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it was a long interview, but here are the sections about the solstice:


Robert A. Lutz, the 73-year-old vice chairman and chief of product development at General Motors, is a proud new parent. His “baby,” the Pontiac Solstice roadster that he conceived less than four years ago, started arriving in dealerships in September. The reviews have been mostly favorable.

In an Oct. 7 interview in New York with James G. Cobb, automobile editor of The New York Times, Mr. Lutz said he was “98 percent” pleased with
the Solstice. He called the sleek $20,000 two-seater “a graphic demonstration of General Motors’ capability to a skeptical world.” Within the
company, he said, the stylish sports car represented “a triumph of the creative group” over a more analytical, slow-moving bureaucracy.

Q: Are you going to make a supercharged Solstice? Surely you are working on something?

A. Well, not surely, because like Mazda I think we can sell the thing for years and years with the power it’s got. But - there is a demand for higher
horsepower, and we certainly haven’t announced anything, but you know that we have various versions of the Ecotec engine, both here and in Europe,
that develop in excess of 200 horsepower. So basic powertrains are pretty much available.

Q. How many Solstices can you sell?

A. It is really a question of how many can we build. Right now we’re supposed to be building 100 a day. I mean that is our ultimate daily capacity.
Right now we are at about – that would be about 22,000, 23,000 a year. Right now we are at 90 per day because we still have some individual finessing issues that will get solved. I mean, every Solstice that goes out is of impeccable quality to the customer. It’s just taking us excess labor hours to get there with every car, because some stuff has to be hand-finessed for perfect fits, and ultimately we are going to automate that.

Q. Is that part of the reason for the delays?

A. It wasn’t delayed that much. Originally we were hoping to bring it out in July, and I think finally we got it out - in July was it, Marc? Yes, early
September. We lost a couple of months. Yes it was sheet metal finesse issues. In the old days, to the old G.M. standard, we would have shipped.

I have one at home, and to their credit the team asked me not to drive the car around, because everybody will think that’s what we’re building. I said,
“Look give me a big credit thing, one of those magnetic things you can stick on the side of your car. We will put a disclaimer on it saying, ‘This car
not built to regular production specification. Production cars will not have exhibit the unsightly gaps that you see at certain corners of this car.”

I tell you, all of my acquaintances looked at the car and said, ‘It’s fabulous, it’s the best thing G.M. has ever done,” and I said, “Well, we’re still
working on this little corner down here by the headlight.”

“Oh, yeah, now that you point that out, I notice it.”

But we were — I tell you, in the old days, we would have shipped, we would have shipped in June…

We did lose a little time, too. For instance, we adopted a much tougher water leak standard than our competitors. We had everybody else’s convertible
in the leak tests. And we couldn’t find a roadster of anybody’s make, any country of origin, that was really watertight. But we wanted the Solstice
absolutely completely watertight, luggage compartment and passenger compartment.

We really kept revising seals until we had a perfect system.

A funny story: That eight-minute test is almost like putting the car under Niagara Falls. It is an incredible deluge of water for eight full minutes. One of
our competitors has an impeccable roof-sealing system, so no water came in through the side glass or over the windshield header. But the car filled
with water anyway, because what happened was the whole heater plenum got flooded faster than it could drain, and it overflowed down through the
heater vents. I mean, the water just poured through the heater, and we had 2 to 3 inches of water in the bottom of the car at the end. But the top didn’t
leak!

I am really happy with the Solstice, and the [Saturn] Sky will launch on time because all of the issues that we discovered with the Solstice will
obviously all be taken care of with the Sky.

Q. When is that coming?

A. Sort of January-ish.

We’ll have – at the winter and spring automobile shows we will have plenty of them on the floor.
 

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Not much information but it is very good information.

I believe Bob about shipping cars with bad fitment years ago. I am thrilled that they are not doing that anymore. This is one of the keys to regaining people who swear by foreign cars. Reliability is not an issue anymore, as GM is as reliable as most foreign makes. But people still cite "fit and finish" issues. So I am happy to hear they are now not satisfied with poor fit and finish.

