You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Report: Performance Car Demand Driving Innovation and Growth

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/1/2015 Eric Weiner

With big profit margins; younger, more affluent buyers; and the chance to research and develop better technologies, performance cars have a positive effect on the industry beyond satisfying gearheads. U.S. demand for performance cars has been on the upswing, and with all of the potential upside, automakers are more than willing to play ball.

Research

In a report from Automotive News, executives from automakers and industry analysts alike point to performance cars as a driving force for growth and development in the U.S. While European brands have consistently, and wisely, offered performance variants of their existing vehicles, domestic manufacturers have made a large and visible push in the last few years.

2016 Ford Mustang GT Black Package Burnout© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Ford Mustang GT Black Package Burnout Not only do automakers charge considerable premiums for performance variants of their cars, but the cost to engineer such vehicles from existing models is chump change compared to the potential profits. “It’s very inexpensive to develop a performance model,” Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis for research firm AutoPacific, tells AN. “The development time and the cost of tooling is far less [than the rest of the vehicle]. It's too easy to not do, too easy to ignore."

Demand for Dodge’s SRT Hellcat Charger and Challenger are hugely exceeding projections, with 9,000 orders placed as of mid-march, prompting a suspension in accepting orders. Ford’s success with the Focus and Fiesta ST has lured 65 percent of their buyers from other brands, many of whom are wealthier than the usual Ford buyer. Such good prospects made it easy for Ford to green-light the Focus RS hot hatch. Meanwhile, higher-end muscle like the Jaguar F-Type and Chevrolet Corvette continue to fly off of dealer lots.

Ford Focus RS© Provided by MotorTrend Ford Focus RS But beyond helping automakers rake in the dough, it also helps engineers develop solutions for cutting weight and improving efficiency. There’s a trickle-down effect of advanced technology from higher-end performance cars that often find their way into more mainstream vehicles. Look no further than BMW’s Project i; while few will enjoy the pleasures of the lofty BMW i8, within closer reach are the BMW i3 electric city car and upcoming 7 Series, which both benefit from the brand’s investment in carbon fiber manufacturing.

Additionally, while performance vehicles themselves rarely offer exceptional fuel economy, their sales footprint compared to mainstream variants mean the effect on Corporate Average Fuel Economy numbers isn’t too damaging.

2014 BMW i3 eDrive© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 BMW i3 eDrive By all accounts, demand for performance cars will keep growing. As long as engineers keep wanting to work on them, automakers keep profiting, and drivers keep enjoying them, the future looks promising. Bring it on.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required) 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Front Three Quarter View In Motion 9© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Front Three Quarter View In Motion 9
AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Motor Trend

Loading...

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon