Excuse Me GM, But Could You Build a High-Performance SUV For Old Men?

For purveyors of fine sports cars and serendipitous speed an alarming trend is beginning to emerge, Baby Boomers are swapping their low-slung coupes and roadsters for high performance versions of supersized SUVs.

The new found lucidity comes courtesy of age, as men born post-WWII begin reaching 70, the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon routine of ingress and egress is a rather tepid prospect, despite the face melting performance on tap below the right foot.

“Boomers are starting to age out of sports cars,” said Eric Noble, president of the CarLab, told Automotive News “When you get into your 60s, comfort becomes more important. Sports cars are not going away, but the market will get smaller.”

Cars like Chevrolet’s Corvette and Camaro one-two punch are suffering because of it. Camaro sales are down 11-percent from last year, however much of that can be attributed to lower fleet sales as retail numbers are only a single percent off. The Corvette however is suffering an inexplicable 14 percent downturn.

Unfortunately, it would seem the meaty part of the performance passenger car market is turning to a hardly surprising segment in search of their fast fix: hot-rod supersport Sport Utilities.

“I don’t have one reason why it’s down,” said Todd Christensen, marketing manager for the Camaro and Corvette. “Boomers are still buying them, for sure.”

Thanks to the sporty SUV coming of age courtesy of European brands from Germany and England, older buyers can opt for a more practical purchase, one that satisfies both their aging bodies and their growing grand kids without giving up driving bliss.

BMW, Mercedes, Range Rover, Porsche and more recently Audi and Jaguar are making money hand over fist by stuffing high powered engines into 5,000-lb SUVs and charging customers north of six figures for the privilege of ownership.

This is why General Motors needs a hi-po SUV, either wearing a Corvette or Cadillac crest–the Corvette’s traditional demographic is taking the $130,000 previously earmarked for, say a well optioned Z06, and instead are heading to their local Teutonic dealership and plunking down for something like the AMG’s GLS63 or Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo S.

These buyers are not abandoning spirited driving, just abandoning sports cars in the traditional sense. Wouldn’t it be smart to try and keep them in the family?

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