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  #1  
Old 11th September 2006, 18:35
kitcarman kitcarman is offline
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Default Where Are We Going? – The Resurrection!

That last thread got well and truly hijacked.

I’m hoping to put together this opening post such that none of the essential progress made gets lost. I think it fair to say that it was agreed that the industry needs a fresh approach. I’ve ‘pulled’ the following quotes which reflected the sentiments being expressed:-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Biker
I reckon if a few smaller companies got together and did a kit car display at some major petrolhead events like Goodwood, it would seriously improve the profile of the industry.
I know this has been said in the other thread, but kits need to be more modular and easier to assemble.
Also the idea of taking a Saxo (etc) stripping it of the dash, engine, wiring loom etc and assembling the lot into a new body / kit would take the modular step one stage further and let the owner feel as if he has the same quality as he would from a production car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuoriserie
I get the feeling we are both talking to the converted , but you are right on this one, someone needs to take the first step, and in my opinion it should be the manufacturers and after that the Kit Media. The media support would be essential for a switch in perception.
Getting manufacturers to think and band together with others will be the difficult part.....
Quote:
Originally Posted by andy
I find it amazing that you are still banned…. I'll not comment on your second part of that sentence..... HOWEVER I have to say, I did reject your advice and I lost a lot of money and will be happy if I get £1 for the kit on ebay.
I'd have to agree with Mark, the industry does need new blood.....
My thoughts are that there are plenty of max power boys who spend more on modding their cars than our kits cost.... they also tend to lose all their cash on resale!
maybe this is a market we should be trying to tap?
How about some joint shows or something similar?
As an ex boy racer (honest) I once took my Ultima to the largest UK show and ran the quarter mile, I had loads of interest in the car and it even had pics published..... if some of these boys realised they could have a car like that or others for similar money to their 'modded' car and it be worth what they spent I'm sure there would be many converts.
I do remember PH doing a joint show with a custom car organisation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by EddyP
I am new to the kit car scene, but from my own observations i can see the industry having issues in coming years, suitable donor cars are getting harder to find, how many sierra diffs/ford type 9 gearboxes are left etc... hell the scrappy near me hasnt got any RWD fords, iirc the only RWD cars he has are bmws.
With the lack of donor parts i can see it really limiting some builds, engines should be ok, even if manufactures get silly with ECUs you can also go to a megasquirt/emerald for example, but it was drivetrain parts that i could see vanishing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitcarman
Hi Eddy,
Nobody here disagrees with your evaluation of the problem. The debate centres on how best the industry can ‘take its next step’.
My observation is that those next steps are being taken. For example, there are now at least 4 Mazda MX5 based kits. There are more BMW based kits in the pipeline. A few kits are available for modern FWD mechanical parts; like Marlin’s 5exi and the new Mongoose - more shall follow. As time goes on, these designs shall improve and others shall appear until some landmark is reached.
I’ve got, probably, more interest in this industry’s success than anybody else on this forum. For my part, I’m confident that things are on the mend.
Den
Quote:
Originally Posted by andy
Hiya Mark,
As mentioned I have scrapped the kit I had and have started my own from scratch, I'm using new Porsche 996 hubs and hearings within new upights and have had suspension made to my own spec.
It's definitely a challenge designing a car from scratch, but I can see the end car well surpassing my previous Ultima with a bonus of it costing me less, so its definitely worth it......
I've recently updated my site, I'd certainly welcome your comments on the body. Probably not here though as its a bit of a thread hijak.
At this point, M entered with comments about BMW/Factory Five/Which, etc. Perfectly valid points in their own right in their own thread…. Which I’d encourage M to start. As to this thread: I’d like to continue the debate herein.

Have I accurately reproduced the above quotes and/or left any thing/body out?

Den
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  #2  
Old 11th September 2006, 19:24
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Fuoriserie Fuoriserie is offline
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Den
You did a good summary of the thread, let's hope we can all continues with a more thoughtfull and open debate.....
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  #3  
Old 12th September 2006, 10:33
Ex-Biker Ex-Biker is offline
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OK I will re-iterate what I consider is the problem with the industry.

Firstly, I think we can all agree that the majority of kits made today are of pretty good quality. Mostly they are now made from reliable cars (engines, gearboxes etc).

This reliability & quality costs. So kits are now more expensive. Not vastly more, but they do cost more.

One big argument comes from this. Why bother? Yes why bother when it will cost iro £10k to build a kit and iro £9k to buy a Lotus Elise?
What this does do however is give good cause to buy the classic look. You know you'll never get a Ferrari Daytona for less than £30k or an original Cobra.

One word sums up the kit industry problems - Marketing, or should I say lack of effective marketing.

I product doesn't even have to be good to sell. Make it trendy, fashionable and appeal to people's desires and anything will sell.

I realise this is a broad statement, yet I believe it is very true. The downfall is that the product then has to do everything that the marketing says. If not it is popular for a very short period of time. A good example might be the Sinclair C5. Marketing made this the trendy way to get to work, practicality and safety made it a flop!

