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Old 10-30-2009, 12:36 AM   #1
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Zeta, Volt, C7, and more from GM VP of Vehicle Engineering

Yeah, sorry about the long title. Anyway, I watched Autoline Afterhours tonight and it was really informative. If you haven't seen or heard of it, its basically a detriot area public access cable show, features 3 members of the automotive press and 1 guest. Its streamed online live each Thursday at 7 pm. This week they had Mark Rues who is the GM Global Vehicle Engineering VP. He talked about a number of things we've been discussing here lately: V8's, Zeta cars, future of performance and other things. Its over an hour long but in my opinion, its worth it. Here is the link http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/2449528. If you don't want to watch all of it, here is the cliffs notes version. Though it will still take a few minutes to read ... it won't be over an hour. I strongly encourage you to read to the end.

First off, the Zeta program. The Caprice which is sold in the middle east can't be sold here. The front bumper is not compliant, the fascia would need to be redesigned to fit over the stronger bumper. Its not a 'ready to go' operation. At the time, because of all the tax money they had accepted and the bankrupcy, doing a pure 'badge swap' was not seen as a good idea. However, since then the Caprice Police Vehicle has been announced, and on the subject of offering it to the public he proclaimed "I'm not saying we are not going retail" implies that it could still happen in the future.

On the Volt, he recalled that when he was driving it, he forgot that it was truly unique. It felt like a normal car, except for one thing: "when you step on it there is an intuitive amount of no shift torque". This opens the door for possible electric performance vehicles, but he said thats not the focus right now. Speaking of future performance, they are working on FWD options right now, along the lines of the Cobalt SS. He also mentioned the Epsilon platform during that part of the conversation, which means we should look for some interesting stuff on the Regal and/or XTS (or Malibu, though that doesn't sound likely)

Continuing on with performance ... he was asked about the C7. Generally, it will be lighter though not nesecarily smaller. Based on this, and other things that were said I wouldn't be surprised to see the next gen Corvette near 3000 lbs. And he didn't give much to the idea that there would be an entry Corvette (such as a V6 powered one) followed by the equivalent of the current base, then a performance model on top of that. They did consider that as a plan, but based on his reaction they seem to have rejected it, no guarantees though.

For general future products at GM he revealed that every week they get into cars which are at various stages of development and compare them against their direct competitors. During that benchmarking they are striving to exceed a number of items that competitor has, and is expected to have when their car hits market. This is in contrast to making 'balanced, competitive' vehicles which are mediocre in every regard (see previous gen Malibu). Additionally, he mentioned that weight reduction is on their 'to do' list. Most models can go down by 125-250 lbs from current figures with little to no increase in cost. Additionally, they are working on making carbon fibre more mass-production friendly, and they intend on buying a Lexus LF-A to learn more about carbon fibre vehicle construction.

For more specific items, he said that there will be smaller, simpler, cheaper, and more efficient efficient vehicles comming. One of them may be a Pontiac Vibe type car. As for V8's, he didn't have a comment on lower displacement but he did say V8's were not going anywhere for the near future. But when asked about direct injection, he didn't come out and say that they were going to have it on the next generation of the Chevy small block but he did say that the technology is in its infancy, and to look for it to be expanded to more engine configurations in the future. Essentially, thats a 'yes'

Just a few more odds and ends. He said to differentiate Cadillac from Buick, compare he CTS-V to the Enclave. Cadillac will be edgy, sporty, bold and loud. Buick is smooth, comfortable, classy, and quiet. No new impala for a while because of the bankrupcy. GM's gas price forecast is that it will be above $4/gal in the not too distant future. Holden based cars need to be built in Australia because of supply complications. Last thing. There will be a atomic green Camaro at SEMA. This is most likely the car we saw in that little GM piece the other day, so I don't know if its another name for synergy green, if it will be instead of synergy green, or if its just for a a SEMA show car. That is all.
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Old 10-30-2009, 02:25 AM   #2
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Yeah, sorry about the long title. Anyway, I watched it tonight and it was really informative. If you haven't seen or heard of it, its basically a detriot area public access cable show, features 3 members of the automotive press and 1 guest. Its streamed online live each Thursday at 7 pm. This week they had Mark Rues who is the GM Global Vehicle Engineering VP. He talked about a number of things we've been discussing here lately: V8's, Zeta cars, future of performance and other things. Its over an hour long but in my opinion, its worth it. Here is the link http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/2449528. If you don't want to watch all of it, here is the cliffs notes version. Though it will still take a few minutes to read ... it won't be over an hour. I strongly encourage you to read to the end.

