dealer sounds too much like wheeler dealer? Ask anyone that has ever purchased a retail car! Nobody ever knows if they got a good price or not!! You can’t call it a retail store because the real prices are always shown at a retail store!

  14. Badnikl Says:

    I can see the day when the car is 6 years old and a yellow light on the dash comes on. The (Car Store) calls your phone and makes an appointment as you drive down the road. Can’t fix it with a download. Needs $90 diagnostics.

    The light was tripped by:
    A) – Bad sensor
    B) The Company- because service Dept is needing

    PS: I may have a car where the airbag may go off for no reason. The good news is it won’t kill me as I had the recall done for shrapnel.

  15. buzzerd Says:

    @Steve- many have tried “no haggle pricing” and I think all or almost all have failed because people still want ” a deal”. For certain people paying what everyone else did is un-thinkable.

  16. Bradley Says:

    Do the China prices include any Tariffs on “import” brands?

    If the dealers will stop wheeling and dealing…they can call themselves retailers. Until they have firm, fixed pricing…they are dealers.

    Subaru should seriously consider adding AWD as an option on the BRS.

  17. J Hundertmark Says:

    Dealer or Retailer – No Difference. Changing the name does not change the behavior. Dealers that are honorable businesses will most likely remain so, & those that are less creditable will most likely continue their behavior.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    In CR’s tests, the BRZ/FR-S and the new MINI S turned nearly identical acceleration times. A GTi was quicker. If you want rear drive, only the Subion has it, but if you are ok with front drive, for similar money, the new, 3rd generation MINI is somewhat more refined, and the GTi is hugely more refined. Both of those front drivers are still fun cars.

    When the FR-S/BRZ were introduced, I figured they might be “holding back” a turbo version, but they haven’t announced it yet, that I know of.

  19. Lisk Says:

    The whole FR-S/BRZ was a poor attempt by Toyota (I mean Scion) and Subaru to capture a market that is youthful. What I see are the intended targets going to going to Honda/Hyundai/Kia. How many young people riding around in new-ish Corollas? Subie’s WRX is youthful, but mainly after the car is several years old when they are in the $18-22k price range. The Scion brand is proof that Toyota can devise an un-needed Saturn brand just like GM. They should have given the car to Toyota, called it the Celica and put a propper Toyota 4 in it.

  20. Chuck Grenci Says:

    “Dealer” sounds okay to me. I try to give every ‘retail franchise’ the benefit of the doubt until (some) show their ‘stripes’ and get themselves the label as ‘stealers’. Images are slow to change; some meriting this cautious approach (but this does hamper some of the good outlets that have raised the bar). And in all reality, and expressed in my above diatribe, a variety of descriptors work (one as good as another).

    As far as the sports car twins; they got good reviews, were very good values, but obviously didn’t instill a passion, which most sports cars need to maintain their identity when up against (so many) loyal faithful of other iterations (from other manufacturers). Quite a few sports cars aren’t ‘perfect’, but when you ask their owners about them, they say they love them.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The ~300 hp WRX STi motor should be a bolt-in for the Subion. That should satisfy most of those people who don’t think a 7 second 0-60 time is good enough.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    I suppose also we have had so many years of FWD development and the handling has improved so much that RWD is not really that important to the type who buy FRS/ BRZ

  23. Eric Penn Says:

    Saturn always referred to their dealers as retailers.

  24. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Retailers vs dealers?? Looks like Wards is snorting unicorn phartz in their cubicals instead of actually working.PC loosers,grow up and get a life.

  25. Martin Says:

    Im thinking it might be time for a midlife boost for the Toyobaru. How about offering it with a turbo? That would certainly bring interest back and carry it through to design change.

  26. Rob Says:

    Dealer/Retailer won’t change people’s perception of what to expect when buying a car when there is a deal to be haggled for.
    Fixed pricing? Why would you need salespeople? You could simply log onto your “Retailer” via your phone enter your options be given the price and just go pick it up.. wait that sounds like what Tesla or Elio motors is trying.

