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Old 02-26-2008, 02:22 PM   #1
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Oh look, another Alpha thread.

To me, the development of the Camaro has been a never ending series of "heck yes, that looks fantastic!" "Wow, so close to the concept" and what not, with a few scattered very minor disappointments here and there. Very minor.

Not so with Alpha, the other GM platform I'm very interested in. Its been on and off, and recently the indications have not been promising about its future. But now Leftlane News is reporting an Alpha based Buick is in the works! So its alive again, apparently. They speculate on 1.4L turbo power, but I highly doubt that. I'm assuming the 2.4L, 2.0L DI TC, and 3.6L DI are more likely given the size and what not. Still, finally a bit of good news on the project. I'm still hoping Pontiac gets a version, as that is more my style, but I'll consider the Buick if its done right. So, bonus points to the first person who can name what this could be considered a modern day version of...

http://www.leftlanenews.com/buick-co...ive-sedan.html
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Old 02-26-2008, 03:49 PM   #2
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Well, in the 90's, Buick had a model called the Century (also the Oldsmobile Cutlass Cierra)...it was a small-to-midsize 4 door sedan, FWD...my dad had one...totally unremarkable car, but it was solidly built, completely reliable, and got good gas mileage (even though it wasn't even really thought about back then).

Also, in the 90's, Buick made a model called the Skylark. Now, this isn't the Skylark that we would all like to see make a comeback, this was the small-to-midsize sedan, FWD POS. My girlfriend in high school/early college had one...it was ugly, but it ran well...cheap transportation. My wife also had one of the last Skylark body style when we were dating....we hated that car, but it was fairly reliable.
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Old 02-26-2008, 05:55 PM   #3
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My mom had a Skylark, like the one in the middle picture. What a POS, I hated that car.
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Old 02-26-2008, 06:54 PM   #4
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I was thinking along the lines of the Grand National. So its not greenlighted for the US yet, but if so I imagine the upper trim might get a nice powerful V6. It sure would make on heckuva Acura TSX fighter, and have the advantage of RWD. Price it starting in the high 20s, and you'll have a pretty good entry level premium car to bring people onto the BPG lots. Maybe make a sportier coupe version for Pontiac....there are some good possibilities here.
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:33 PM   #5
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GMI posted a news story on the future of GM's model lineup both domestic and international; there's a lot of talk on the lack of RWD offerings due to the usual beat down subjects of CAFE and maintaining a "green" profile. At the same time Ford has a ton of RWD offerings in the wings for the future, completely un-phased by the energy bill, and with that it's said that Ford will once "again" have the corner on RWD for the market. Personally, I think killing RWD vehicles that only get -1 mpg will only hurt GM because that's not what most people want (believe it or not), for many the handling/performance combo RWD offers is endearing and something that definitely sells cars (look at BMW, MB, and other RWD products that have sold very well for others). If GM kills RWD offerings for the future I'll be walking over to Ford (something I never thought I'd say or do, but hell, I gotta have my RWD).

You can read the GMI article mentioned here: http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=60465
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Old 02-26-2008, 09:18 PM   #6
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The way I see it, having smaller RWD vehicles can actually help meet CAFE standards. The way I see it, and my logic may be off, there is a sizable segment that wants RWD performance, period (aka us). So either they'll defect to Ford and Chrysler, or they'll stick with GM, but be forced into one of the larger RWD vehicles like the G8 or Cadillacs. I mean the smallest Caddy is the CTS, which is almost the size of a BMW 5 series. Size (and the consequential weight) really harm MPG, so pushing people into larger vehicles actually can hurt fleet average. However, if they instead offer small RWD cars with the fantastic 2.0L and 3.6L DI engines, they'll see better efficiency numbers.
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Old 02-26-2008, 10:43 PM   #7
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I've been pretty active on the MINI boards and blogs since the U.S. launch of the Clubman; it's a bigger MINI with all the traits that are unique to the iconic brand including the famed go-kart handling that rivals many famed sports cars that cost twice as much and more. However, being RWD biased I know that this is probably the ONLY FWD car I'd buy, and FWD works for MINI because of the cars size and weight. If it weren't for those two things, well hell, MINI's would be just like every other FWD car on the market; uninspiring and dull on personality. Considering alternatives that are RWD within the MINI's price bracket that offer comparable performance, handling and versatility are all but a precious few.

