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Old 04-25-2014, 10:48 AM   #401 (permalink)
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Going from a geo metro powered prototype to full production in a year? Forgive me if I am skeptical. Think about all the issues that will come up in a new chassis and engine design, as well as the testing and quality control they will have to complete before it's even ready for production. Even if it's ready by 2015, they are going to have a hard time selling them in the volume they need to keep that low price tag.
Not to mention the extra troubles they'll face if the auto industry perceives this vehicle as a threat to the current status quo of a 15-million-unit-a-year auto market that provides an average $25K solution to our transportation needs.

All of a sudden, financing will be a problem, regulatory certification will be a problem, a distribution network will be a problem, and they'll suddenly get a bunch of expert critiques from the main-stream auto press giving them all kinds of grief about quality, safety, warranty work, etc (look what happen to Mahindra's pickup truck). It's not as if all of these issues won't be challenges even without the auto industry trying to interrupt every attempt they make. Forget about Big Oil; there won't be a problem with those guys. It's the auto industry, and their ability to weed out all prospective newcomers, save Tesla, that is the real barrier beyond the natural barriers to market. The oligopoly has many ways to stop threats. Lets hope Elios can stay low key and stay classified as a motorcycle, but the auto industry might have something to say about it, if they feel production might in fact actually happen and that people might think there is a better, cheaper way to get around in all four seasons.

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Old 04-25-2014, 01:03 PM   #402 (permalink)
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Any issues with Mahindra's pick-up are issues with the pick-up.

Indian market cars are simply not at the same level as American market cars. While the durability is there (Indian owners complain about them, true, but they're better screwed together than previous-generation Chinese cars), build quality, refinement and interior quality are not... and it's questionable whether the truck would pass safety requirements.

Best study start-ups and see what works... start-ups promising something cheap, something different, something "less" than a car... they don't typically work. The market for brand new cars in America is not a "needs" market, (The "needs" market in America is covered by secondhand cars) it's a "wants" market.

Hardly anybody wanted an Aptera. OR a Zap Xebra (thank God) or even a SMART car. They want something with four doors, AC, and the ability to survive crashing into a bank vault. And whether that last part is true, or not, they want the perception of that kind of safety, at least. Look at all the crap the mainstream press in the USA gives the Mirage. It's not a great car, but it's not one of the ten worst cars of all time.

Tesla survives because it doesn't give two whits about what people need. It gives them what they want. Exciting, fast and exclusive cars... that just happened to be electric. They also charge realistic prices for the innovations... Fisker could have done that, too (they actually sold lots of them), if they'd watched the bottom-line as carefully as Tesla did.

Sell to the rich, and you can fund your own development. Sell to the poor and they'll hate you for reminding them they're poor. Case in point: Tata Nano. Nobody wants it. They'd rather have the same, anonymous Maruti Alto everyone else is driving, rather than admit they can't afford the extra cash over the Nano.

Elio has to tread a fine line here. If they finally reach the sales stage, they have to push the "lifestyle" button. Make the trike look fashionable, luxurious (leather? HUD? Toys?) and perhaps even exciting to drive (seriously... off-the-shelf motor with more power, please). It shouldn't be sold as something cheaper than car. It should be sold as something cooler than a car or a motorbike.

Building their own motor sounds like a mistake on the same level as Fisker... only time will tell whether it was the right thing to do or not.
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Old 04-25-2014, 03:57 PM   #403 (permalink)
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Niky -- Thanks, I always appreciate your perspective on the industry in your part of the world.

"It shouldn't be sold as something cheaper than car. It should be sold as something cooler than a car or a motorbike." QFT

I'm wondering what is under the body-color paint on those front suspension A-arms.

Suppose there were Protean Electric in-hub motors in the two front wheels and a super-capacitor bank where the back seat used to be.
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:45 PM   #404 (permalink)
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Sell to the rich, and you can fund your own development. Sell to the poor and they'll hate you for reminding them they're poor. Case in point: Tata Nano. Nobody wants it. They'd rather have the same, anonymous Maruti Alto everyone else is driving, rather than admit they can't afford the extra cash over the Nano.

