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Lutz: Sixteen, Velite Are Dead!

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Say it ain't so, Bob, is likely the refrain around the hand-wringing blogs and Detroit outlets today. That's because Maximum Bob--he who would be the first to champion the cars against detractors--says the Buick Velite roadster concept and the Cadillac Sixteen likely aren't going out of concept-car form.

GM had discussed building production versions of both vehicles. And indeed, early this year, Lutz told TheCarConnection.com that the Camaro had been delayed so that its architecture could be stretched and poked and prodded to share with other vehicles--say, a production Caddy Sixteen.

Now, the Wall Street Journal's John Stoll reports that the recent CAFE developments and 35-mpg fuel economy bills have taken the top end off the Camaro's potential. The company has to redirect its priorities, Lutz said in a video podcast this weekend, that GM needs to spend money on alternative-fuel and green vehicles. The Velite "got prioritized out" and the Sixteen "would probably not be an extremely prudent thing to do."

GM won't give up on a potential Cadillac supersedan, Lutz says. But the news for now is more development money to greener cars, and less to dream machines. You can watch Lutz' video here - and let us know what you think with a comment below:

GM's Lutz: Some Concept Cars Killed Over Fuel Economy
--Wall Street Journal


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Comments (34)
  1. I think Lutz is good at GM but he could a better job, for one thing Pontiac people would like to see better cars. The firebird if you ever make it again is a much better car we would like to see the TRANS AM WS6 with 7.0 in it and get 30 to 35 mprg with the horse power. The Camaro is hot looking car but u could have done better like put T-Tops on it and for the convertible you should have done the hard top like the XLR. Lutz doesn’t has enough trust in the company if he did they would find a way to build some big cars with lot of power and still get the gas like the Cadillac sweet sixteen concept. We do need some smaller cars but we all can’t drive to small of cars around some of use have big families. If you are as good as GM say you are then way does it take you so long to get the cars you in the usa like the Pontiac G8 is all ready out in some country before we get it. May be we wont them first? If that is truth that gm is the company that makes most of its concept car then we should see in the next feew years a Chevrolet Impala ss real wheel drive with 6.2 in the buyers would like it to have 450 horse power. If you guys are the leaders in things for cars why sedan cars or smaller or like the Chevrolet Impala ss have all wheel drive ford does on some of there cars. So far GM and Bob Lutz are doing some what of a good job but it is not good enough. My family has six’s GM cars there not as good as they ones were back in the day for some family who would never buy a car that once was not made in the use like Honda or Toyota we may replace all six of them with a different brand and that is sad.
     
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  2. If blogger JOE learned how to use the English language, perhaps his rants
    would have a chance of being understood!
     
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  3. I agree with Bob Lutz. GM needs to focus on more Green automobiles, or find themselves in the dust bin. As far as the comment by Joe on T-Tops, go buy you an old GM car and leave them in history where they belong. They were the worst type of top for a car, and need to be where they are, a non-historical fact. Do you see anyone else making T-tops?
    I support a better GM similar to the new Buicks with the larger front Grilles and better technology.
     
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  4. Too bad the Velite is being killed. My wife has been wanting one since the original pictures were released. She has a Lexus SC430 and would drop it to get the stunningly beautiful Velite. GM has nothing in its' stable that illicites the excitement that the Velite does. Without a hallmark vehicle, GM may as well eliminate the Buick brand as they did Oldsmobile. The Buick demographics are dying and without an interesting car, who is going to bother looking at Buicks?

    RIP Buick.. A crying same GM has no vision or passion
     
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  5. I appreciate Bob's comments and agree that it would probably be a lot of work from a PR point of view to justify the launch of a 1k horsepower car these days, but how is it that other competitors have no problem launching gas guzzling halo vehicles? For example, the Mercedes-McLaren SLR 722 and S65 AMG; Audi S8; Toyota Tundra. Bob also mentions a hybrid version of the Sixteen could get 13mpg - well, that's on par with the H2 and other full-size SUVs. So what's the problem? I say build a handful of Sixteens (and I mean a HANDFUL - like 1600 - not what GM considers a handful (100,000) and return the brand to being The Standard of the World. Until then, it'll be a regular luxury brand.
     
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  6. It sounds to me like Lutz, though forced by legislation, is finally making the correct decision! Though "dream cars" bring needed attention to a company, I estimate that relatively few people actually buy them due to the impracticallity for families.

