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KDIcarmad

Original Poster:

703 posts

37 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
What does the kit car industry need to do to revive interest and sale?

First why is it losing sale?

Why is it not selling to younger buyer? Or is it?

Are there too many similar car? (Track day/ race/ performance)

What way should the industry go, more full body kits or Classic kits?

Does Electric power offer anything for the kit car industry?

How will the industry change in the next 5..10..20 years? What will drive that change?

Furyblade_Lee

3,370 posts

110 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
KDIcarmad said:
What does the kit car industry need to do to revive interest and sale?

First why is it losing sale?

-Getting expensive to build and IVA test the finished vehicles. When I built my first Fury Fireblade back in 2002, it cost me £9k to build, SVA and registerbut I knew it would be worth £10-11k when finished. in 2012, a similar car would cost +£13k to complete and the day after IVA you would struggle to sell it for £9k...
Also as I said in a previous post you can buy a Caterham 7 or Lotus Elise for £8k, drive it around for a year or two and not lose a penny.



Why is it not selling to younger buyer? Or is it?

- Again as I said in another post, most teenagers choose to play video games and not Lego and Meccano like we did, why the F would they want to build a real car when they have a 1,000bhp monster on their Xbox? And they do not possess even basic skills, many cannot even wire a plug at 18.

Are there too many similar car? (Track day/ race/ performance)

- I dont think so, there is still huge variety, apart from maybe some Westfields and Caterhams no two are ever identical. You can make them as individual as you want. But the fully trimmed luxury type of kitcar can cost as much as £30k to build, thats a lot of money.

What way should the industry go, more full body kits or Classic kits?

- non IVA kits should sell well, sub £10k builds and really impressive expensive ones too.

Does Electric power offer anything for the kit car industry?

- I looked into doing an electric MEV, but Stiggy told me I would probobly need £10,000 of Litho-ion batteries to get a 100 mile range,. And with the lifespan of my Litho laptop battery measured in months not years, way too risky for me if the bugger needs another £10k of batteries in 18 months... But the electric MEV does look monster fun with lead-acid batteries, I would love one anyway. * The only way I can EVER see electric cars working generally is if all cars had an identicle huge battery underfloor which you rented, and when discharged, a machine at a petrol station removes and replaces it in 2 minutes flat with a fully charghed one for a fee. Then you drive away. It 'aint gonna happen...

How will the industry change in the next 5..10..20 years? What will drive that change?
- no idea?

GinG15

198 posts

57 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
registration laws are getting more and more strikter...also do emission laws.

interestingwise the interest in kitcars from people outside UK has increased in the last years, but the british kitcar industry has nothing done (besides a few manufacturers like westfield and caterham offering COC paperwork) to get their cars homologated europeanwide.

the problem is that everyboy is thinking, also saying, that european laws are the same everywhere and every car once registered in a european country must be re-registeed also in another...but thats definately not true, even i think that there are "hidden" laws which would make it possible.

the british kitcar industry should work togehter in exactly such terms:

force the european community to accept the britsih built terms, also that british kitcar registration will be accepted all over europe. if this would come true i promise a tremendous boost in sales.

jas xjr

8,399 posts

125 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
I was really interested in the chap making a replica vw camper . Any updates ?
Building what the public want , and not more 7 clones please

Iwantoneofthose

327 posts

78 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
jas xjr said:
I was really interested in the chap making a replica vw camper . Any updates ?
I thought this was a winning idea too, then I saw that they are still available from VW.

http://www.danburymotorcaravans.com/index.php?opti...

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greengreenwood7

582 posts

77 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
''Building what the public want , and not more 7 clones please''

isnt that the point, what do the public want? or more importantly how can they know what they want if perhaps it doesnt yet exist? as for 7 clones, they presumably exist as there is an established market/interest in those type of cars.
I still think the key issues are:
cost of finished product

ease / quickness of build

ease of a more or less guaranteed result at iva

packages by manufacturers that allow buyers to budget for a/ budget build b/ medium c/ top notch ( ie/ helping source components etc.

given that 7-10k buys a lot of choice in the second hand sports car market, and that todays plodders arent really plodders as many of us remember ordinary tin tops then its a fairly tall order to offer an innovative/interesting/appealing product at that price threshold - By which i mean cars that have wide enough appeal, not marmite cars.