First off, the Zeta program. The Caprice which is sold in the middle east can't be sold here. The front bumper is not compliant, the fascia would need to be redesigned to fit over the stronger bumper. Its not a 'ready to go' operation. At the time, because of all the tax money they had accepted and the bankrupcy, doing a pure 'badge swap' was not seen as a good idea. However, since then the Caprice Police Vehicle has been announced, and on the subject of offering it to the public he proclaimed "I'm not saying we are not going retail" implies that it could still happen in the future.

On the Volt, he recalled that when he was driving it, he forgot that it was truly unique. It felt like a normal car, except for one thing: "when you step on it there is an intuitive amount of no shift torque". This opens the door for possible electric performance vehicles, but he said thats not the focus right now. Speaking of future performance, they are working on FWD options right now, along the lines of the Cobalt SS. He also mentioned the Epsilon platform during that part of the conversation, which means we should look for some interesting stuff on the Regal and/or XTS (or Malibu, though that doesn't sound likely)

Continuing on with performance ... he was asked about the C7. Generally, it will be lighter though not nesecarily smaller. Based on this, and other things that were said I wouldn't be surprised to see the next gen Corvette near 3000 lbs. And he didn't give much to the idea that there would be an entry Corvette (such as a V6 powered one) followed by the equivalent of the current base, then a performance model on top of that. They did consider that as a plan, but based on his reaction they seem to have rejected it, no guarantees though.

For general future products at GM he revealed that every week they get into cars which are at various stages of development and compare them against their direct competitors. During that benchmarking they are striving to exceed a number of items that competitor has, and is expected to have when their car hits market. This is in contrast to making 'balanced, competitive' vehicles which are mediocre in every regard (see previous gen Malibu). Additionally, he mentioned that weight reduction is on their 'to do' list. Most models can go down by 125-250 lbs from current figures with little to no increase in cost. Additionally, they are working on making carbon fibre more mass-production friendly, and they intend on buying a Lexus LF-A to learn more about carbon fibre vehicle construction.

For more specific items, he said that there will be smaller, simpler, cheaper, and more efficient efficient vehicles comming. One of them may be a Pontiac Vibe type car. As for V8's, he didn't have a comment on lower displacement but he did say V8's were not going anywhere for the near future. But when asked about direct injection, he didn't come out and say that they were going to have it on the next generation of the Chevy small block but he did say that the technology is in its infancy, and to look for it to be expanded to more engine configurations in the future. Essentially, thats a 'yes'

Just a few more odds and ends. He said to differentiate Cadillac from Buick, compare he CTS-V to the Enclave. Cadillac will be edgy, sporty, bold and loud. Buick is smooth, comfortable, classy, and quiet. No new impala for a while because of the bankrupcy. GM's gas price forecast is that it will be above $4/gal in the not too distant future. Holden based cars need to be built in Australia because of supply complications. Last thing. There will be a atomic green Camaro at SEMA. This is most likely the car we saw in that little GM piece the other day, so I don't know if its another name for synergy green, if it will be instead of synergy green, or if its just for a a SEMA show car. That is all.
Wonder if they are comparing the 2011 GT's 5.0 to their current Camaro?
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:23 AM   #3
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Wonder if they are comparing the 2011 GT's 5.0 to their current Camaro?
I don't doubt that they are working on some sort of response.
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:08 PM   #4
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There will be a atomic green Camaro at SEMA. This is most likely the car we saw in that little GM piece the other day, so I don't know if its another name for synergy green, if it will be instead of synergy green, or if its just for a a SEMA show car. That is all.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:17 PM   #5
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thats why I said this:
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I strongly encourage you to read to the end.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:18 PM   #6
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I don't doubt that they are working on some sort of response.
Heh....understatement, much?
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:26 PM   #7
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Heh....understatement, much?
I dont know... Is it?
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:06 PM   #8
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Heh....understatement, much?
Well, we aren't supposed to talk about some of that stuff, right?
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:13 PM   #9
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Well, we aren't supposed to talk about some of that stuff, right?
Ah yes, le secrets.....

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Old 10-31-2009, 01:48 AM   #10
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are these good enough secrets for me to just throw the thought of 2011 mustang out of my head?
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Old 10-31-2009, 03:04 AM   #11
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You know it's bad for your health to keep secrets.
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Old 10-31-2009, 03:13 AM   #12
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if you like the Mustang, I would consider it, but absolutely DO NOT count the Camaro out of the race.
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Old 10-31-2009, 03:16 AM   #13
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As a little hint, will this dramatically effect our opinions as of who is to be the better car in 2011? (As it stands right now, it's obvious the mustang will win it if the Camaro remains unchanged.)
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Old 10-31-2009, 09:46 AM   #14
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I don't doubt that they are working on some sort of response.
Thanks for the summary. I wonder if the "response" to Ford's 5.0 is the tweaked 5.3L that will be displayed at SEMA?
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Old 10-31-2009, 05:08 PM   #15
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I am in great health thank you.