    GM needs cars that are fundamentally competitive with the Asian and Korean offerings. Not only do they need to look good, but they need to perform good... and yes this does include fuel economy.

    The desires of the US market has shifted and will continue to do so. Perhaps now GM will once again regain some traction (and credibility) by leading the automotive market with fuel efficiency innovation and fundamentally sound products instead of simply playing catch-up!
     
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  7. No one is better than Bob Lutz with automotive instincts. If he could have made the case, it would be approved. Rick is running the company, Bob is running "Product". Everything good at GM at this moment, is because of Lutz. Thank you Bob, for everything you do!

    How about bringing back some of the great names. How about Pontiac G8 - Bonneville?
     
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  8. No one is better than Bob Lutz with automotive instincts. If he could have made the case, it would be approved. Rick is running the company, Bob is running "Product". Everything good at GM at this moment, is because of Lutz. Thank you Bob, for everything you do!

    How about bringing back some of the great names. How about Pontiac G8 - Bonneville? Also, get that Buick Park Avenue from China for dealers here. Its sweet and should replace the Lucerne...?
     
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  9. As much as it pains me to write it, he's doing the right thing. It's not 1966 and Gm doesn't have 50% of the market. I'd love to see the Sixteen reach the marketplace (and the people who would buy it won't care about the gas mileage) but the money is better spent getting hybrids and alt fuel cars out there, especially electric and fuel cell vehicles. GM has the real chance to spearhead this and wrest that "green" mantle right out form under Toyotas nose, and I hope they do.
     
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  10. Too Soon for Cadillac Sixteen Concept

    It appears to me that Lutz has learned to be a bit of a political animal and use public relations more effectively then he may have in the past. I think that the Cadillac Super Luxury vehicle has been on hold for a while regardless of what CAFÉ developments because Cadillac still has a ways to go on the learning curve. Caddy needs to let desire and passion build as they learn the “art & science” of offering the public solid and desirable vehicles. We need more advanced CTS’s (here now for 2008), and the new replacement for the DTS/STS, and more energy placed on great interiors and edgy style. Its coming but needs a few more years in the cooking pot before they should attempt a Cadillac Sixteen Machine.

    And it’s not just learning that is going on--it’s the phenomenon of just letting Cadillac’s newfound goodness seep into the publics mind, helping to grease the skids for a super Cadillac. You don’t want to do what Chrysler did with Imperial. Bring it out again in 1981 after killing it in 1976 and then kill it a few years later and then bring it back again in 1990 and then kill it again a few years later, and then think about bringing it out again now even while Chrysler, which is supposed to be considerably upscale from Dodge, is still selling glazed over Dodge Avengers (Chrysler Sebrings) and glazed over Dodge Durangos (Chrysler Aspens) and glazed over Dodge minivans (Chrysler minivans).

    Again, the Cadillac Sixteen is a great idea just a little too soon. Let Caddy prove itself for a few more years first.

    Same thing for the Buick Velite. Buick has built its first really good-looking, attention getting vehicle in recent memory, the Enclave, and to build the Velite would simply place a halo around what--a Buick Taurus (the LaCrosse which looks like an old Ford Taurus and is front wheel drive like the Taurus) , or a Lucerne, which is really a watered down version of a DTS. And by the way, aren’t these 2 Buick cars awfully close to each other in size (and aren’t the DTS/STS similar in size as well)? I thought GM was getting away from too much overlap like they have claimed for what--the last 100 years? No--let Buick improve its main vehicle lines before it even considers bringing out a halo vehicle. I think Lutz understands this but is just playing a bit of a game and using CAFÉ standards as a ruse to deflect more chatter about these GM concepts.
     
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  11. What did that Joe guy say?
    His rant is proof that spelling and grammar matter in presenting your point.
    If your education is lacking, then please use the F7 spell check button, or at least reread, or have your mother reread, the post so that the rest of us do have to be subject to Joe's foreign language.
     
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  12. Holy Run-on Sentence Joe!!! My lookin-balls are still hurting after reading that mess. T-Tops and Trans Ams you say?? Yeee Hawww, bring back the 70's and long live Burt Reynolds (before he married that hussy Lonie Anderson)!!!!
     