Nikolai

155 posts

32 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
I think 3 car formats that are not missing but perhaps under-explored at the moment are:

1. A pretty BMW-powered roadster

2. Focus/Mondeo/Alfa 156 mid engine track/weekend toy but full bodied (like La Bala?)

3. A summer fun car/ beach buggy format, powered by a Punto/Ka/Fiesta etc - something very cheap to build and basic, could be great for the export market (i.e. somewhere hot) which I understand is topping up a lot of kit car sales at present. Modern mini-moke?

I'm not sure on rebodies - if you pick up a cheap MX5, and shove a new body on, I bet most wouldn't do much to the mechnicals so its just for posing as would have minimal weight advantage over the base car? Perhaps posing (which there's nothing wrong with btw) would get enough sales but Banham are hardly rolling in cash? If you do upgrade engine brakes and suspension then you add ££££ to the build cost. No other rebody options than a Beetle or MX5?

In terms of increasing sales, I think kit cars have to be attractive to a 'normal person', not just a kit car person where the definition of attractive just has to be relative to... some stuff from the olden days (dutton, fwd Quantums, Vindicator etc).

DEN TANNER

105 posts

37 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Nikolai said:
A pretty BMW-powered roadster.
With
greengreenwood7 said:
guaranteed result at iva
And
Furyblade_Lee said:
KDIcarmad said:
sub £10k builds
My next product!




Edited by DEN TANNER on Monday 16th April 21:33

greengreenwood7

582 posts

77 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Nikolai - do you think that a high percentage of kit owners actually use their cars to anything like their potential? I'd wager a fairly substantial sum that most dont do more than a 1-2000 miles a year, and the majority have a gentle run out and a polish. Perhaps buyers are attracted by potential performance though.

I think there are a cple of other factors that are quite interesting. One relates to 'club life' and what you can get out of the kit car scene.....the other to maintenance.

I know a fair few guys - myself included who wouldnt still have their cars if they didnt have a decent bunch of folks to interact with, driving, brekkie meets etc. There is an argument that owning a kit CAN open up a few new doors on the social side.
In terms of maintenance i think there's a perception that a/ its a kit it'll fall to pieces b/ who the heck do i get to look after it ( assuming someone buys one of these perfect kits which are aout to be released to the market). A pal joined us in france this weekend and highlighted both of the above comments, i'be known him outside of 'cars' for years and he said ' i really didnt know you guys had so much fun, what a great bunch'....then later as i was trying to repair a clutch cable to get us home ' thats one of the things that would put me off, not knowing anything about cars and hearing how often something seems to need attention, i couldnt do it and wouldnt know where to go to get it sorted'.

to my mind the latter is a fair point. i have a very good mate who has a garage, in the past i've shied away from calling him when disaster has struck as i know his business is wheel them in, fix them quick and ship them out.

so add reliability, and new social life to the marketing of a new kit.....

Steffan

9,280 posts

114 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Nikolai said:
I think 3 car formats that are not missing but perhaps under-explored at the moment are:

1. A pretty BMW-powered roadster

2. Focus/Mondeo/Alfa 156 mid engine track/weekend toy but full bodied (like La Bala?)

3. A summer fun car/ beach buggy format, powered by a Punto/Ka/Fiesta etc - something very cheap to build and basic, could be great for the export market (i.e. somewhere hot) which I understand is topping up a lot of kit car sales at present. Modern mini-moke?

I'm not sure on rebodies - if you pick up a cheap MX5, and shove a new body on, I bet most wouldn't do much to the mechnicals so its just for posing as would have minimal weight advantage over the base car? Perhaps posing (which there's nothing wrong with btw) would get enough sales but Banham are hardly rolling in cash? If you do upgrade engine brakes and suspension then you add ££££ to the build cost. No other rebody options than a Beetle or MX5?

In terms of increasing sales, I think kit cars have to be attractive to a 'normal person', not just a kit car person where the definition of attractive just has to be relative to... some stuff from the olden days (dutton, fwd Quantums, Vindicator etc).
Interesting ideas. Using your annotation for simplicity;

1) Much easier to buy a Z3 on the road. A MOT'd BMW Roadter fully built at £2000. Or a Z4 for less than a MW kit could be built at I suspect.

