Old, New and Somewhere in Betweenby Ron Perry and Christian Wardlaw
At some point in time, every automotive enthusiast dreams of owning an iconic car from the past whether it’s a VW Bug, a rugged Jeep, or the beloved Ford Mustang. But the fact is, most of us think of these old cars as unreliable and unrefined and don’t want the hassle and upkeep an older car requires to serve as a daily driver. That’s why the current retro-modern styling craze has captured our collective hearts, even if it is nothing more than a smart marketing tool. Give the public a refined and reliable version of their favorite icon from the past, add a warranty to finalize the sale, and cha-ching!> -- instant profit center.
America has jumped at several opportunities to own a piece of the past, even though many were loose translations, but has ignored others. Some manufacturers like Mini stay true to the original while others like GM and Nissan interpret retro-modern a different way. What is the recipe for success? Do some designs fail because they’re based on vehicles too old or obscure to appeal to a wide range of consumers, or do customers walk because the design isn’t faithful enough to the original to make the association? For every retro-modern car that collect dust on dealer lots, others become big sellers and with Baby Boomers retiring with more personal wealth than any generation before it looks like the retro theme is here to stay.