Contrary to media reports, there will NOT be any new DeLoreans produced in Houston. Sorry to burst the media's bubble, but this is yet another example of an entirely dishonest, wholly deceitful, and downright unethical marketing campaign coming from a company struggling to remain relevant in today's society. So why the mainstream media coverage? Sadly, the major news channels are more interested in this thing we Americans call "ratings" than providing factual or researched content. It's up to the "little guy" to do fact-checking. So let's do some, shall we?
The most important factor to look at in the viability of a business venture is its history. Have previous attempts been made in the past? Were they successful? Things get particularly interesting when the company we are benchmarking and the company we are comparing the history of is one in the same. The usual consensus in this case is that unless factors have changed dramatically, the outcome will remain the same. In DMC Houston's case, the same is true.
In case anyone here has forgotten about the history of DMC Houston's many anticlimactic claims that have turned out to be blatantly false, here's an infographic:
It's literally been nine years since DMC Houston first promised a "new" DeLorean, with at least three of the ventures since then failing miserably. "Boy who cried wolf" is an understatement, at this point "new DeLorean" is without any actual meaning. But let's put aside history for a moment and humor the thought that history won't repeat itself. To do this, we need to look at DMC Houston as somewhat of a start-up, even though they have been in business long enough to fuck us all (no, seriously, they're 18 now, look it up). To measure a manufacturing start-up, we need to factor in the following criteria:
- Supply and demand for the product
- Ability to bring product to market
- Marketability of the result
So we are first looking at supply and demand. Given a 300 car maximum, supply is relatively low. How about the demand? Well there has certainly a lot of interest, but the good news is that we already have a price point -- $100,000 -- that DMC Houston has set. Even better news is that we have pre-existing examples of an extremely similar product thanks to the 35 years since the DeLorean DMC-12 first came to market. Back then this was a hot commodity at $25,000, but is it still viable at $100,000?
Hagerty doesn't seem to think so. Their valuation tools state that a Concours DeLorean, regardless of year, currently sells for $40,000, dipping from September's price of $46,000. This is, for all intents and purposes, as close to a "new DeLorean" price as we can get at this point. For the sake of argument, we'll go with the higher $46,000 value. Now, in order to justify the remaining $54,000, there needs to be a significant improvement to the product, one that literally more than doubles its value, in order for it to be commercially viable. So what does this new DeLorean have?
Claims of 300-400 horsepower are just about all I've seen come to light. In other words, another engine swap. Surely we can price out an engine swap and base our opinions off of that, right? Well, not exactly. In addition to engine swaps being even more unique than the DeLorean itself, they are always made with custom parts, sans a few "tame" variants that simply use altered PRV engines, and there is no set standard for how to properly swap an engine. Pricing for these is not only incredibly difficult, but also fluctuates wildly on a case-by-case basis. The closest we can come to that is the one sold on eBay with a Buick V6 in it, at over 500 HP. Sounds like a decent comparison, until you realize it sold in February 2014 for under $19,000. I'll give DMC Houston the benefit of a doubt with regards to the upgrade hurting prices as it clearly did in the Buick V6's case.
As far as price goes, how it translates into sales remains to be seen. That being said, engine swaps rarely come up for sale, and when they do, the price is often very low. This is mostly due to the niche within the niche that they present: not only is a DeLorean hard to find service centers to begin with, but engine swaps are also notoriously difficult to service as they provide nonstandard parts. No one seems willing to inherit someone else's mess. The result is an engine swap that can only be serviced by a DMC facility, something many DeLorean owners do not wish to do.
Next on the list: ability to bring it to market. This is nonexistent. From their failed angle drives to their heavily criticized dashboards, most of the more complex DMC Houston products made from scratch are flops. Bearing in mind that the DeLorean requires safety redesign in order to meet modern crash test standards in addition to the drivetrain overhaul, they have, to date, only reproduced parts with no new design. DMC Houston lacks any and all trace of manufacturing expertise.
Last, but not least, the marketability of the end result. They have at most 300 buyers, but can they secure enough to produce this? Considering that their similarly-priced Electric Vehicle conversion has yet to break the single digit sales barrier, I strongly doubt this. Beyond an engine swap that can be had for far cheaper than $100,000, there is literally nothing to entertain the thought that they can.
So there you have it, an in-depth, detailed analysis of exactly why I believe DMC Houston is headed by professional liars. With Stephen Wynne at the helm of this decade-long profiteering propaganda, I have no choice but to believe he must be quite the narcissist. Cue angry emails from the brainwashed masses...