Little rumors of a possible new Camaro...
http://www.autoweek.com/news.cms?newsId=102918Autoweek said:Mustang success motivating GM engineers, reviving talk of Camaro, performance chief says
Posted Date: 8/5/05
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The continued success of Ford’s red-hot Mustang is being noticed at General Motors. There has been talk reviving the Chevrolet Camaro as a competitor to Ford’s pony car.
Mark Reuss, GM’s executive director of vehicle architecture and Performance Division, says his engineers are looking to develop a low-cost rear-wheel drive platform that makes good business sense. Reuss spoke to Automotive News staff reporter Richard Truett at the Management Briefing Seminars.
In light of the success of Ford’s new Mustang, has there been any rethinking of plans to bring back the Camaro or some other competitive car?
Yeah, absolutely. It’s not going unnoticed for sure. I think Ford did a great job with the Mustang, and you really have to look at it as a portfolio of cars. They have everything (in price) from the mid 20s up to 40s on that. They’ve done a nice job. And you have to pay attention to that. For many, many years it was SUVs and four doors. I think the market goes back and forth on a lot of this stuff. I think a coupe with a really great package is a great thing to have. The Pontiac GTO right now is filling our niche in the upper end of the Mustang portfolio. But as we go through time, we look at how do we participate?
The rear-wheel-drive program GM was working on, is it killed, frozen or just not on the front burner?
We would like to have a low-cost, rear-wheel platform in our portfolio, but business is very tough right now. You have to look at that and ask how do we do this on a very profitable basis? We have more brands than just the Ford brand. We are trying to make intelligent decisions on how you do a rear-wheel-drive platform for a couple more brands than a one-branded Ford deal. I think Ford has said the Mustang is the main brand but we are going to do Cobras and all these sub-brands that get us into the higher end. We are probably going to do things that have more brand exposure potentially on a low-cost, rear-drive architecture. Sometimes it gets a little dangerous, quite frankly, about who talks about what and what that person in the media writes about it. Like there is some sort of revelation that we are canceling something or starting something. Quite frankly this is a journey we are on all the time.
Does “low cost” rule out using the Cadillac CTS platform?
Well, I don’t know. If you look at the CTS, you have to look at the good things, such as the straight frame barrels on the front that are very efficient for crush and very stiff for vehicle dynamics. We have an short- and long-arm front suspension and a multi-link rear and those … inherently perform very, very well. There are some cost issues compared to a strut suspension. But the geometry and components that you have in a short- and long-arm architecture could change to make a low-cost rear-wheel-drive architecture. We also have aluminum components. We have some pretty expensive materials in there. There are a lot of different ways to get costs down. Right now we are trying to look at what the portfolio looks like for the next 20 years. What are the things we want to do with it? I don’t think the know-how is lacking. It’s specifically, what do we want to do with it over the next 10 years and then making an efficient business decision to address those needs.
Is the CTS a good size to launch other vehicles off?
We have two different widths, one for rear-wheel drive, one for all-wheel drive. We’ve got a long wheelbase version for China. So there’s a lot of wheelbase flexibility there.
Since the Holden Monaro is going out of production, is there pressure to come up with the next rear-wheel-drive architecture?
It’s not really an initiative as much as it is part of doing the business. We are looking at this stuff all the time. When we are ready to make decisions around what we are going to do there it is going to be a lot of where we want to put the car performance-wise, price-wise and brand-wise. Then we will go from there. That’s kind of how we are approaching it. This is an ongoing thing.
What makes the Pontiac Solstice so special that buyers are lining up for it?
The soul of this car is four-cylinder, 20,000 bucks and low-volume.
How would a GXP version of the Solstice be configured, with a supercharger?
Probably not. If wanted to do something we probably would look more globally on how we want to charge the engine. We could use a turbocharger.
What else is the Performance Division working on?
We are actually doing some things for mainline vehicles, such as uplevel engines and with packaging and execution, things we have not been asked to do in the past. I’m launching the Cadillac XLR-V and STS-V, and Chevrolet Trailblazer SS right now. We are spending a lot of time on those launches making sure those cars are right.
Beyond the engines in the XLR-V and STS-V, will the performance division get any engines out of the new Performance Build Center, where engines are made by hand?
Oh yeah, I think so.