I was recently reading an article on Speedville.com about a market action Peugeot was taking. The main thrust of the article was that Peugeot had announced the end of its RCZ sports car. I guess, on the surface, this action is probably not very remarkable. Personally, I was unfamiliar with the RCZ and probably would not have given the article much thought if it weren’t for the author. I will let you look it up and see who he is.
The RCZ was Peugeot’s answer to the Audi TT. It’s a pretty cool-looking car with a definite bent toward performance. Of course, compromises abound in a vehicle like this, but it’s still an entry into the personal performance coupe market. This is a small niche market, and the cars within it are sometimes considered image vehicles. Most manufacturers have one or more of these. No one really ever expects to make one of these a profitable venture, but sometimes they explode and make serious money. The Corvette and T-bird are a couple that turned into mainstream, high- volume vehicles.
These vehicles are intended to stir the imagination and bring in other buyers to the brand who may not want that vehicle but would buy the sedan version because it comes from the manufacturer that builds the cooler, sexier model. I guess you could say these vehicles are sort of a subtle marketing ploy. Either way, they’re intended to instill passion or excitement into the market.
This is where I take issue with Peugeot’s decision to kill the vehicle. I’m sure it’s an excellent decision from a financial point of view. However, today, automakers are run so strictly by the numbers that decisions like these go on all the time. Passion in the auto world is all but gone.
In the 1960s, Henry Ford II decided to win Le Mans and beat Ferrari, not because it would be a profitable venture but because he was mad at Ferrari and wanted his own brand to be considered a performance powerhouse. He did it, and the performance legend surrounding that initiative prevails to this day.
The automotive building and repair markets are full of things to be passionate about, such as customer satisfaction, quality and reputation.
Just don’t be afraid to spend a little to pursue them. RIP, RCZ.