It would seem like we have plenty of car makers to pick from, but here in the US, I can’t help but always feel that there’s all sorts of holes left in the market. Most people keep getting shunted to the same half-dozen or so brands, and as a result we end up with streets full of remarkably homogenous cars. Maybe we need a some new players in here, even if they’re not, you know, real.
With this in mind I tried to find five holes in the car market that need some rich, creamery filling, which is what these five not-yet-extant marques represent.
As you can guess, I really want to hear your ideas, too, so please, make up some marques and stick ‘em in the comments. I bet there’s all kinds of amazing cars waiting to be imported from Imaginatistan, or maybe the Fictitious People’s Republic, or even South Fabricatia.
Named after our biggest, softest president, the Taft would fill the void left behind when Cadillac started building BMWs: big, soft, cushiony luxo-barges. Tafts have all the modern tech you want, but no pretentions of being a ‘driver’s car.’ Maybe even some vinyl tops and opera lights, but LED opera lights because it’s the future.
You know what we haven’t had in the American market for decades? A really cheap German brand, like, say, NSU or Goggomobil or Messerschmitt was once. Maybe a Smart counts, but that’s part of Mercedes-Benz, and here’s it’s just one car. Schissekiste would have a whole line of German shitboxes, all well under $20,000 — a 2-door-only sedan, a 2-door wagon, and some kind of little van.
Yep, John Fucking Deer. Everything they’ll sell is green and yellow. They’re fantastic. They’d sell small but rugged and useful pickup trucks with full-size beds, and little 4WD off-roaders about the size of a Suzuki Samurai that would be the only real competitor to the Jeep. They’re already so close to doing this — they’re already building little 4x4 trucklets and jeep-like things — how hard would it be to scale those up and throw in some airbags? Easy, right? Of course. They could own the landscaper, city-based repair/hauling guy, and sculptor market.
I’ve talked before how modern automotive society is painfully starved for ‘fun cars’ — a whole class of cheap, economy cars that manufacturers have stripped down, painted fun colors, and made slightly off-roadable. Because it’s fun. Thing VW Thing or a Mini Moke or a Citroën Mehari. What there was a company that made cars like these from some not-yet-in-the-US volume maker like Malaysia’s Proton, stripped off the doors, cut off the roof, gave it bigger tires, and either crammed in enough airbags or spent enough on lobbyists to get them legal here.
I’m fond of RVs — they’re fun, offer a lot of personal freedom, and often have toilets, but they’re huge, thirsty, and not practical for daily use. We haven’t had really daily-drivable/parkable camping vehicles since those old pop-top Microbuses, and I think it’s time. Picture something about the size of a Mini Clubman with a pop-top, clever fold-out beds, and some kind of basic kitchen/washroom unit. Drive it to work everyday, then use it to escape on the weekends. It’ll be a blast, trust me.
Actually, after I wrote this, I found someone had the same idea. So it must be good!