I'm not exactly sure what you're getting at when you say the markups are an example of the manufacturers missing an opportunity. Do you mean the opportunity to sell a high-spec car at a much higher price? Or do you mean they priced the car too low?
I feel like I should push back on your assertion that you only ever see markups on performance cars. I would argue that your perception is perhaps misled by the fact that performance cars are often halo vehicles that 1. get lots of press (and therefore sales attention) and 2. aren't often built in mass market quantities. As a result, very-early cars are going to have very high price adjustments attached to them (due to businesses optimizing profits under supply and demand) because enough people with money are willing to pay to be the proverbial first kid on the block, and you're much more likely to hear about it because of the existing hype.
Then I'd add a prime counter-example: when it debuted, the PT Cruiser (now widely panned on the internet as being a truly terrible car) saw similar dealer markups (percentage-wise) as you're likely to see with the C8 (on average, sure there's going to be dealers trying to sell their very first unit for like $200k) - it wasn't unheard of to find out someone paid $5k over MSRP to get one. I'm also under the impression that the latest-generation Lincoln Navigator land whale also had dealer markups because of limited supply. The Prowler also saw pretty big markups, despite not being nearly as fast as its (very arguable) good looks might suggest.
I couldn't agree with you more that the great majority of sports cars are sold based on the promise of performance even though their owners may never approach those limits. I'd add the argument that some sports cars (especially the exotic variety) are Veblen goods - their desirability is (in part) due to their high price. The Veyron you mentioned is a prime example.
Regarding the small number of Vettes at trackdays; I think thats why the "waxer" sterotype exists.
Im saying that big premiums(past first year gotta have it crowd) means the manufacturers are not producing sufficient quantity and or playing short term cynical(stupid rich people) marketing games. That doesent mean they should overproduce but ferrari for years way underproduced creating their own premiums and long term brand erosion probelms. They did make lots of money on expesive worthless options though.
Now as some argue that shortage built brand desireability, but it was double edged sword and created long term brand erosion by alienating a core customer base, and created space for serious competition.. Maclren for one could never have gotten where they are if not for so many pissed off ferrari enthusiast drivers. Additionaly catering to the poseir crowd meant the product lost its very viceral nature in the quest to become useable to the lawyers wife.
Once you start marketing exclusivelky to the "collector/poseur" crowd as ferrari did, you alienate a key core customer base. yes theyll buy used that is untill there is an alternative. real driver care very little for "brand" other than some brands consistently make great cars. Ferrai today makes some really cool stuff, but mostly its handbags for men, with negative stigma.
I'll take myself as an example. I already owned a ferrari(still own it), wanted to buy a 430 new, couldnt even get on the list without playing dealer games, buying what I didnt want etc.
later on I tried a 458 because it looked so great and only had a 18mos wait list which was ok, but their product by then was bland to drive most of the time on road and not really a track machine so of little interest, but I was a buyer for a speciale which you couldnt get unless you were figuratively prepared to drop on your knees and suck ...
It was the same experience at porche for me, twice I had a deposit on a 997 Gt3 and twice after 6 months they said sold out.
I'll bet in every case those cars I wanted sold to poseurs who squireled them away as "investments" or to drive to cars and coffee. So ferrari and porche lost a current and future customer, pretty much for life. they also lost an enthusiast customer who would really use the car therby growing the durable enthisiast base.
Today the mood at those companies is different, sales are important to them not least because they created their own competition. Maclren and Lanbo both have sales ferrari might have had, and if the me vette is really good it will have porche sales,
Now porche has the religion, after the 911R they decided to actualy make some more cars their core customers want to buy and in enough quantity to satisfy demand, as they said theyre not a hedge fund. Still for me I would either buy a Gt3 Rs which you cant get or a regualr Gt3 with stick which you cant get either. Inetrestingly a GT2 was 300 over list but I hear theyre selling really low miles for list or below. So I think maybe the whole new car instant collectable rpemium BS is comiing to an end, The invisible hand rules.
PT cruisers sold on looks for 1 year but otherwise were a bad car and didnt sustain prices.
Whats interesting is were told no one wants a stick, yet Gt4 sales doubled cayman sales, the Honda R still has premiums and theyre stick.
I just think sometime manufactuers forget there are real enthusiasts out there who like to drive, and that they can and will buy a viceral car if ts good.
And for me the journey has been great in terms of its conclusion I have two Lotus, one for the road and one for track. Whenever I drive another car it just seems so lacking in comparison. I hardley ever use my m3 and my BBi gets the ocasional drive just because. Mostly on road daily I drive a truck, and for weekenbds its pretty much lotus. But then lotus was the last real sportscar manufacturer left.
Frankly I cant see paying all that extra $$$ for premium brand when off the rack cars are argualbly better these days,.
The vette will do well, hopefully they will make a light version for those of us who really like to drive, as well as the 1000 hp version for those who love paper stats.
The problem with vettes at trackdays is partly owner profile, but also theyre GM cars, so they really dont work out the box on track, you have to change a few bits you shoudlnt have to like brake lines, newer fast vettes like the z06 are aslo too heavy, and all of them are twichy at the limit because theyre flexible. On the other hand you can buy a used C6 z06 for 50k put 20k into and have giant slayer so the potential is there, but then thres always cayman which works out the box, as does many a lotus so why bother with a heavy not very precise vette.
Maybe the me car changes this, but according to chevy its only 10% stiffer and its heavier still. Hopefully later versions will have the goods because Ill bet the vette development team know what thyre doing and can do it if allowed to..
Still for 75K today given the choice I'd buy a renault alpine, maybe I'm just warped, but how you go fast is just as important as how fast you go. Nearly every manufacturer has forgotten that, I hope Geely lotus does not.
In fact i hope chevy and lotus use a Gt3 as a template, a really viceral fast road car that also works on track, because its stiff tubbed, has good suspension steering and brakes with a really nice motor. Ferrai invented that street track template with the 250swb, lotus sort of did it with the elise(if you dont mind the crude) porche has come close with the Gt3(for a price and ass engine) and now its time for someone else to do it better.