AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Return of the Chevy Pony Car
In 2009 Chevrolet resurrected the Camaro nameplate. Using a mix of retro inspired style and futuristic design elements, the reborn Camaro commanded road presence and has become a sales success.
While GM’s new small rear-drive platform has been plagued with setbacks and controversy ever since we first heard about it in 2004the General’s next generation premium platform, has run into a further obstacle in the form of excess weight.
As it stands, the Cadillac ATS, scheduled for a 2012-13 introduction, weighs approximately 4000 lbs, about the same as a full-size Ford Crown Victoria Police Inteceptor. Given the Fed’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements for a 35 mpg across an automaker’s fleet of cars and light trucks, having a small, BMW 1-series size car weighing that much is a big problem.
As a result, new powertrain ideas, weight saving composite materials and a re-think of suspension design are just a few of the options being considered. Whether some of these will work at reducing curb weights by around 500 lbs remains to be seen, but if anything Alpha represents almost the classic symptom of today’s society, a program that was conceived with a pure mission statement (small, hot handling rear-drive car) and deviates to the point that it tries to satisfy everybody (larger cars and larger engines) with the end result of becoming another also ran product, requiring a major shift in focus to get back on track.
[Source: GM Inside News]
Current Commodore-based Lumina SS as sold in the Middle East and Africa
Even if General Motors survives its current financial woes, it has a serious problem on its hands regarding future products. Take the Chevy Impala for instance. Sure it’s not very exciting, nor is it much to look at, but its a top seller for GM and not something they would want to mess up – or do without.
GMinsideNews (GMI) is reporting that their sources inside General Motors are indicating a switch to a rear-wheel drive platform for the next Impala. The only problem is, this new version of the car wouldn’t be until 2015. Even worse, the current Impala is slated to stay in production until 2013, leaving a two year gap.
Worse still, just think how outdated the already long-in-the-tooth Impala will be four more years from now. Yikes!
According to GMI, this is how it will play out. The next generation Impala was supposed to be built on the RWD Zeta platform bu that was recently axed in a bid to cut costs. In Australia the Holden Commodore, which rides on the Zeta platform, will use a version of the Camaro’s platform starting in 2011. Once that Commodore is ready to be retired, both it and the next generation Impala will arrive (in 2015) sharing GM’s upcoming Alpha platform – much like how the current G8 shares most everything with the current Holden Commodore.
It sounds like a stretch to us, but as “world cars” are becoming more popular as automakers search for ways to save cash, there is certainly an economic argument for the report.
GMI says the use of the Alpha platform for both the Commodore and Impala in 2015 is under “serious consideration” by GM execs, but these days nothing is certain.
Case in point, just last week GMI reported that the Impala would get a long wheel base of the front-wheel drive Epsilon II platform (which is planned for the next generation Malibu).
According to a report from the regularly reliable folks at GMInsideNews.com, General Motors is holding off on bringing its Alpha platform to market. This is highly disappointing as the Alpha is a mid-sized rear-wheel drive platform that was expected to be the basis of an upcoming 3 Series fighter from Cadillac – much needed considering the CTS has grown to 5 Series proportions.
The apparent reason for the delay is, obviously, funding. The cash-strapped automaker simply doesn’t have the necessary funds to invest at the moment.
If there is any positive news out of this situation it is that the Alpha platform has not been canned but rather delayed. This may mean a genuine American-made 3 Series competitor won’t hit the market until 2014.