On another note, as I was walking to the student parking lot leaving school today I saw a brand new Saleen Stang drop-top, and while I'm not a drop top guy, sheezers (I'm ol' skool on the slang, get use to it) this thing was on fire! Besides that, it has that classic but contemporary, "nothing else like it" feel and the mystique of an American muscle car. Don't even get me started on the stock "KITT" Cobra KR from the new Knightrider series. Knowing how much better the 5th-gen looks than the current Mustang, I can't imagine how I'll feel seeing the production version in the flesh for the first time.
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:27 PM   #8
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My mom is debating between a Mini and an HHR SS. Right now she's leaning towards the HHR SS for practicality reasons, but she has a thing for the Mini's tiny nimbleness, so we'll see. I agree, FWD works for some cars, but except for those few cases you go to RWD for performance

I agree, though I'll probably never own a droptop, I have to admit they just look good. Maybe if I'm ever rich enough to have a serious weekend car and a garage to keep it in I'll get one. Buick could use a nice drop top in its lineup too. Also, slightly off topic, I think a nice 4 door coupe would also be a great fit for Buick's lineup.
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Old 02-27-2008, 02:00 AM   #9
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We had a Century. 1993 I think? It was decent enough, but nothing special. I think a 'little' buick or caddy would be great. It would suit buick better, maybe. It would need to maintain the level of classyness that Buick now has but smaller cars and classy just don't seem to go together. new cadillacs are cool, and hip. That gives more design freedom. Might suit alpha a bit better. But if its for a G6 sized vehicle, that could work well for either
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:55 AM   #10
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I just had another thought for the Alpha's. Chevy could use one, replace the Cobalt with something called the C3N. Sounds a bit pontiac I know, but it would be a modern name for what would be the Chevy III Nova. Give the engine bay just enough room for a V8 and all will be well, even offer one as an SS model. By getting rid of the Cobalt, which is a decent enough car as it is, the performance trims for the Delta platform could be used by the G5 and the every more sedate versions would be the Saturn Ion. So GM sales would switch to other brands and not disappear, meanwhile Chevy gets a smaller rear drive car that has massive performance potential. This plan could also work for the kappa but that would steal sales from those other divisions and would acomplish nothing to help GM overall, and probably hurt them.
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:37 AM   #11
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Nope. It's an all new 3 series sized RWD sedan. Has Alpha been confirmed officially anywhere???


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Old 05-31-2008, 02:49 AM   #12
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OFFICIAL confirmation???
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Old 05-31-2008, 04:38 PM   #13
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Exclamation

Ok, OFFICIAL documentation:

http://www.futureoftheunion.com/docs.../bookpages.pdf

Now for the interesting tidbits:

-pg. 61 says not 1 but "2 styles" off of Zeta will be allocated to Lansing production. Interesting because we know both the Camaro and G8 will not be built there.

-Same page (pg. 61) under Lordstown "Alpha" appears; "2 styles, 2011"

-pg. 64 RWD Gen II Hybrid will be allocated (2011/12)

-pg. 69 The above ^ + RWD DCT for NG Corvette (2012)

Other notes:

-CTS Wagon + Coupe confirmed for Lansing (old news but just FYI)

-GMT900 sucessor codeanmed "C3XX"
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Old 06-01-2008, 12:44 AM   #14
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^Sounds like this is going to get reeeeeeeal interesting. Less weight...more veh's moving over. Can't wait to see what will officially be moved over there.
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Old 06-01-2008, 12:47 AM   #15
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As you can see, though...and maybe something to keep in mind - Zeta's very much still alive. This isn't a 'replacement' platform. Zeta is Mid-Large sized, and Alpha is Small-Mid midsized.
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Old 06-01-2008, 12:55 AM   #16
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Less weight...more veh's moving over. Can't wait to see what will officially be moved over there.
More "veh's" moving over???

Quote:
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As you can see, though...and maybe something to keep in mind - Zeta's very much still alive. This isn't a 'replacement' platform. Zeta is Mid-Large sized, and Alpha is Small-Mid midsized.
Yes, that is correct. As this is a contract that means all these cars are LOCKED in. Otherwise trouble for GM and UAW, not something that benefits either situationally nor financially.
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Old 06-01-2008, 02:59 AM   #17
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Quote:
-pg. 61 says not 1 but "2 styles" off of Zeta will be allocated to Lansing production. Interesting because we know both the Camaro and G8 will not be built there
.

My bad. I read it wrong. And...yes, I know you had it in bold. But, I read it that way and thought of other possibilites....
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:28 AM   #18
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More Alpha...

Quote:
Union document shows GM plans to build a compact rear-drive car from 2011

By TERRY MARTIN 2 October 2007

THE chances of Holden resurrecting the Torana nameplate in Australia with a new rear-wheel drive compact car increased dramatically last week when United Auto Workers (UAW) officials in the US disclosed future model plans for General Motors.

The revelations, which include other Holden-engineered cars, emerged in a tentative contract agreement the union had won after earlier in the week staging a crippling two-day strike at GM facilities across the nation over issues including job security, wages and entitlements and investment in US facilities and vehicles.

The contract highlights included a pledge from GM to invest in future vehicles for 16 assembly plants in the US.

Among these vehicles is the global RWD compact, which GoAuto understands will come off the all-new Holden-developed platform architecture known as “Alpha”, and two new models based on the Holden-engineered “Zeta” platform, which underpins the VE Commodore, Pontiac G8 and the forthcoming Chevrolet Camaro.

The deal also revealed that GM plans to put the Chevrolet Volt electric hybrid car into production in 2010.

According to the UAW document, the RWD compact (assembled in Ohio) and the new Zeta-based medium-large cars (assembled in Michigan) will be produced in two bodystyles each from 2011.