if you like the Mustang, I would consider it, but absolutely DO NOT count the Camaro out of the race.
Im buying the car that offers the most driver feedback/dynamics, not for straight line goodness.

can you either confirm or deny that the steering feel will be fixed by 2011?
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Old 10-31-2009, 05:16 PM   #16
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I cant confirm or deny anything, because i dont know anything...
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:02 AM   #17
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Thanks for the summary. I wonder if the "response" to Ford's 5.0 is the tweaked 5.3L that will be displayed at SEMA?
I think that engine is being featured in a classic hot rod type vehicle
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Im buying the car that offers the most driver feedback/dynamics, not for straight line goodness.

can you either confirm or deny that the steering feel will be fixed by 2011?
We cannot confirm or deny that about steering feel, or any other guesses as to what may happen in 2011. All I can accurately say is that there is a good chance that something could be offered which may help improve one or more aspects of performance, presumably as a reaction to the assumed performance levels of the 2011 Mustang. The general nature of this which may be offered is known to few outside of GM and specific details are rarer still. So those who know the answer to your specific question would never be allowed to actually answer it. Because of that, any answers you may hear are most likely speculation and probably a lie.

So I could simply say 'yes' in order to misinform you (and everyone) there are two problems with that. After all, I said any answers are most likely a lie, so a 'yes' would mean the actual answer is 'no'. But I could have said that intentionally in order to hide the truth in plain sight. However, I might be clever enough to know you might think thats my intention so my attempt at deception is really a deception in itself, thus reverting my actual answer back to 'no'. But if I know that you know I am that clever ... you get the picture. And all that would assume that I actually know the truth, if I were to give an answer, which I'm not. I just presented what I could say. In reality, I am not commenting on steering feel will be affected. I just had half an hour to kill and figured I'd try and confuse the hell out of you and merely flipped a coin as to whether I'd say 'yes' or 'no' in the first line of this paragraph.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:14 AM   #18
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I think that engine is being featured in a classic hot rod type vehicle

We cannot confirm or deny that about steering feel, or any other guesses as to what may happen in 2011. All I can accurately say is that there is a good chance that something could be offered which may help improve one or more aspects of performance, presumably as a reaction to the assumed performance levels of the 2011 Mustang. The general nature of this which may be offered is known to few outside of GM and specific details are rarer still. So those who know the answer to your specific question would never be allowed to actually answer it. Because of that, any answers you may hear are most likely speculation and probably a lie.

So I could simply say 'yes' in order to misinform you (and everyone) there are two problems with that. After all, I said any answers are most likely a lie, so a 'yes' would mean the actual answer is 'no'. But I could have said that intentionally in order to hide the truth in plain sight. However, I might be clever enough to know you might think thats my intention so my attempt at deception is really a deception in itself, thus reverting my actual answer back to 'no'. But if I know that you know I am that clever ... you get the picture. And all that would assume that I actually know the truth, if I were to give an answer, which I'm not. I just presented what I could say. In reality, I am not commenting on steering feel will be affected. I just had half an hour to kill and figured I'd try and confuse the hell out of you and merely flipped a coin as to whether I'd say 'yes' or 'no' in the first line of this paragraph.
well done very well done
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:24 AM   #19
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I think that engine is being featured in a classic hot rod type vehicle

We cannot confirm or deny that about steering feel, or any other guesses as to what may happen in 2011. All I can accurately say is that there is a good chance that something could be offered which may help improve one or more aspects of performance, presumably as a reaction to the assumed performance levels of the 2011 Mustang. The general nature of this which may be offered is known to few outside of GM and specific details are rarer still. So those who know the answer to your specific question would never be allowed to actually answer it. Because of that, any answers you may hear are most likely speculation and probably a lie.

So I could simply say 'yes' in order to misinform you (and everyone) there are two problems with that. After all, I said any answers are most likely a lie, so a 'yes' would mean the actual answer is 'no'. But I could have said that intentionally in order to hide the truth in plain sight. However, I might be clever enough to know you might think thats my intention so my attempt at deception is really a deception in itself, thus reverting my actual answer back to 'no'. But if I know that you know I am that clever ... you get the picture. And all that would assume that I actually know the truth, if I were to give an answer, which I'm not. I just presented what I could say. In reality, I am not commenting on steering feel will be affected. I just had half an hour to kill and figured I'd try and confuse the hell out of you and merely flipped a coin as to whether I'd say 'yes' or 'no' in the first line of this paragraph.
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Old 11-01-2009, 04:39 PM   #20
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lol at DGthe3. haha
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