So if the industry is building more reliable and better quality cars, once in the limelight of the mainstream it should be able to maintain popularity.

Identifying this is only a small part of the problem. I good marketing campain needs something that is lacking in the kit car industry - money. With what little profit is made, manufacturers need to live, pay staff wages and any left often goes into further development of the car or range of cars. If there is still any money left, then manufacturers can use it to attend shows and advertise.

Let's look at a different angle.
Who are we going to sell these kits to?

This is where we come across a further problem. How often do you see your neighbour under the bonnet of his / her car? When was the last time you did your own service? If you do service your own car (I'm talking standard saloon etc, not kit), do you do it properly? or just check the oil, water & brakes?
Very few people do any servicing. Very few people have the mechanical expertise to do simple repairs. Modern society has no need for this, as there is always a garage nearby waiting to take your money.

How does this relate to kit cars? Obvious really, if you can't do simple stuff on your car how can you build your own? If you could, where would you find the time?

So lets finish this with a challenge to the industry.
(These figures are not aimed at any particular car.)
We see build figures in promotional material and in magazines so:
If a kit costs £4k and the donor parts will cost £1k, the manufacturer will often quote a build cost of say £6k and an estimated time to complete of 100hrs.
Lets say build time is worth £20/hr (very reasonable as the guy doing the job will get around £10/hr)
I make that £8k for a new ready built, SVA'd car.

So build it & sell it for the price you say it can be built for!
There is certainly a market out there for that.
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  #4  
Old 12th September 2006, 15:54
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I think the main thing the industry needs to address in the hounesty of the manufacturers. Mark makes a very good point, how many manufacturers sell their fully built cars for the cost they claim you can build a car plus labour they claim to build it?
e.g. 'kit £5k, on the road from £8k' BUT fully built from £16k????

This is hardly going to give credability to the industry and also people then pass the more hounest manufacturers as they appear too expensive.

Maybe a web site should be started that polls how much people have actually spent on building their kits along with a brief outline of how they did it i.e. if they made loads of bits themselves to keep cost down.


False promises and comming up with reams of (feable at best, lies at worst) excuses for not delivering on them needs to also be addressed.
Sorry I'm resisting the urge to rant and give examples at the moment.
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  #5  
Old 13th September 2006, 17:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy
I think the main thing the industry needs to address in the hounesty of the manufacturers. Mark makes a very good point, how many manufacturers sell their fully built cars for the cost they claim you can build a car plus labour they claim to build it?
e.g. 'kit £5k, on the road from £8k' BUT fully built from £16k????

This is hardly going to give credability to the industry and also people then pass the more hounest manufacturers as they appear too expensive.

Maybe a web site should be started that polls how much people have actually spent on building their kits along with a brief outline of how they did it i.e. if they made loads of bits themselves to keep cost down.


False promises and comming up with reams of (feable at best, lies at worst) excuses for not delivering on them needs to also be addressed.
Sorry I'm resisting the urge to rant and give examples at the moment.
This is a bugbear of mine and exactly why I created the Build cost estimator;

http://www.madabout-kitcars.com/kitc..._estimator.php

A basic build cost calculator but I'd like to think fairly accurate for an 'average build'

On your point about a site which polls how much a car DID actually cost to build Madabout has always had that facility and can be found from within the details page for any kit car listed.

This is a typical example

http://www.madabout-kitcars.com/kitc..._table.php?114

Anyone who has built a kit car and is willing to give the figures can add their voice.


Cheers, John
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  #6  
Old 13th September 2006, 19:21
kitcarman kitcarman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuoriserie
Den
You did a good summary of the thread…
Thanks Fuoriserie!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Biker
….what I consider is the problem… kits are now more expensive… why bother when [you can, for less dosh] buy a Lotus Elise?

[Then there is] lack of effective marketing… if the industry is building more reliable and better quality cars… it should be able to maintain popularity…. A good marketing campaign needs something that is lacking in the kit car industry - money.

Who are we going to sell these kits to? How often do you see your neighbour under the bonnet of his / her car? When was the last time you did your own service? Modern society has no need for this, as there is always a garage nearby waiting to take your money.

We see build figures in promotional material and in magazines so: [add the costs of parts and labour] and [manufacturers should] build it & sell it for the price [they] say it can be built for!
There is certainly a market out there for that.
Hi Mark,
I hope my abbreviation has done justice to what you were saying (if not; take me to task because I’m not trying to misrepresent anybody).
Now to paraphrase: You reckon kit cars are expensive relative to production cars and therefore especially need good marketing which they don’t receive because manufacturers are strapped for cash.
You also reckon that people are less practical/inclined than they have been historically toward working on cars. Therefore manufacturers should recognise this trend and respond by building complete vehicles for more realistic prices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andy
I think the main thing the industry needs to address in the honesty of the manufacturers…how many… sell their fully built cars for the cost they claim you can build a car plus labour they claim to build it?
This is hardly going to give credibility to the industry and also people then pass the more honest manufacturers as they appear too expensive.
Maybe a web site should be started that polls how much people have actually spent…
False promises and coming up with reams of (feable at best, lies at worst) excuses for not delivering on them needs to also be addressed.
Hi Andy,
Again, please pull me if I’ve distorted your message. I think it fair to state that you talk with the benefit of experience. You’d like to see more straightforward marketing when price and build time is mentioned and more reliable suppliers. I can’t see anybody disagreeing with that!
Quote:
Originally Posted by JG
This is a bugbear of mine and exactly why I created the Build cost estimator; I'd like to think fairly accurate for an 'average build'