I am very unhappy to hear Bob say the turbo won't be needed for years. I am chosing not to believe this, because I want one so badly. If true, I'm going to be crushed. I am not sure I can live with the base motor's power. I think I can, but I really want something north of 225 HP in this car, to make it feel lighter and more responsive.

In my delusion, I am going to believe Lutz is saying that to throw off the competition and the GXP will be offered on time in 2007. I can't help but believe it, or I'm going to go :crazy:
 

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jimbo said:
Not much information but it is very good information.

I believe Bob about shipping cars with bad fitment years ago. I am thrilled that they are not doing that anymore. This is one of the keys to regaining people who swear by foreign cars. Reliability is not an issue anymore, as GM is as reliable as most foreign makes. But people still cite "fit and finish" issues. So I am happy to hear they are now not satisfied with poor fit and finish.

I am very unhappy to hear Bob say the turbo won't be needed for years. I am chosing not to believe this, because I want one so badly. If true, I'm going to be crushed. I am not sure I can live with the base motor's power. I think I can, but I really want something north of 225 HP in this car, to make it feel lighter and more responsive.

In my delusion, I am going to believe Lutz is saying that to throw off the competition and the GXP will be offered on time in 2007. I can't help but believe it, or I'm going to go :crazy:
Look for the turbo in June 2007. One of the chief line engineers from Wilmington was at a car show on Saturday where I had my Solstice on display. He provided that info and a few other tidbits.
 

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"I am very unhappy to hear Bob say the turbo won't be needed for years. I am chosing not to believe this, because I want one so badly. If true, I'm going to be crushed. I am not sure I can live with the base motor's power. I think I can, but I really want something north of 225 HP in this car, to make it feel lighter and more responsive."
You misread his comment - he said that, like the Miata, he COULD sell
the car as is for years, but then mentioned the demand out there for more power, and that they have it available in several forms right now.
 

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I would have prefered if Bob simply said, "wait and see". He talked me into a world of worry. Thanks for putting my fears to rest. Sure, I could go with an aftermarket turbo, but I vastly prefer the factory support that comes with a factory produced and maintained turbocharged powerplant. Glad you could put that rumor to rest.
 

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jimbo said:
I would have prefered if Bob simply said, "wait and see". He talked me into a world of worry. Thanks for putting my fears to rest. Sure, I could go with an aftermarket turbo, but I vastly prefer the factory support that comes with a factory produced and maintained turbocharged powerplant. Glad you could put that rumor to rest.
Easy Jimbo, Kingart has it right. It's just a little outside of Lutz's dream and therefore of less importance to him so he tends to de emphasize it seeing the abreviated development process and the launch of the n/a version as the focus of the Solstice success story. He did not say it wouldn't happen soon at all. It does start to sound like it's introduction will be shared by the Sky however, but this just leads me to continue to think it will all happen next spring. Get your checkbook ready. :lol:
 

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My Source was correct....

Proves me right on my "SOURCE". If you check my records in a earlier thread, I stated the Solstice Production would be shared with the "SKY" in January. Also stated most of the other orders on hold will not be delivered until next summer (orders not part of the 1st allocation). Sad news for those that are waiting for a Solstice. Good news for our Saturn Sky brethren. Anyway, I do hope they can get all the fit issues automated soon. That is the last and only hope to speed up production. Just got my VIN # this week, but I'm hoping for the best for everyone on the forum! :yesnod:
 

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Makes me happy someone of prominence mentioned the Sky production would begine Januaryish... but I still wonder if that means anytime in January or around January...Crossing my fingers that it is early January and Skys wil be delivered in march... or early april
 

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Classic66vair said:
Makes me happy someone of prominence mentioned the Sky production would begine Januaryish... but I still wonder if that means anytime in January or around January...Crossing my fingers that it is early January and Skys wil be delivered in march... or early april
The line engineer from Wilmington whom I spoke with yesterday said the target date is February 6th, with cars to dealers my mid or late April.
 

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Do you remember the name of the "line engineer" you talked to, SolsticeWaiting?

My own sources somewhat contradict yours, and I've been advised several times that info like this is unlikely to have been given out by a GM engineer, as most of them are told that this is confidential information and not to be talked about outside of the corporation.

