Tag Archives: product

Sitting on your innovation hands

Was riding with a friend just this weekend in his new BMW M3 coupe.

Very sweet car indeed.  Nimble, mid-size chassis.  All alloy 4 liter V8 with 420 horsepower and a six-speed manual (the way it was intended).  Zero to 100 in 4.5 seconds, give or take.  Apart from the bonnet bulge and the dinner-plate brake discs, it’s not too ostentatious.

What makes the M even more sweet is that a standard 3 series coupe (on which the M3 is based) is had with either a 4 or 6 cyl motor and is as quiet and safe as your grandparents need.

As we’re winding up in this exceptional piece of automotive engineering, I couldn’t help but reveal to my friend that this sweet piece of German 4-wheeled fun owed a thank you note to a distant, unlikely relative, the Pontiac GTO.

See, back in the early sixties, the then chief of Pontiac (John Z. DeLorean) hypothesised the concept of putting their big car engines into their mid-size model range, thus creating the muscle car category.  The first muscle car was the 1964 Pontiac GTO and the wider Pontiac brand became a lightning rod for driving excitement.

Pontiac died not long ago, and while there were other business factors that forced this, the brand had been on life support for years before.  It’d lost its value and its distinctive positioning, one that had been accelerated (pun intended) years before by dropping a mountain motor in a mid-size.  This was an innovation that shifted the direction of an entire industry and Pontiac, for a long time owned it.  Unfortunately, they failed to keep it up.  They let the competition catch up and ultimately overtake them.

If you have innovation hands and have shown them, don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll ride that wave forever.  You’ve proven you can do it, so keep on doing it and resetting your competitive distinction.