Buyers of Big Three cars will soon be constrained to mainly trim packages (I.e. Honda's DX, LX, and EX) as opposed to picking and choosing from a litany of individual options. A part of the domestic automakers' desperate scramble to build vehicles in more efficient ways, it's surprising they've waited until 2009 to make a big change in this realm.
Chevrolet Venture Warner Brothers EditionEnlarge Photo
Let's compare a domestic with an import. The 2008 Ford Fusion could be optioned 2,600 different ways. The 2010 version: only 104. But that's still a labyrinthine options list compared to either the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, which combined offered buyers a total of only 15 unique versions but sold over 800,000 units in 2008.
So what this means to you, the consumer, is that ultra-limited-special-deluxe editions are going the way of the dodo. Automotive iconoclasts like the 1976 Lincoln Mark IV Emilio Pucci Designer Edition seem forever consigned to memory, that car's silver Normande Grain landau vinyl roof, silver and lipstick red pinstriping, and red or silver bodyside moldings a quaint nod to a rococo past. Presumably, we'll also see fewer half-baked co-branding exercises like the Chevrolet Venture Warner Brothers Edition.
None of this applies, of course, if you're a billionaire on your way to the dealer to customize your very own '09 Maybach Zeppelin, one of only 100 to be built. May we tempt you with an exclusive console-mounted perfume atomizer, Madame?
[source: Detroit News]