  27. HtG Says:

    I wonder how BMW and Porsche dealerships feel about being called ‘stealerships?’ Own it, Helmut!

    Toyobaru-Let’s see if the sales pattern holds true with the new Miata. I guess we like cars with lots of horsepower more than one that’s about sports car handling.

  28. Brett Says:

    Now they just refer to Saturn in the past tense.

  29. Paul Says:

    Nobody likes to pay retail for anything. Sounds like a bad move.

  30. WineGeek Says:

    I almost bought a new BRZ but it is one rough driver. What are Toyota and Subaru doing sending out a car that sounds cool but lacks the updated electronics and rides really rough. Both of those companies should know better. They both have plenty of experience with chassis and suspension tuning and they know that the American consumer wants luxury as well as performance.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    #29 but at that price point? you expect too much when even a lowly subcompact goes for $20k nowadays.

  32. gary susie Says:

    All of us who have called them dealers for years will have to die off before it will ever change to retailer.

  33. C-Tech Says:

    Imbedded modems in the power train and anti lock brake modules open the door to hackers. As a tech I don’t mind OEM’S and customers directly connecting for software update recalls as they pay very little, and if done wrong disable the module (imagine your car not starting after you updated the module yourself).

  34. C-Tech Says:

    No ads, very little promotion and Subaru & Scion wonder why they don’t sell?

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    They hoped word of mouth would work, except milennials don’t really talk, do they?

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    In Spanish they refer to them as retailers always. dealers sell drugs!

  37. G.A.Branigan Says:

    And now for something completely expected:

  38. mike smith Says:

    The american public is smarter than u think. U change there name it is still the same.

  39. Drew Says:

    The assumption that small two door vehicles are for the youth is 30 years out of date. The last 2-3 generations of youth like vehicles that can accommodate their friends. Good looking 4-doors that handle and perform will always win over the Toyobarus. Devices like remote entry systems made 4-doors more easy to manage, whereas shoulder harnesses and head restraints made access to the rear seat of 2-door vehicles more of a hassle. Let’s move on to the new reality wherein fundamental nostalgia has kept a few 2-doors alive.

  40. CWOLF Says:

    G.A., I think the UAW should make the most of every opportunity to increase the wage of the middle class,but should also barter for max health care and COLA. I have heard that UAW V.P. Of Suppliers,Mrs. Estrada, has not been very involved in area supplier contract negotiations…and it shows! I saw initial offers,pushed by her international subordinate, of $5/hr. less than the maxarea rate and $11 less than present rate,with no perks. Cut and dry, the UAW is focusing on the increased dues of existing and added labor at the expense of trades and of no real favor of labor. A family of three still boarders qualification of food stamps. Just my normal 2cents.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30 I’ve never driven a BRZ/FR-S, but from what I’ve read, it probably rides like, and is as noisy as my C4 Corvette. I’m ok with that in a 20 year old car I have just for fun, but I’d want more refinement in a new car, even a sporty car.

  42. Enn Norak Says:

    As a long-time retail customer, I can tell you that the industry can call dealers by any name it wants but people will still call them dealers. The industry should spend more time weeding out bad dealers. In time, the surviving dealers will then be proud to be referred to as dealers.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    35 Do they advertise on facebook, or whatever might have replaced facebook as the “in” thing while I wasn’t watching?

  44. C-Tech Says:

    Uber just got the FL state legislature to pass a law that effectively overrides all local laws which would ban or regulate their service.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    44 Did Rick Scott and friends get bought off?

  46. Brett Says:

    Ya think???

    re: Dealers

    I think your average marketing type would rather come up with a catchy term for darkness before they thought about replacing a burned out light bulb.

  47. Mark who knows better Says:

    Hey Ward’s, the problem is one of perception, a name change without a correction in the practices of some is equal to putting lipstick on a pig or new curtains in a haunted house. It’s difficult to fix in a business that is profit driven and some “retailers” cry if the customer beats them out of a nickel.