Gotta love those sporty cars

For folks in this industry, our pocketbooks are practical but our passion is performance. So while our heads stay focused on those high-volume sedans, SUVs and minivans, our hearts go out to sporty cars.

Product passion is clearly what’s driving those posting comments in the past 24 hours. The stories most commented on are about low-volume but hot cars: MGs, the Tesla electric sports car and Dodge Viper.

Chrysler’s decision to consider selling the Dodge Viper sparked a flurry of comments in the first hour. Inevitably, some are about the attributes of the car itself.

203177 says the Viper is ugly and has cheap-looking materials “and it gets smoked by the competition on a daily basis.” Another writer counters that the Viper is better than a Ferrari – “it does 0-60 in 3.7 seconds” – and asks if the “competition” is $250,000 cars.

But a third sums up Chrysler CEO’s Robert Nardelli’s dilemma: “There are 25,000 owners who feel very strongly about those iconic cars and (many) people who recognize the Viper and associate it with Dodge.”

On an MG story, Dealermaker suggests traditional British racing green would be better than orange as a color with which to reintroduce an iconic brand in the U.S., but another writer notes that some 1970s MGBs were orange and adds because the “TF is a rather old, bland car by now, it needs all the bazazz it can get.”

DonCelC6 has empathy for Tesla on “little niggling problems” at a recent European test drive event, but not much sympathy. “In the real world, that kind of stuff happens in prototypes,” he writes. His advice is to design out any problem the most hideous buyer might stumble into: “Consumers can be counted on to ignore any warning signals from the power pack and the design must be robust enough to protect them from their own ignorance.”

Forget multiple-choice poll

Sometimes multiple choice just won’t do.

The Automotive News Web site’s weekly poll poses a topical question and asks readers to pick one of four possible answers. But several writers rejected the four choices offered this week on how the Detroit 3 can improve their brand images. They posted comments with other suggestions.

One writer urges automakers to offer unlimited warranties “and provide free loaners” during repairs. A day later, he offers another approach: to limit executive salaries to 10 times the basic hourly worker wage.

Coldwaterbill says a “stable of reliable, affordable cars” will work best.

Another says the Detroit 3 already has raised quality, but warns that “beating up suppliers to the point of unprofitability and inferior parts just creates setbacks for all.”

For the record, with 1,254 responses in the first two days, 48.2 percent are opting for “improving quality beyond Japan imports.”

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