No GM brands were specified, however the small car is tipped to be either a Pontiac – which GM is transforming as its “affordable” RWD brand – or Cadillac, which GM product czar Bob Lutz referred to 12 months ago when he first floated the idea of a BMW 1 Series rival.

As GoAuto reported earlier this year, “Alpha” is also expected to underpin the replacement for Cadillac’s BLS small luxury sedan.

At least one overseas report this week indicated that the Zeta-based vehicles referred to in the UAW-GM tentative contact agreement are likely to be full-size cars for Cadillac and Buick. The second bodystyle could well be a utility.

GM Holden engineering director Tony Hyde indicated to GoAuto at last year’s Sydney motor show that the 2004 Torana TT36 concept could still be alive, and did not rule out the possibility that Holden could engineer and build a small RWD model for global markets.

“It would be no different from Mercedes-Benz building one of its models for the whole world in South Africa,” he said.

The fact that former Holden chairman Denny Mooney now has global responsibility for GM’s vehicle systems and integration also bodes well for a Torana comeback.

“Believe me, I will always have a finger in what’s going on here,” Mr Mooney said in May, just prior to his departure.

“There are still ... numerous other vehicles being considered to come off the global rear-wheel drive architecture. None of that has changed.”

Other models on the “Product Commitments at GM Assembly Facilities” list include a switch for the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 from the current Delta front-wheel drive compact platform to the cheaper and newer Gamma platform. A global seven-seat compact van/MPV, possibly a version of the Opel Zafira, will also be built in the US from 2009.

While most of these products paint a picture of the world’s biggest car-maker becoming sensitive and new-age, the timetable also has GM committing to various new-generation pickup trucks early next decade.
http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mell...257368000ECFC0

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Old 06-02-2008, 01:58 PM   #19
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Quote:
GM moves new Chevy model to Lordstown
By Don Shilling (Contact)

Saturday, May 31, 2008


By Don Shilling

A new contract is expected to secure Lordstown’s future for 10 to 15 years.

LORDSTOWN — General Motors is ready to give its Lordstown complex a new small car that gets nearly 40 mpg, a union leader said.

“We’re going to have longevity. This car’s going to sell,” Jim Graham, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112, said at a news conference Friday about a new labor contract.

Graham didn’t provide any other details about a new model, but an industry analyst said it would be the new version of the Chevrolet Aveo, which is now made in South Korea.

Erich Merkle, an analyst with IRN in Grand Rapids, Mich., said GM plans to begin making the new model in Lordstown in 2010, to be followed by a new rear-wheel drive, mid-size model in early 2011.
He said substantial work will need to be done to the Lordstown complex to prepare for the new models.

Graham said such work will begin if workers ratify a tentative agreement on the labor contract.

“You are going to start seeing things move very rapidly toward a new product,” he said.

The plant produces the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5. GM recently tweaked some Cobalt models with manual transmission to boost highway fuel economy from 33 mpg to 36 mpg. The Aveo with a manual transmission is rated at 34 mpg.

Cobalt production began in 2004 after a $1 billion renovation of the complex. The biggest item was a new paint shop that cost several hundred million dollars.

GM’s commitment to the complex was in doubt for years before that overhaul and has been questioned again recently.

A new local labor contract, however, would secure Lordstown’s future for two or three product cycles, said Ben Strickland, Local 1112 shop chairman.

“We’re hoping not to go through these arguments for another 10 or 15 years,” he said.

Despite GM’s interest in Lordstown, it still is increasing small-car production in Mexico, Merkle said. The Cobalt will be moved there because GM wants a high-production model in a new plant it is building, he said. He added that the Saturn Astra, which now is made in Europe, also will be moved to Mexico.

Lordstown workers will vote Monday and Tuesday on the tentative agreement, which was reached Wednesday. The contract would expire in 2011.

Strickland declined to release any details in advance of informational meetings for members Saturday.

A flier issued to members Friday listed some details, such as no consolidation of skilled trades job classifications. Industry analysts have said that GM has been looking to cut costs by having skilled trades workers train for additional jobs.

The flier said an alternative work schedule for production workers could be implemented no sooner than the summer of 2010 and only for a trial period of 90 days. It didn’t describe the schedule.

Strickland declined to discuss reports that GM is considering adding a third shift to the complex. GM eliminated the midnight shift in 2006 after 1,600 Lordstown workers left the company with buyout offers.

In a follow-up buyout offer made this year, 375 workers at the assembly plant and 175 workers at the fabricating plant agreed to leave July 1, Strickland said. The complex has about 3,400 hourly workers.

Strickland said he expects GM to replace these workers with new hires and by transferring workers from other plants.

A national labor contract signed last year provides that new workers who are hired into non-production roles, such as janitorial or landscaping, would be paid about half what existing workers receive. Strickland said 393 jobs in the assembly plant have been identified as falling into that category.

Local 1714, which represents workers at the fabricating plant, already has approved a new local agreement.
http://www.vindy.com/news/2008/may/3...rdstown/?print
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:18 PM   #20
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Congrats to Lordstown on getting some pretty cool products.
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