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Go Back   Madabout Kitcars Forum > Mad Chat > General chatter

General chatter This is the place to talk about anything kit car related that doesn't come under any of the other categories

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  #1  
Old 28th April 2006, 16:52
Ex-Biker Ex-Biker is offline
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Default What's the future of the Kit Industry?

In the 2-3 years that I have been into kit cars, I have seen many manufacturers selling on their kits and many others just going under.

Luego is just another of these.

So how can the industry get out of this?

Mainstream manufacturers and legistlation doesn't help. New cars have so many electronic components that it makes it more and more difficult to use the cars for donor parts.
Traditional donor engines are going out of production - Rover V8's and 'K' series for example.


Ideas & comments?
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  #2  
Old 29th April 2006, 08:24
kartman kartman is offline
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Let me throw my ideas on the fire.....

I think the Cobra and LSIS market have a future....these are designs which mainstream manufacturers are unlikely to produce a similar article. These is someway have become 'lifestyle' products (hate that word....) which people aspire to. LSIS is suffering from over supply with regard to the number of manufacturers at the moment which will shake itself out. Cobra's will start using BMW's as bases........LSIS probably MX5. Individual design (eg 5EXi/Mojo) should be OK as well.

Anything that looks like a car you can buy from a mainstream manufacturer will have a challenge. Why spend two years building something in your shed when you can spend the same (or less money) and buy something with all the R & D of a major motor manufacturer. There is the satisfaction factor, but is that enough? The next generation (I call them the Max Power bunch) do not want to get there hands dirty in the way people have in the past. They want to buy, not build. Therefore I think.....

The future lies with panel kits - either Banham style (cut the body off) or Veranti style (repanel) kits. This makes them more appealing to people who are not keen on building a complete car, and leaves the complicated mechanicals/electrics in place, so once finished has all the 'goodies' (ABS, etc) people want.

Just my thoughts of course.....
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  #3  
Old 29th April 2006, 09:19
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I agree with Kartman, however I would add that a recent thread on a Lotus forum I occasionally visit asked the question of whether a Libra V6 offered foir sale elsewhere was worth considering. The 'informed' answers seemed to say 'no'......

I doubt ANY of the posters had driven one and unfortunately many said that the car was too expensive since a 'blah, blah, blah Elise' could be had for the same money.

They miss the point I feel. I could have bought an Elise, but I didn't want a car you see 5-10 of on the road every day and my experience of both cars almost back-to-back gave the GTM a clear edge on everything barring perhaps build quality. My excuse for this, as always, is that Lotus are a car manufacturer, I am a plumber!

Are people willing to go the extra mile for individuality a dying breed???
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  #4  
Old 29th April 2006, 19:33
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I think people will just start adopting the new electronics. Take the people who do engine conversions. There someone on e46fanatics installing an E46 (current gernation) M3 engine complete with SMG 2 gear box in an E30 (3 generations back) shell. Just transfer that accross to the kit industry people will pick up all the electronics stuff and use it in kit cars.
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  #5  
Old 29th April 2006, 22:33
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I agree withthe previous posts, and the kit industry will survive pretty much as Kartman pointed out.

Unique designs will survive, mainstream or not different enogh will die.

ATOM, MARLIN, GINETTA, and GTM ( if they clear what they want to become in the future, a cheaper Lotus???) should survive, because the have different and unique enough designs.

GTM is trying to move upwards, wanting to abandon their KITCAR heritage, but I'm not sure they will be succesfull. They don't have the money to play with the big boys, and if they don't have it, it's better not to try otherwise you get burned!. They don't have a new Libra or an updated model ready to move up, nor the money to spend on advertising, glamour events to woo the image conscious kids that buy Lotus.

A few replicas, mainly Speedster's and Ferrari's.

LSIS and Cobra's, but cobra's should slow down due to the age group market niche it's intended for.

4x4 are almost non existant with kits, but I still like the Dakar a lot.

Three wheeler should pick up more, because ther are unique, and if manufacturers like Peugeot and VW intend to manufacture a new product by 2007, then this will mean something....

For the rest it will be harder times ahead, let's hope not too hard!!!!
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  #6  
Old 29th April 2006, 22:38
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Maybe a Michalak 7 with a Smart engine for the Max power kids, but maybe........no new designs in the kit industry that is diffent enough and has that WOW factor to buy it.

Too many old kits passed on, from one small outfit to another, with very little thought on the economics of the product.
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  #7  
Old 29th April 2006, 22:40
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Sorry, my spelling is terrible today!!!!!!

Cheers

Italo
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  #8  
Old 2nd May 2006, 15:38
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I think we need to look at how the industry is marketed.

How many people each year decide they want to build a kit car?

How many of these have already built one car?

I bet 50% of builders have done it before.

I reckon less cars are manufactured each year.

We need to introduce a whole new section of buyers.
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  #9  
Old 2nd May 2006, 20:21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Biker
I think we need to look at how the industry is marketed.