Just what I was told, so don't shoot the messenger.
 

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solsticeman said:
Do you remember the name of the "line engineer" you talked to, SolsticeWaiting?

My own sources somewhat contradict yours, and I've been advised several times that info like this is unlikely to have been given out by a GM engineer, as most of them are told that this is confidential information and not to be talked about outside of the corporation.

Just what I was told, so don't shoot the messenger.
He asked if I was going to share this info, to not use names. I can't vouch for him other than our brief conversation. He said 5 Sky test mules were made, and he was going to Michigan where 5 more were to be built. He also said that Saturn was going to have a First 550 program, and each IP badge would be individually numbered, unlike the Solstice. He didn't say if the VIN # would correspond.
 

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SolsticeWaiting said:
He asked if I was going to share this info, to not use names. I can't vouch for him other than our brief conversation. He said 5 Sky test mules were made, and he was going to Michigan where 5 more were to be built. He also said that Saturn was going to have a First 550 program, and each IP badge would be individually numbered, unlike the Solstice. He didn't say if the VIN # would correspond.
did he mention how these first 550 would be allocated?
 

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ntouched said:
Proves me right on my "SOURCE". If you check my records in a earlier thread, I stated the Solstice Production would be shared with the "SKY" in January. Also stated most of the other orders on hold will not be delivered until next summer (orders not part of the 1st allocation). Sad news for those that are waiting for a Solstice. Good news for our Saturn Sky brethren. Anyway, I do hope they can get all the fit issues automated soon. That is the last and only hope to speed up production. Just got my VIN # this week, but I'm hoping for the best for everyone on the forum! :yesnod:
Guess I'm missing this...how does Sky production effect Solstice? Sure the platform is shared but are you saying they steal capacity from Solstice to make Sky? There are many less Saturn dealers in U.S. so probably less production for Sky. We always thought 20k Solstice and 10k Sky would be breakdown.
 

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Classic66vair said:
did he mention how these first 550 would be allocated?
No, no mention of how that process will take place ... HOPEFULLY it's not tied to another TV promotion!! :willy:
 

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mceb said:
Guess I'm missing this...how does Sky production effect Solstice? Sure the platform is shared but are you saying they steal capacity from Solstice to make Sky? There are many less Saturn dealers in U.S. so probably less production for Sky. We always thought 20k Solstice and 10k Sky would be breakdown.
From my understanding the time it takes to make the hydroformed body panels is what holds the production of the Solstice down to 20,000 per 12 month year... the Sky with different panels will require a different set of molds to form the panels, so it will be a separate issue... I don't think the addition of the Sky will effect the number of Solstces that will be built.
the 20K sols and 10K Sky's is still the figure that I have heard.
 

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ntouched said:
Also stated most of the other orders on hold will not be delivered until next summer (orders not part of the 1st allocation). Sad news for those that are waiting for a Solstice.
Well, they wanted a summer delivery and now they are going to get it, just the wrong summer! :lol:

Frankly, if I lived in snow country, I would prefer if they would hold up delivery until after the winter.
 

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What plant is making Sky's? If Delaware is making Sky's then Sol's will be down obviously as production is shared. I hope this is not the case for the sol as I am waiting for one (ordered). Also I can't find info on SKY preorders as my local dealer says we'll put you on our "list of interested" when I asked if they are accepting orders. Palm Beach Florida should have allocation but maybe they are already sold out of first allocation?
 

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Same plant as Solstice, and no Saturn dealer as of today can place an order for a SKY, all they are doing is keeping a list, some dealers require a down payment others as in the case of the Saturn dealer in WPB, no deposits at this time, your name will just be added to the list.
 

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deepsol06 said:
What plant is making Sky's? If Delaware is making Sky's then Sol's will be down obviously as production is shared. I hope this is not the case for the sol as I am waiting for one (ordered). Also I can't find info on SKY preorders as my local dealer says we'll put you on our "list of interested" when I asked if they are accepting orders. Palm Beach Florida should have allocation but maybe they are already sold out of first allocation?
see my post number 15 for the answer if the Solstice production will be effected by Sky production...
 
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