Monday, June 10, 2013

Mythical Chevy SS Moves Closer to Reality

The mythical Chevy SS
General Motors moved the mythical Chevy SS a step closer to reality last week, announcing the car will have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $44,470 when it goes on sale sometime “in the fourth quarter” of this year.  The General refused to be more specific regarding an on-sale date.

That’s right, there’s a chance you won’t be able to buy the car that has been dominating NASCAR since its debut at Daytona in February, until after the season has ended.   Fourth quarter means somewhere between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.  My guess is it will be closer to the New Year's Eve.

But if I was a smart Chevy marketing guy (and there are a few), and Jimmie Johnson is on his way to winning his sixth Sprint Cup championship at Homestead and Chevy its 11th straight manufacturer championship--both during the Ford Championship Weekend--I'd do everything possible get the car launched that weekend.

The SS, especially in the hands of Johnson, has been simply mystical on the race track.  Johnson led a parade of four SS in the top five and six of the top 10 Sunday at Pocono.  If it started today, half of the cars in the Chase would be Chevys while Ford and Toyota would be relegated to three each.  Including All-Star weekend, the Chevy SS has won five straight races.

About the only place the SS hasn’t been out front is in dealerships.  Chevrolet has started a new adage: Win on Sunday, sell in the Fourth Quarter.

Once upon a time, NASCAR required that a car actually be sold in dealerships before it (or at least its namesake) could appear in race.  Five hundred of them back in the ‘60s.  Of course back then it was also pretty easy for a manufacturer to find 500 dealers willing to step up and buy a Dodge Charger Daytona or Ford Torino Talladega as their personal driver if the “incentive” was right.

Both Toyota and Ford have struggled at times this year.  The Toyotas have been fast, with five wins, but fragile. Their engine reliability problems have been well documented.   Matt Kenseth has three wins and probably should have a couple more, but he’s been knocked out of several races by car troubles.

The Fords haven’t been very fast, with just two wins so far this year.  And Talladega doesn’t really count.  Speculation continues that the nose of the Fusion is the culprit.  Ironic, because the company asked for a special dispensation from NASCAR to alter the grille of the car so it would look more like the production model.  Still, it is supposed to have the same aero numbers as the Chevy and Toyota.  Thanks to consistent finishes, at least Carl Edwards has his Ford second in the points.

Things got so bad last week, the head racing honchos at Ford and Toyota called their drivers together before the Pocono 400 and assured them things would get better.  Just not in time for the Pocono 400.

At more than $44,000 (not including the destination charge or the gas-guzzler tax), the Australian-built SS has twice the starting price of its on-track competitors, the Fusion and Camry.  But for the money, you get a 415 hp V8 engine and rear-wheel drive car compared to the puny under 200 hp 4-bangers from the Ford and Toyota front-drivers 

In fact the, neither the Fusion or Camry are showroom competitors with the SS.  The Dodge Charger SRT8 with 470 hp is a much better match. 

Yup, another car you can’t find on the race track.

5 comments:

  1. "Win on Sunday, sell in the Fourth Quarter" is the absolute line of the year. You win the NASCAR Internet.

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  3. Win on Monday, Sell on Tuesday in Australia! The car, as most know, is Australia's legendary Holden Commodore. Had it not been for the 2007 Pelosi Energy Act, it would have been the new Chevrolet Impala in 2010, being built alongside the Camaro in Oshawa (Ontario). The car is a proven race winner Down Under in the V8 Supercar Series.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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