The Pontiac Solstice is one of the most intriguing designs I know of

About a year and a half ago I purchased a Pontiac Solstice convertible, silver. Now some would point out this the classic midlife crisis car. However, if this truly was a midlife crisis purchase, I would’ve gotten the one painted in bright red. Now in and of itself the design is very well done, and they essentially fly out of dealer showrooms as fast as they arrive. But it does something else that I find absolutely fascinating. On weekends when I’m driving around its common for me to have people (always men) walk up and ask questions about my car. I even had a fellow with a brand-new Porsche get out and ask me what kind of car it was. Most are very surprised it’s made by Pontiac.

Think about what this means: the design of this car actually prevents buyer remorse. A few times a week, total strangers walk up to me and tell me that I made the right choice. Think of another product that does that. When was the last time that someone, a total stranger leaned out the window at a stoplight to tell you your PC mouse looked really cool?

There are other products that do that, the iPod of course, is the most iconic currently. Maybe one of the signs of good design are the number of people that agree with you.

2 thoughts on “The Pontiac Solstice is one of the most intriguing designs I know of

  1. Red cars…all of my cars have been red so far, and I don’t think that means I’m in crisis, it just means I like red cars. Or perhaps I’m perpetually in crisis, but in denial.

    My mid-life crisis convertible will be chrome yellow, mark my words.

    I did get several people asking me about our (red)Mazda P5, right after we bought it, and then a few times during the subsequent years. I knew I liked the design (as well as the performance), but it was a very nice bonus that other people agreed with me.

    Design consumption as self-affirmation!

  2. “Cars as identity symbol” has become more interesting to me over time…not sure if it’s just me, or (more likely) the cues I’m picking up from the culture I’m in.

    As you may know — engineers in Silicon Valley (those that care about cars) have a clear pecking order. High performance/sports cars are it, either the Japanese pocket rockets (if you’re a more junior/less wealthy engineer) or the high-end Japanese or German cars (if you have $$). Manual is higher-status than automatic. Convertible is higher status than hard top.

    Whatever the car — it has to have legitimate sports car cred — the official stats that it performs like a sports car — not just the image/marketing spin (to SV engineers, it’s a negative to look like you’re influenced by marketing spin…it means you’re easily fooled/shallow/can’t judge for yourself based on “the real facts”).

    Meanwhile my husband and I have been pondering what new car to buy next, since 1) he’s permanently “borrowed” my new/used Infiniti G35 (apparently it has enough sports car cred), and 2) our old Integra is at 220k+ miles.

    We’ll likely get a Prius, because a Prius is the car in SV that people at various status levels/income levels buy. It’s an icon beyond its price point. It’s relatively affordable, yet very wealthy people will own it. That’s unlike other cheaper cars (Honda Fit, Scions, etc.) because those cars signal that that’s all you could afford. The Prius signals that you 1) care about the environment, 2) are interested in “the future”, 3) are supporting new technology — all three of those are “respectable” values to hold in Silicon Valley.

    We already have a higher-end car, we don’t need two of them (it works well for us to have one nice car and one beater car), but I don’t want to send the signal that I don’t have enough money to buy a nicer car. :-) So it’s likely there’s a Prius in our future.

    It’s all context though…there’s no way I’d drive a Prius or the Infiniti in my small home town in Texas, they’d be completely out of their element. There it’s all American sedans, SUVs and pickups.

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