Elio has to tread a fine line here. If they finally reach the sales stage, they have to push the "lifestyle" button. Make the trike look fashionable, luxurious (leather? HUD? Toys?) and perhaps even exciting to drive (seriously... off-the-shelf motor with more power, please). It shouldn't be sold as something cheaper than car. It should be sold as something cooler than a car or a motorbike.
Gotta agree with you. Let's say, maybe presenting it as a more comfortable alternative to a Can-Am Spyder might be the right marketing approach...
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Old 04-26-2014, 03:09 AM   #405 (permalink)
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Its a nice option to a Motorcycle ( if only for being covered ) plus has more room and gets better fuel economy. The market may be small for it but wide, from high school kids to active Seniors really. They just need to advertise massively until the mass brainwashing is complete !
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Old 04-26-2014, 04:18 PM   #406 (permalink)
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I used to say I wanted to go straight from the VW Beetle to a UFO. But I have to admit—as a stepping stone—one of these converted to a through-the-road electric hybrid single-passenger supercar might be an interesting alternative. I'm backing away from two in the front since it's a FWD vehicle.

The base vehicle cost would approximate the resale value of my weekly driver. Hmmm.
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Old 04-26-2014, 04:32 PM   #407 (permalink)
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Its a nice option to a Motorcycle ( if only for being covered ) plus has more room and gets better fuel economy. The market may be small for it but wide, from high school kids to active Seniors really. They just need to advertise massively until the mass brainwashing is complete !
There are many niches they can explore, from the penny-pinchers to the folks who want something other than a hybrid. Anyway, since they managed to make a version with what seems basically to be the good old Suzuki engine used in the Metro, why not one with a Hayabusa engine to caught the attention of the weekend club racers?
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:14 PM   #408 (permalink)
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why not one with a Hayabusa engine to caught the attention of the weekend club racers?
My thoughts exactly! I enjoyed watching Smart cars with Hayabusas spinning and screaming! I would love to see an Elio do that!
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Old 04-27-2014, 06:43 AM   #409 (permalink)
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I hate to say it but I think this is an excellent post and one Elio marketing should see. We economy moders are a cheap lot and most of us would never buy a new vehicle and as Niky says style and fashion sell. i think the Elio is as cool as hell but it will need a bit of smoothness to appeal to the buying public and with a market the size of the USA it should do well. Perhaps a series of mtor options , from a small diesel for me to the 'Bussa or a BMW K at the other end.


Quote:
Originally Posted by niky View Post
Any issues with Mahindra's pick-up are issues with the pick-up.

Indian market cars are simply not at the same level as American market cars. While the durability is there (Indian owners complain about them, true, but they're better screwed together than previous-generation Chinese cars), build quality, refinement and interior quality are not... and it's questionable whether the truck would pass safety requirements.

Best study start-ups and see what works... start-ups promising something cheap, something different, something "less" than a car... they don't typically work. The market for brand new cars in America is not a "needs" market, (The "needs" market in America is covered by secondhand cars) it's a "wants" market.

Hardly anybody wanted an Aptera. OR a Zap Xebra (thank God) or even a SMART car. They want something with four doors, AC, and the ability to survive crashing into a bank vault. And whether that last part is true, or not, they want the perception of that kind of safety, at least. Look at all the crap the mainstream press in the USA gives the Mirage. It's not a great car, but it's not one of the ten worst cars of all time.

Tesla survives because it doesn't give two whits about what people need. It gives them what they want. Exciting, fast and exclusive cars... that just happened to be electric. They also charge realistic prices for the innovations... Fisker could have done that, too (they actually sold lots of them), if they'd watched the bottom-line as carefully as Tesla did.

Sell to the rich, and you can fund your own development. Sell to the poor and they'll hate you for reminding them they're poor. Case in point: Tata Nano. Nobody wants it. They'd rather have the same, anonymous Maruti Alto everyone else is driving, rather than admit they can't afford the extra cash over the Nano.

Elio has to tread a fine line here. If they finally reach the sales stage, they have to push the "lifestyle" button. Make the trike look fashionable, luxurious (leather? HUD? Toys?) and perhaps even exciting to drive (seriously... off-the-shelf motor with more power, please). It shouldn't be sold as something cheaper than car. It should be sold as something cooler than a car or a motorbike.

Building their own motor sounds like a mistake on the same level as Fisker... only time will tell whether it was the right thing to do or not.
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:04 AM   #410 (permalink)
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They should offer them for sale without a motor, or maybe they will..
If so
I would want to build one with a meager 30-40hp electric motor with a extremely low overdrive/ drive gear.

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