On your point about a site which polls how much a car DID actually cost to build. Madabout has always had that facility. Anyone who has built a kit car and is willing to give the figures can add their voice.

Cheers, John
Thanks John,
By implication, it seems that you’ve already attempted to provide a more realistic means for customers to assess the build cost/time claims of manufacturers. You’d presumably only want to do that if you thought those of the manufacturers weren’t accurate.

I know that I play like an old gramophone record, but this is surely an issue of press integrity. In most industry’s the press monitor advertising claims on behalf of their readers and either refuse to accept adverts which are wayward or they publish editorial to explain what the situation really is. That hasn’t generally been the case in this industry though. Good honest adverts have run alongside dubious ones to the point where an outsider wouldn’t know what to trust and what not to trust. Worse still, wayward advertisers who spend enough money have their wayward claims indorsed in the editorial.

The result of that, in my opinion, is that when honest manufacturers place advertisements they are not as effective as they might otherwise have been. Their meagre budget therefore gets wasted in the fog of uncertainty. Wouldn’t it improve if the press could be read at face value without having to read between the lines?

Please remember that most of us are wise to what I’m talking about. Newcomers are not.

Den
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  #7  
Old 13th September 2006, 19:49
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I think a lot of this missrepresentation will be addressed on the web, eventually information will merge and will be easy to find all the good and bad points of the cars in the industry.
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Old 13th September 2006, 20:12
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I think another area to consider is that the target base (buyers of kits), has other choices on what to spend their disposable income, race rep m/c's and quadbikes for example, all for fun just like kitcars. I guess what I'm saying is that there are fewer folks to sell kits to because of other options out there. (does that make sense).
Mark
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Old 13th September 2006, 20:19
kitcarman kitcarman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapper
I think another area to consider is that the target base (buyers of kits), has other choices on what to spend their disposable income, race rep m/c's and quadbikes for example, all for fun just like kitcars. I guess what I'm saying is that there are fewer folks to sell kits to because of other options out there. (does that make sense).
Mark
I agree Mapper,
I also agree with Mark who made the point that there are reasonably priced production sports cars to add to punters choice too.

Den.
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Old 14th September 2006, 09:26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapper
I think another area to consider is that the target base (buyers of kits), has other choices on what to spend their disposable income, race rep m/c's and quadbikes for example, all for fun just like kitcars. I guess what I'm saying is that there are fewer folks to sell kits to because of other options out there. (does that make sense).
Mark
Makes a lot of sense, in fact that is the plus the kit industry has difficulty in recognising, they are a niche and should cater to all these little sub-niches.

I small and nimble creative kitcar manufacture would tap into these niches, and use their small size to turn out innovative niche kits.

This is the only advantage left to the kit industry, if they loose it, we as kit enthusiast are going to see more companies collapse...before things change for the better.
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Old 14th September 2006, 09:38
Ex-Biker Ex-Biker is offline
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Den - how about this:

Put an appeal and questionaire in your mag asking people with specific models to respond. Put the questionaire out on the net too (there are at least 4 obvious forums) and ask manufacturers to send it out to there builders. After all it is the best feedback they are going to get.

Ask readers the final cost, if they thought it was good value, any problems with the build, does it live up to expectations, what was the customer service and backup like, if they would build another from that company etc etc.

Them do an article a month on a different vehicle. Summarise your findings from the surveys, talk to some of the builders and get more of a story from them (include quotes from builders) and get feedback from the manufacturers.

That should make 'em honest!

It doesn't increase the profile of the industry though.
For this we need to look outside, which is where media titles and manufacturers can work together. Manufacturers should like this as after spending money on advertising etc, it gives them something back.
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  #12  
Old 14th September 2006, 21:09
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From personal experence of building, mine passed budget figure by a couple of thou, (I daren't tot it up really) but this was because of the 50 quids here and hundred quid there on all the recon bit's, nuts bolts wire and connectors, paint and sundries etc etc. But I have to say the bit that narked me most was paying over the top for "SVA compliant" parts, eg sva compliant bonnet catches, mirrors. I appreciate folks have to make a living, but some of the prices are outrageous, anyone else found this? And also a few years ago at the Donington show the manufacturer of my kit had a poster on their stand stating build this kit for £8,000, I had passed that without including the donor ar a paint job, and that was buying all the main bits from them.
Mark
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