To your point, it would appear that convertible versions of certain cars would be the path of least resistance for an additional model built on the same platform and in the same plant, and yet these versions don’t get produced. In addition to the GT86, I always thought it was odd that there was never an official Dodge Challenger convertible. Or the opposite, no real Miata hardtop coupe.
Yeah, those are both no brainers and I'm surprised they never happened. There's easily room for it in the Challenger package. Mazda would say they have the MX5 RF (which I think in the UK is the better selling variant), but you're still compromising trunk space with that. A proper hard top coupe would give a lot more practicality. I had an NC for three years and although the trunk space is okay, it was a struggle to get a standard carry on suitcase in through the opening.
Looking at the drawings, pictures etc, of the various vehicles in this article; I see one glaring reason they probably wouldn't sell well. Most of them, with the exception of the 510 and possibly the white convertible, are just not very good looking. (I didn't want to go full negative and call them butt ugly, 'cuz that would just be mean.) The Prowler was ok, but it needed a V8, not a **bleep** little V6. That and better colors and some better looking than the appendages that served as bumpers. The rest are just yuk.
I actually really love the Prowler, but as you say it needed a V8. I suspect this was done for packaging/cost reasons, and they probably felt due to it's light weight the performance was adequate. I know the aftermarket has fitted Hemis to them, but I'm not sure how much compromising the structure has to be done to make it fit. The complete lack of trunk space probably didn't help either. But what an utterly bonkers thing for an OEM to do.
“Thanks Toyota, you could have at least bought us dinner first.” Bwahaha!!!
Seriously though, this was incredibly insightful. I never looked past the platform/component sharing aspect, so it was extremely enlightening to learn about all the other factors that have to be considered when bringing a new car to market. Definitely more involved than I had realized. 🍺
This is a great, thought provoking series of articles.
I was excited by both the IDx and the Santa Cruz concepts. Although I very much liked the IDx, I never expected we would get it as it was designed. I figured they would slap that retro body, or something similar, on the Versa platform and call it good. Having owned a Versa Note, I think it would have still been a fun little car, especially with a manual transmission, but I know others would have been disappointed.
I know that because that's how I feel about the Santa Cruz. Looking at the comparison photos above, I think Hyundai has done a good job of capturing the basic look of the concept, but they failed to deliver the small size I was looking for. Doubtless that Hyundai's reworked version will sell in decent numbers, but it's not what I was hoping for and has not brought me into their showroom.
Given all the complexities you describe, it's a wonder we get any new cars at all...