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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I guess this is related to the conversation in the Forum Member Retention thread. One thing the Miata Forum folks have done for years is making up small cards that direct people to the forum and then sticking one on any other Miatas (Souls) you see. I'm pretty sure at least a few folks have been "enlightened" that way.

Also, I am a bit surprised the excitement at a local, regional and even the national level seems to be waning a bit as far was groups forming and getting together. Perhaps I'm wrong but I don't see any regional or national get togethers such as many groups have...including special interest groups like Muscle Cars, Electric Cars, Packards, Edsels, Bristish Roadsters, etc. I would think that KIA-USA might throw a little money and PR at it and encourage people to fall in love with their cars rather than just drive them. The whole Hamster thing seems to be all about car personality so why not continue to milk the fun and personality factor by sponsoring some regional drives, national meet-up or similar? The Miata is all about fun and almost always a third car in the garage. Maybe the Soul has already gotten too utilitarian to been seen as special, fun and cool?

My .02.
 

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I printed out copies of the website for here and the two other Souls sites I know about. (And KGIS, which I'll probably drop from the next batch since they went pay) I haven't put any on other cars, but if I see the owner I offer them a copy. Most are rather MEH about it, but they usually accept it.
Don't know if any have signed up anywhere or not.

Unfortunately, I haven't found any Soul clubs locally.
 

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I agree about Miata clubs and advertising. (I have an MX5) Many Miata clubs are active, but remember they have been around for quite sometime, and the Miata is in a class my itself really, it has alot of interest compared to many other model cars. In addition you will notice performance is a huge part for many owners and generates alot of the interest including of course racing, it isn't for the Soul.

That said I just don't have time to start or maintain a Soul club but would like to have some get togethers of Soul owners if a club was active near me.
 

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The Kia Soul does not seem to be a niche car. They're everywhere! Besides being fun, for an old Gear Head like me, on limited budget, they are very utilitarian.

I see almost as many Souls on the road with Company advertising on them as I do without. Soul drivers range from 18 yrs old to 80+ yrs old.

Several attempts have been made to form some kind of Soul owners group here in FL, and to my knowledge none have ever born fruit.

I've offered several times, to even just meet with one Soul owner or another, for lunch or drinks........ Nothing!
I've even offered to do FREE Oil Changes at my place, (BYOO) and still no interest.

Apparently, Soul owners, as a group, are just not gregarious.

Look at how few Soul owners there are on this forum, compared to the number of Souls on the roads of this great country. (and Canada, Australia, EU, etc.)

that's my own 2c worth.

:cool:
 

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I agree that efforts to publicize this site are worth a shot, though I'd rather do it by bumper sticker or window decal than to put little cards on people's doors or windshields (litter problem from those who are disinterested). The turbodiesel forum I belong to sells license-plate frames ("Yes, it's a diesel/TDIClub.com") which serve as ID among site "members" (and the uninitiated) and as a fundraiser for the site.

I think there's a key difference in this context between Souls and Miatas -- Miatas hardly ever are the first car people buy and (I'm guessing) most Miata owners have another car or two because it's not the most utilitarian vehicle. But, yes, the Soul does engage people the way the Miata does. It would be nice to capture the enthusiasm people have for their Souls. Unless we're the outliers and people are less engaged with their cars than we think.
 

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The Kia Soul does not seem to be a niche car. They're everywhere! Besides being fun, for an old Gear Head like me, on limited budget, they are very utilitarian.

I see almost as many Souls on the road with Company advertising on them as I do without. Soul drivers range from 18 yrs old to 80+ yrs old.


:cool:
So true, it's perfect for junkyard runs, daily drives, and tire hauling to events. I think a huge part of the market sees the Soul as just another car and aren't really enthusiasts. I looked around the DFW are for even just a Kia meet up but can't really find anything.
 

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Hawker, the fact that you own a Miata means you'll get what I'm going to say.

The Miata is not a car that people buy with their head, they buy it with their heart. It embodies all the fun of a lightweight, good handling sportscar into the same civilized package that was the MGB or MG Midget back in the day. That's why it has sold so consistently well over the years. Most people don't buy one with a thought to its every day practicality. It's a toy, you take out on fine days for fun. You don't go down to Lowes to buy lumber in it.

The Soul on the other hand gets bought far more with the head than the heart. It's a good, practical all-round useful car that does lots of things pretty well. It's not a sportscar, but you can chuck it about within reason and have some fun with it and then bring home a table and 4 chairs. I know, I've done it. Despite the advertising, they are not bought in large numbers by hip-hop playing gangstas nor guys who dress like George Clooney on a red-carpet or ladies who dress like Catwoman. They are bought more by people who shop for a car with their practical head on wearing comfortable shoes and clothing. Such people are generally not "Car Guys"...........I use that term in the Barry Meguiar, all human species encompassing term that identifies those with the "car" gene.

Car Guys love cars, so it is inevitable that a car such as the Miata has a big following because people who buy cars with their hearts are more likely to carry the gene in their bloodstream than someone who looks only at the practicality of a vehicle as the primary decision maker in what they buy. Obviously, out of all the Miata owners there's a percentage who have no interest in club organized events, get togethers or motor racing or are maybe just shy. They just want to drive their fun car and have fun with maybe only one other person.

The Soul owners I know personally and the ones I see on here are composed of quite a large number of people who quite obviously carry the "car" gene. They are driving enthusiasts who often have a history with "personalized" cars. They buy any car and can't leave it alone. They are never happier than when they are behind the wheel of their Soul, but I bet they've been that way with everything they ever drove.

