The news has been full of evidence that automobile sales are way down. For some vehicles, demand appear to be undiminished by the financial crisis and recession. What do these vehicles have in common?
Wall Street Journal automotive columnist Joseph B. White says that cars that emphasize style and speed, but are produced in limited numbers, are selling at or above the sticker price. Most of these cars are not paragons of energy efficiency. They include both exotic sports cars and Ford’s high-performance model of the revamped 2010 Taurus SHO. (The press release touts the vehicle’s fuel economy but does not provide an estimate, which elsewhere is reported as 17/25.) Other cars selling for sticker prices include BMW’s high-mpg Mini Cooper, the 2010 Toyota Prius, and the Ford Fusion hybrid.
On the other hand, Chevrolet’s reincarnated 2010 Camaro is estimated to get 29 mpg on the highway despite having a 3.6 liter V6 that produces 304 horsepower — a highly unusal combination of performance and energy efficiency. Scarcity is key to maintaining high prices, however, so the Camaro cannot be a product that rescues General Motors.