Friday, November 29, 2013

Product Planning

Here's the thing -

I've never worked for a car company. I don't have an engineering degree. But what I do have is a keen eye on the industry, and a degree based around things like logistics, business analysis, and management. That combination wouldn't take me far off the beaten path of your average product planner. In that vain, with a bit of ego, and some serious thought that should've been applied to things like work or, you know, a life, I present you with the top 3 cars that should have been made:

3: A Falcon-based Lincoln LS:
The CTS is the car that single-handedly revived Cadillac. During the years leading up to it, Cadillac was on its deathbed, ironically like most of its customer base. However, with their sites set on their best European rivals, they went back to the drawing board and created what was to be one of the most astounding come-back cars of the century. Love it or hate it, the CTS was the first Cadillac to truly bring the fight to BMW and Mercedes. And now, with their position secure, we can't help but wonder: what's taking Lincoln so long to do the same? Instead of rehashing the entire Ford lineup, just with longer taillights and a split grill in the front, how about we make the Lincoln lineup special again? And you know just the car to lead the charge? The Falcon. I know I've talked about this before, but if you want to gut and remake a Ford, make it a memorable one. Make it one that when you're done can take the fight to the CTS. Make one Henry would be proud to drive, so long as it's black.

2: A new Monte Carlo -
Let's just face facts, the Australian-based GTO was a flop. It's not for lack of ability, or for being subpar. It actually blew everything that it was competing with at the time out of the water. The reason was GM's usual product fumbling. They phoned in a product that was clearly meant to be something else, and put the most legendary muscle car name ever on the side. However, the formula was a good one, and under a different set of conditions, it would have been a huge splash instead of a horrendous belly flop. A luxurious, sporty interior, a decent stack with a real stereo, and the ability to spin the world backwards with muscle car torque. Sounds like a Monte Carlo SS to me. At least the kind that they built before it was just an Impala coupe. If you still don't believe me, here's a picture of a concept of the latest generation of Monaro (what was our GTO):

1: A proper Integra successor -
Full disclosure: I don't hate the RSX. I actually really like it. And I like the generation of Si that took the place of the RSX, so much so, that I own one. But the Integra was bigger than that, bigger than a lineage of just what was capable in a FWD "rice rocket". It was a cultural icon that united the Fast and Furious crowd with serious tuners. They could be made to be as much about show as they could be for go. The name came to symbolize the idea that we can, in fact, all just get along. Whether you were a fan of a clean looking sleeper, or you came for the neon lights and custom sub-woofer enclosures, you were sure to find one at any car show that fit your tastes. And now what do we have? The ILX?! I was so excited to think what that I meant when they first announced the product, and now I fear that it may in fact, in Honda's mind, may be their attempt at being the new Integra. It deserves better than that. We Honda fans deserve a car that will look straight at the BRZ, the Focus ST, and the Mazdaspeed 3 and announce with a natural aspirated, stratospheric redline: "We're back".

So there they are. The best cars that never were. Some, I'm sure, were kicked around the offices, but never saw the light of day. But I can assure you, if ever given the chance, I'll make sure they do.

And that, that's the thing.

- Shawn