We all know what other Soul drivers we see are like. I wonder if half of them are on Vallium. They seem to drive as though they are on their way to a "Walking Dead" zombie extras audition and they're getting "in character". Their eyes are fixed ahead, brow furrowed as if trying to remember what is on special at Walmart this week. A while back I printed up a load of half-page flyers for the Soul Club Of Ontario and this Forum. I met these Zoulmbies in big-box store car-parks. Rolled up a flyer and stabbed them in the head with it to release them from the "practical car hell" they had found their minds stuck in. Well.......stuck a flyer under their windshield wiper actually. I have NEVER, EVER had anyone appear here, on Facebook, or wherever and state that is how they heard about us. Even had a long conversation with a lovely lady with a nice Soul with personal plates who was totally gung-ho for the idea of a local Soul Club and doing cruises out in the countryside and stuff.............never heard a peep from her.

As regards events there was "Hamsters In The Mist" held annually at Niagara Falls NY because the proximity to Canada allowed us Canadians to attend and mix with our US cousins. This started off with all good intentions, mainly fired by people on the Soul Hamsters Forum, but gradually fizzled out due to the impracticalities of using a public car-park in a place where nobody who attended actually lived. This meant organizing anything for the day didn't really happen and it is illogical for people to drive huge distances for a one-day event when there's nothing much to do apart from go look at the Falls (awesome if you've never been before), look at other Souls and picnic at the mercy of the weather (which wasn't always kind). It was supposed to be the big "International" event, but last summer's event had less vehicles attend than the Soul Club Of Ontario have had turn up for some of our cruises out in the Ontario countryside.

Our main problem in North America is geographical distance. The REALLY big car events tend to be held at Showgrounds and span several days. Most are long-standing events and attract thousands of participants. You can't build that kind of event overnight. It takes years and it takes a real hard-core of dedicated Car Guys who want to attend in large numbers to make it viable for sponsors to be found. They also need the disposable income to pay for gas and Hotels for a multi-day event miles from home. If you don't have that large number of potential attendees, even the most entrepreneurial organizer can't justify the "What's in it for me?" questions they will get from potential sponsors.

KIA is in the business of selling cars. They sponsor all sorts of mainstream sporting competitions because people through the gate and TV camera coverage project the brand to lots of eyes. Sponsoring a KIA car event means they would be preaching to the converted, so where's their bang for their buck? It all comes down to economy of scale. If the potential numbers of attendees through the gate isn't high enough, then it's not viable to run an event. If the potential pool of owners in this case consists of a huge proportion of people who do not carry the "car" gene, then it makes the whole concept impractical.

That, unfortunately is where the Soul is now. A victim of it's own practical and improved design. As long as the majority are being driven by Zoulmbies who never wave back at us Car Guys then there's nothing we can do but stick together in small groups and hold out.

We're friends with the chick with the sword and the kid in the hat.

 

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Funny you should mention going to Lowes for lumber. I've done that many times. I can get a bail of 8' 2x4's in my car. I just put a blanket over the dashboard and lay down the front seat and the back seat, stuff em' in and away we go.

If I had to get some 12' planks, I'd just lay them on a blanket on the roof and strap them down and head for the house.

I once even carried 400# of concrete mix in the back. She's an all-weather pickup truck in disguise!!! lol

My Cable TV company has a Soul as a Service Vehicle and the Local TV station has one for a News Vehicle.

Like I've said before...... "They're great little Utility vehicles and they're everywhere!"

:cool:
 

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MT-ED hit it. I indeed bought the Miata/MX5 with the heart. I love two seaters, loved that it was a traditional car like an MG or Triumph compared to the GM SKY for instance. The actual cost, features etc were not extremely important. It is the most fun car I have ever owned.
I have added several performance features, and I do not race but my friend does and we go the track often where he races his.

The Soul was bought after comparing different cars, their features, price, and looks. I feel the Soul offers a very good value, is versatile, the 2014 has a very nice interior and I happen to really like the overall looks. The Exclaim with the Sun and sound package was pretty much spot on what I wanted. It isn't something you really think first about for racing. :)

As I posted I would like a get together of Souls just as I do go to Miata events. My car is in Ct at this time, but soon to be in Florida, maybe we can have a get together there....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
MT-ED, thank for the well thought out post. You make some excellent points.

The only thing I'd mention regarding the Miata crowd; every year for the last twelve I've been to an event called Miatas at the Gap. 400-500 cars and there are no formal sponsors. Just Miata nuts who show up to look at and show off their cars and.....drive. Lots of driving on the very curvy roads of Deals Gap on the NC-TN border. Over the years more and more independent vendors have shown up but again there Isno event sponsor, it's just taken on a life of it's own. BUT, yes these are all people with the car-gene. :). Thanks Bro.
 

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Kind of connected to the Lowes mention, I have a story which took place at Home Depot on a lovely sunny day. Kind of the other end of the spectrum.

My wife and I were at our local store a couple of Springs ago at the height of when everyone is buying plants and flowers. We did our shopping and came out to see two ladies with a white MGB who had bought way more trays and pots of plants than was sensible to try and fit in a two-seater sports car. The soft-top was down and they had pots of plants stuffed in the passenger foot-well, behind the seats, between the seats and even balanced on the folded soft-top. The driver was already seated and her passenger stuffed a few more plants around her, then carefully got in herself and balanced a tray of perennials on her lap while trying to secure the seat belt in the jungle. Once they were seated it looked like their two heads were poking up out of a flower bed..........too funny!

I was kicking myself that I hadn't got my camera with me because it would have made an awesome and funny photograph. Now we never go anywhere without a small point and shoot camera at hand. You never know what you're going to see.
 
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