How many people each year decide they want to build a kit car?

How many of these have already built one car?

I bet 50% of builders have done it before.

I reckon less cars are manufactured each year.

We need to introduce a whole new section of buyers.
That sounds like a questionnaire Mark.......?

The time between decision and purchase can be a long one.....and I believe only 1 in 4 kit cars are completed by the original purchaser...

What sector would you target for new buyers?
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  #10  
Old 2nd May 2006, 21:01
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Fair point about people finishing kits.

I can understand why too as I'm in some sort of limbo in finding time to work on mine at the moment.

I think the industry needs to be marketed as an exciting alternative to a standard car.

Look at the current customising industry. This was very minimal 10-15 years ago. Now the likes of Max Power are some of the most popular mags sold. The amount some people spend on modifying their car is far in excess of what it would cost to build a kit.

Surely this is one market we should be aiming at.

Another is the track and cheap race car environment. Admittedly a fairly small market, but track day cars are quite trendy at the moment.

The question is not really what sector as how do we do it?
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  #11  
Old 2nd May 2006, 21:59
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Sorry to pee on your ideas, but....

The Max Power guys are enthusiastic.....but I have found have fairly limited mechanical ability.....they tend to take most cars to a garage to have anything done.

The track day idea is OK, but with a rich market of cheap hot hatches - 205 1.9 GTi's for example - it will struggle. If you throw a GTi into the barrier, you just chuck it away and buy another for £400......
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  #12  
Old 2nd May 2006, 22:19
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Do you not think the industry has strayed too far from it's roots, it used to be an alternative to scrapping a car with kn******d bodywork, putting ALL the good mechanicals into a new chassis/bodykit, a cheap replacement. Now it's bits from here and there at a premium, and, at the end albeit a decent product a pretty expensive one. Too expensive for a lot of folks. Perhaps it,s more single donor vehicle kits that are needed!!
Mark
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  #13  
Old 2nd May 2006, 22:31
kitcarman kitcarman is offline
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Hi Mapper,
I think youíve made an astute observation.
I agree that the industry has lost its way.
Iíve a theory as to why. Iíll not attempt to expound the politics but it has to do with the press being dominated by those who a) donít have a clue whilst b) not giving a toss.
I honestly believe that things will change soon. Frankly things have got to change.
Den.
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  #14  
Old 3rd May 2006, 09:09
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Are single donor kits cheaper to build?
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  #15  
Old 3rd May 2006, 09:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Biker
Are single donor kits cheaper to build?
I would say not judging by my Sportster build - there is always something you need to buy extra.
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  #16  
Old 3rd May 2006, 10:06
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I gues it depends on the type of donor, but i agree that even if it's a single donor kit, you will always need that extra bit coming from somewhere else.

Maybe more single donor kits should be designed, but as said earlier, the marketing might help but the economics need to add up.

The kitcar manufacture needs to make a decent profit to stay in business, and the kit enthusiast needs to get a fair price on the kit, with quality to match.

If you can make the equation work, design, quality and economics, then you will have new products coming in, otherwise same old, same old.....

New thinking, new ideas and maybe new people?....
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  #17  
Old 3rd May 2006, 13:46
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Italo

I know we agree on a lot of stuff.

Some of your designs would offer some new interest towards the industry.
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  #18  
Old 3rd May 2006, 15:38
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Mark

I Know we do, but maybe now we need KITCARMAN to help and point the kit industry to way forward, create a new section of the magazine to new designs and ideas, marketing ideas, new technology, alternative fuels.

Create a design competitions, have each kitcar manufacture supply their chassis design, and have everyone participate with design proposals.

Have on each Kitcar show a design competition, have a given subject, and then show the design concepts to the Manufacturers and the public, and by doing this you can gauge the publics reactions to novelty,and understands their future wants and needs.

Maybe have a Kitcar association that promotes and lobbies this industry at the European Union, so that future regulations don't strangle it with stringent laws.


Kitcars could be perfect venue to start a new era on alternative fueled cars , you could start with CNG conversions, and have technical write ups on new technologies. These are niches, but the kit industry is a niche, so they would both gain from this reciprocal exposure.

Fuel prices will be flying through the roof in the next 2/3 year,s and alternative fueled kitcars could be an interesting niche to explore.

We can all contribute dozens of interesting and new ideas to this beloved industry, but there needs to be a will, that i'm afraid is lacking on both sides at the moment, on all camps i might add.............

I believe that if it wasn't for the Kitcar clubs, that do a great marketing job for the manufacturers, many wouldn't even survive a few months in the kit world.

Kitcarman tell us what you think... be kind...

Cheers

Italo
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  #19  
Old 3rd May 2006, 15:56
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Well I like those ideas.

. . . . Den ? 8-)
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  #20  
Old 3rd May 2006, 16:44
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OK Chaps,
Let me ponder.....

Den
(....or is the correct word 'stew'?)
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