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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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My sister's dentist's brother's cousin's housekeeper's dog-breeder's nephew sells coffee filters to the company that provides coffee to General Motors......
........and HE WOULD KNOW!!!!
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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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My sister's dentist's brother's cousin's housekeeper's dog-breeder's nephew sells coffee filters to the company that provides coffee to General Motors......
........and HE WOULD KNOW!!!!
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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:
Quote:
I strongly encourage you to read to the end.
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Originally Posted by FbodFather
My sister's dentist's brother's cousin's housekeeper's dog-breeder's nephew sells coffee filters to the company that provides coffee to General Motors......
........and HE WOULD KNOW!!!!
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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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My sister's dentist's brother's cousin's housekeeper's dog-breeder's nephew sells coffee filters to the company that provides coffee to General Motors......
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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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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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