2) Again buying an ST24 complete on the road MOT'd would be much cheaper.

3) The Jeremy Phillips designed Mojo, Mojo Mojo SE ought to fit this bill I think. Or possibly a Riot. Good designer I regret his retirement.

That is really the problem IMO.

I made this list not as a criticism of your post which is a good starting point and brings new suggestions to the argument and is a useful sounding board.

But we need to remind ourselves that economics and the on costs of IVA have permanently devalued kit cars. Sad but true IMO.

Cars are cheap now and Kit Cars are very very cheap.

There are complete registered Kit Cars on Ebay etc every week selling for peanuts. I understand your suggestions, but in my view the fundamental problem is that the proliferation of other car hobbies as has been exemplified on PH before and those such as the Saxo/Corsa/20??/ boy racers has robbed kit cars of a lot of market share.

Hence my post. I just cannot see the practicalities of BMW powered Roadsters selling when BMW already make them. In profusion. Not to mention Audi. And early versions of these cars are as cheap as chips currently.

Since I am an enthusiast you may think my negativity odd. I simply do not think the Kit Car enthusiasm is easy to regenerate any more. IVA required on any new bodied Kit Car or Kit Car with altered chassis is a real problem.

I rather think the answer requires a lot of thought. When I started in KC building in 1963, it was a doddle compared to the IVA route that is virtually the only route available today.. Yes, there were problems and standards were sometimes woefully inadequate, but the builder had himself to satisfy and really nobody else.

Unless we can find a way of rebuilding the solid steady interest of a large number of enthusiasts in Kit Building I think this industry is going to have a really difficult time in the future. There will be no quick fixes I fear.

Given the consequences and considerable costs of IVA I do wonder what can be done.


jas xjr

8,399 posts

125 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Iwantoneofthose said:
I thought this was a winning idea too, then I saw that they are still available from VW.

http://www.danburymotorcaravans.com/index.php?opti...
The replica is an older model . Split screen I believe

VxDuncan

2,790 posts

120 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
There's an ever increasing void between mass production cars and kit cars in terms of design, finish, technology etc. In some ways this is a good thing, a striped out, back to basics seven for example.

The kit car market simply hasn't kept up with standard production vehicles. If you want a home built vehicle to match say a BMW Z4 it simply won't happen.

New donors are needed. The IVA test needs simplifying (it is probably the biggest turn off for most people). And everyday usable vehicles that I can drive to work once a week, not worry if it rains on the way home, and genuinely look good, without having to resort to retro looks.

Steffan

9,280 posts

114 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
VxDuncan said:
There's an ever increasing void between mass production cars and kit cars in terms of design, finish, technology etc. In some ways this is a good thing, a striped out, back to basics seven for example.

The kit car market simply hasn't kept up with standard production vehicles. If you want a home built vehicle to match say a BMW Z4 it simply won't happen.

New donors are needed. The IVA test needs simplifying (it is probably the biggest turn off for most people). And everyday usable vehicles that I can drive to work once a week, not worry if it rains on the way home, and genuinely look good, without having to resort to retro looks.
I agree with every word. I just cannot see this happening. That is the problem.

davecymru

34 posts

43 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
My 2p

What is needed from what I've seen is:

Accommodation - let's all agree to disagree occasionally and respect that that we've all got different tastes and opinions and at least be civil to each others so that newbies such as me feel more welcome when they do get involved. All of this "it's based on an mr2 so its not a _real_ Lambo replica" type attitude was just tiresome when I started looking into kits, fair enough some may prefer it differenly, but that doesn't mean alternative opinions are wrong

Price & Diversity - everyone has a different budget and everyone has different likes, so the more kits at more pricepoints and in more formats the better. I would LOVE to be able to spend 30k on a V12 powered Countach but i would be sleeping in the garden if I did and i expect im not the only one in that situation smile so let's expand the repanel kits with ever more interesting kits such as the new Dino kit, through the buy it and bolt it together kits, to buy bits-n-bobs and follow a plan kits and different shades of everything in between. I realize I generalise a lot here, but you get the idea smile
This also helps tackle the perceived skills issue in some markets, if we think some may be more comfortable with different types of kit (I.e. just fitting body kits rather than building engines) then let's accomodate and embrace them and you never know, once they've built one and have the bug they may feel more comfortable building a more advanced kit next time?

