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Old 02-26-2007, 10:48 AM   #1
mhoward1
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Default Camaro could be a Caddy (sort of)

Could the same rear-wheel-drive platform General Motors Corp. plans to use for the new Chevrolet Camaro also be used for a new rear-wheel-drive and/or all-wheel-drive ultra-luxury Cadillac?


2003 Sixteen Concept

GM vice chairman and product guru Robert Lutz recently acknowledged it was a possibility during a conversation with journalists earlier this month at theChicago auto show.

Lutz noted that as part of global product strategy, GM would have fewer but more flexible platforms that would accommodate a wider range of vehicles and vehicle designs. Specifically, the new Camaro platform could be used for other vehicles. Lutz also hinted part of the reason for the delay in moving forward with the Camaro - it's now set to appear in 2009 - has been the need to extend the utility of the fundamental architecture so it could serve as the platform for other vehicles as well.

"What you've got to understand is that we've got this modular product architecture kit where we have two different lengths of center underbodies, two different lengths of front rails and two different lengths of rear overhang. So we can modify those elements any way we want. In the case of the Camaro, it's long short, short. If, for instance, we wanted to do a very large rear-wheel-drive Cadillac with more than eight cylinders you could do long, long, long," Lutz said.

"It's like a Lego set-you weld them together anyway you want," he added.

So far, however, GM hasn't said publicly it plans to go ahead with an ultra-luxury Cadillac. However, executives such as Mark LaNeve, GM vice president of sales, service and marketing have said they would like to move forward with an upscale Cadillac that could compete with cars such as the BMW 7-Series or the new Lexus LS460.

Lutz' remarks reflect one of the new realities that will have a profound influence on the car business in the years to come. Capital is in relatively short supply and with the exception of Toyota, the cost of borrowing has gone up dramatically for automakers all over the world. Thus, finding ways to conserve capital by spinning off more products from one basic investment has become essential.

Lutz also noted that GM is continuing to pool its product resources from around the world. "It doesn't matter where it is. It's all one organization. We've finally realized not every region has to do their own product," he said.

Even decisions on which engines to use in which products, which have traditionally been left to regional managers, are being shaped by global forces now, Lutz said.

"One of the answers, which is being increasingly adopted in Europe and we plan to use it too, is to use engines in cars that are fundamentally way too small and then turbocharge them. You could envision (the Pontiac G8) with a four-cylinder Cobalt engine but turbocharged to 270 to 280 horsepower. That's a formula that works great for fuel economy because when you're not in the acceleration game you're cruising along on a tiny, little engine," Lutz said. "Trouble is that costs about $1400. Nothing is for free."

"I think what we found with direct fuel injection is we found it boosts power faster than it boosts fuel economy; I think we would have preferred the opposite," he said.
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:23 PM   #2
Derbagger
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Default

I think that this is just a statement on the flexability of the platforms.

The Sixteen has been relegated to concept lore due to the rarified air in the uber-lux market. GM has no interest in taking Rolls and Maybach head on.
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:21 PM   #3
Hazdaz
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Rolls and Maybach, no
... but a true 7-series/S-class/LS fighter? Heck yea.

You don't regain your title of "Standard of the World" by letting the other guys play in that high-end sedan world and not join in. Cadillac has shown it's resolve to aggresively go after the lower-end with the CTS and has gain many sales because of it. (as opposed to the 1/2-assed attempts like Lincoln which continue to fail)

A true 12 or 16 cylinder high-end model based on the Sixteen's looks would very much help elevate the brand image... and if it used an existing platform, could be done for 'relatively' cheap... possibly made much more cheaply than it's competitors too since they don't have a volume car to helpp pay for their platform development. Also a truely high-end model could be used to pay for R&D that would eventually trickle down to lesser Cadillacs and then eventually to other GM divisions.

I think GM is already seeing that quite a few people buy Cadillac cars (and especially the Escalade) and ticking them out and loading them with umpteen options and gadgets. GM probably just wants a piece of that low-volume, but high-profit action.
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:33 PM   #4
Chromer
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The truly interesting nugget in there was the bit about small turbocharged engines.
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