I speak as a fair newbie having only been around the scene for 2 years as i was personally very surprised at what I found as people seemed to be very critical and negative of each other, while at the same time there are some brilliant ideas and cars coming out all of the time.

Dave

Iwantoneofthose

327 posts

78 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
It's not all about cost. It's about being individual bowtie
I'd have a 7-a'like over a Z4 any day (as a second car - what with a family and all that!). smile

Nikolai

155 posts

32 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
greengreenwood7 said:
Nikolai - do you think that a high percentage of kit owners actually use their cars to anything like their potential?
Good point, 2 types of people perhaps, my friend has a 2.0 turbo'd 7 and he drives it hard and intends to do track days too, but he has absolutley no interest in the social side. I would expect there's a mix of both types of people.

Definitely a cache about owning something thats incredibly high performance even if not used - kind of a way of justifying it. If you spend a year and a chunk of money building something but the average person comes along and says 'oh my Zafira is as fast as that', missing the point completely but can take the shine of your achievement.

Steffan said:
1) Much easier to buy a Z3 on the road. A MOT'd BMW Roadter fully built at £2000. Or a Z4 for less than a MW kit could be built at I suspect.

2) Again buying an ST24 complete on the road MOT'd would be much cheaper.

3) The Jeremy Phillips designed Mojo, Mojo Mojo SE ought to fit this bill I think. Or possibly a Riot.
In response:
1. A Z3 looks dated and has a poor image. Z4s are expensive and also never been known for looks. As Iwantoneofthose said it's about being individual! I don't look at Z4s twice. To clarify, I meant a car in the image of an Alfa 8C, that kind of style.

2. An ST24 is an executive saloon, not a mid engined sports car? Thats like saying why buy a RTR Sonic when you can buy an Focus ST170 cheaper? Unless I'm missing your point!

3. The Mojo is a bit dated, I think it's a great concept and nice chassis but its an old design visually.

Any car should ideally also pass the girlfriend/wife test.. i.e. will she think it's stupid? If it fails that I would expect poor sales as a result! A kit car is likely to require money that won't be put towards new kitchens, holidays etc smile And yes thats being sexist but I don't remember ever seeing a girl driving a kit car or dragging her other half around a kit show!

200Plus Club

1,067 posts

164 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Gardner Douglas are having a crack in their own superbly engineered way :-)
http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&a...

Red16

537 posts

54 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
greengreenwood7 said:
ease of a more or less guaranteed result at iva
I think the IVA process is a bit of a problem, and puts a lot of people off building their own cars, it seems overly complex and awkward.

dom9

3,751 posts

95 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th April 2012 quote quote all
Interesting question...

I am a lurker in the Kit Car forums and (when I'm living in the UK) buy all 3 of the 'big' Kit Car mags (are there 3 left?). I've been doing this for probably around 15 years now, so I've seen quite a bit change.

I don't think the increase in 7 clones was a bad thing. It drove the price down and quality up (in many cases) and made them accessible to more people. The BEC revolution also gave a shot to the arm for the Kit industry, in my opinion. If you wanted that rush of bike power (which many did) you kind of had to have a kit car and it reached a new audience.

Car engines seem to have taken a sudden leap forward now though and BECs appear to be yesterday's news (though I still want one) to some extent. Or maybe they're not, we are just all used to them now?!

But, why don't I own a Kit Car? I think it's a combination of things:

  • A Porsche 996 (I own a heavily modified 996 for trackdays), Boxster, Lotus Elise, MX-5, MR2, BMW E36 M3s, Renault Clio V6s etc etc are all now under GBP10k and offer excellent levels of build (in most cases) and everyday practicality/ weather protection but also great track pedigree.
  • I think the fact that most kits are still not everyday practical/ weather protected (ok, there are a few like the Phantom Vortex, GTM Libra, which are great) means that they will be a 2nd car at best and most likely a 3rd car. Do many people have either the money or space for a 3rd car, in a recession? Can we justify this to the missus, let alone the bank?
  • I went to the best engineering university in Europe (get me) but when asked (in '97) how many of us wanted to be engineers, I was the only person to put my hand up. I went on to work for the Ferrari F1 team and Lotus Motorsport and they all went on to make millions at banks (and they actually made profit with no tax payer money, honest). I don't regret that but it does mean that I am the only one in my peer group who could build a car (which I did, from scratch, at 19). The same thing is happening to the video game generation. Like another poster said - Why build a 130bhp kit when you can drive a 500bhp Ferrari round the 'Ring every night?
  • I own a place in central London and although I am lucky to have parking and space (covered) for spare cars, I am probably in the minority. To build a kit car (despite some of these single garage builds we see) generally requires space and tools. Especially if you are a first time builder, so you have confidence and can get everything out and move it all around. Space is at a premium in the UK and people just don't seem to have double garages these days.
Some of these points just can't be changed.

Yes, the Kit needs to be cheap to attract buyers, but to stay in business the manufacturer needs to make money. Are you going to get a car as 'good' (it's a relative term, I know) as say a Porsche Boxster for 10k? I just don't see it and I think this is why there seems to be more interest in these small cars, trikes, exos that are cheaper to build and produce - they do offer amazing performance per pound and may be cheap enough as a 2nd/ 3rd toy.

I actually wonder whether the Kit industry might/ should move more towards the modifying end of the spectrum. I don't mean like a Nova crashing through Halfords before a trip to Max Power, but look how well Z Cars have done. I like the idea of a mid-engined Mini, 205 GTi etc I like the idea of a Skyline powered TVR Cerbera. These are also all cars that would appeal to these younger people with the Max Power imaginations.

I would really like an AJPV8 4.5 from a Cerbera in the back of my 996 as it's lighter and more powerful. I ought to be able to do this myself, but wouldn't it be cool if this was offered as a 'kit'? I wouldn't need a garage probably - maybe cack it out over a summer's weekend. Could it be done for 10k or less? Probably. Then I get something fast and unique but with all the Pork comforts. Lot's of companies do this sort of stuff in the US and do very well. I have a lot of threads on other forums bookmarked, such as a Subaru Turbo powered Boxster race car and the enthusiasm is enormous.

I don't want to see the Kit Car industry die! I would love an Ultima in Kawasaki green with a unique engine or maybe one of Fran Hall's offerings but what these have in common, for me, is they offer full weather protection and are probably 'keepers' for life.

Right now, my perfect kit would something small, light, mid engined and with full weather protection. The engine need not be big. I am effectively describing a Lotus Exige. Can any small manufacturer make a car as 'good' (relative again) as the Elise/ Exige for 2nd hand Elise/ Exige money? I very much doubt it and is there the audience who is willing to build it anymore? Unique is fine, but do people have the money to pay for unique in the numbers a manufacturer needs to sell to survive? I love, love, love the GTM Libra (an updated V6 version ticks many of those boxes but is likely to be expensive) but I would find it hard to justify one over an Elise.

I also happen to love the Farboud/ Farbio/ Ginetta G60 - Why can't someone make a 'kit' like that and offer factory finishing for those who don't want to build it? The Ultima needs a reboot in my opinion, or perhaps Italo could sketch a modern, Supercar rebody? Hey, maybe there is money in rebodies? Why not take the TVR chassis (a la Top Gear) for a front engined car or even the Lotus Esprit chassis for a mid engined car? Would that make IVA easier?

Don't start me on IVA... That's another thing that puts me off.

Ok, ok - enough ramblings from me! Apologies if I repeated what others have said as I only skimmed the last few posts!

smash

1,852 posts

114 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th April 2012 quote quote all
Don't forget engine swaps are largely in IVA teritory as they often involve structural alteration - a Z cars mini should certainly submit to IVA although I doubt many have!

As i said on the other thread to survive long term you need to play to the next generations strengths which is modding and bodykits so rebody kits aren't a large stretch by any means. The main problem with rebodies is as I see it, they really highlight the design skills (or lack of) of the manufacturer. Splashing a Murci or F430 is one thing but producing something that when fited to the car doesn't look worse than the donor in the first place is entirely another!

Boxster must be ripe for body conversion starting at £5ks now...
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