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  13. why do these new standards seem to have such a negative affect on GMs present and furture performance cars while other companys such as Audi and Mercedes seem to have no problem producing high performance cars
     
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  14. While I'd love to see GM build the Velite and the Sixteen, one look at the sales numbers clearly shows what the company has to do to survive. GM down about 21%, while Toyota was up over last year. I haven't drilled down into the specifics, but my guess is that, as gas prices have climbed again, buyers have flocked to high-mileage cars from Toyota and are running from what they perceive to be low-mileage 'Big American' cars and trucks from GM. GM has to win on fuel economy and quality, and let the high-style, low-volume product come later. As a large company, and not a niche player, they have to have the volume to win--and volume in today's world means higher mileage and lower emissions.
     
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  15. GM, indeed the big 3 have always been a hard slow sell on technology that was not developed by them (direct injection gasoline engines which give excellent fuel economy and performance), or in isolating helpful technology and vehicles from the US market (the excellent and attractive Buicks available only in the Chinese market), the technology exsist today to build 35 mpg performance cars using GM's own displacement on demand and the formentioned direct injection, hell I have a 99 Z28 that regularly knocks down 20 mpg, but GM wants to keep building high profit margin SUV's and Trucks while thier cars languish in out dated styles and technology-GM devloped a new V8 engine to fit sideways (LS4) in the slow selling front wheel drive Impala and Monte Carlo, when they already had a great world class full size Rear Wheel Drive chassis in Australia that only needed new body panels and emblems hung to become what ever they wanted- Ford eleminates hydralic lifters in it's new V6 engine to save millimeters in hood height but at what cost down the road to their customers, a new air filter for a focus cost over $300 but the same item for a new LS 430 Lexus cost $40-GM will build 5 speed autos for BMW 3 years before they put one in a US GM car the list goes on,The Velite should be the new Riviera and the Sixteen could be made a reality though tehcnology if GM was truly serious about a halo car for Cadillac, GM needs to relize that not building these vehicles won't hurt the public at all ,it will only hurt GM !
     
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  16. What ever happend to R & D, or simply evaluating the competition and then doing the job better?
     
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  17. Caddy Sixteen is best most and greatest car all time. This is flagship for all cars till todays. Next superb car was glorious Cyclone. That's Cadillac is number one in autocar industry
     
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  18. Lots of great comments, (except for Joe who appears to have exited grade school in the 70's and then got stuck in a time warp), but Gary's theory is I believe very insightful. From a marketing perspective, he is absolutely right about waiting for the public's perception to catch up with the reality of the much-improved products GM is now building, and the even more-improved products that will launch over the next several years.

    However, I think that the Velite could be built and launched in the next two years in a cost-effective manner and could do wonders for Buick's re-emergence as a brand. True, the Enclave is the only decent vehicle they sell now, but I think that will change soon. GM has the Lansing Craft Centre where they are no longer building the Chevy SSR and it would be perfect for a low volume halo car. Actually, that is exactly what the facility was created for. It was also home to the Reatta and the EV1. To keep this project viable and within a strict budget, the powertrain would probably have to change. GM certainly has enough existing powertrains to choose something that would make the Velite interesting to drive.

    The huge numbers of baby boomers reaching retirement every year is astounding and is only eclipsed by the spending power they have. They will re-write the definition and notions of "retirement" and there are many that still have domestic brand inclinations. A stylish four seat convertible like the Velite would have great appeal to this large group of customers. If other enticing product offerings come to Buick in this country, then Buick dealers will have attractive options to those who come in to check out the Velite but decide they need a more practical vehicle.

    Hopefully, this is in the back of Mr. Lutz's mind and GM has not decided to permanently close the Lansing Craft Centre in a cost savings measure. Perhaps they could launch the Velite as a limited volume/limited exposure vehicle for one of the new-generation powertrains they have been developing. It could then quickly spread to their higher volume Buicks and other GM brands. What a great way to really garner the media's and the public's attention for their new technology! Even with GM's more limited resources, they can still produce vehicles that excite buyer's passions; and they really need to.

    As a last interesting sidenote, it is true that Tiger Woods picks the vehicles he will appear in Buick advertising with. The Enclave is the first vehicle that he said he would fully support with his presence. (Other Buicks have featured Tiger in pictures but he has not actively supported their launch or promotion). The Velite was a car that he also said he would fully support. He participated in the world debut of the concept at the Detroit Auto Show and if produced, (and if he is still under his amazingly expensive contract with Buick), he would actively participate in its advertising and promotion.

    Now Tiger is a little younger than Buick's desired customer demographic, but this story does underscore a truth that GM product planners need to keep in mind for Buick so that it does not return to its place of the old fogie carline. "You can sell an old man a young man's car, but you cannot sell a young man an old man's car". OK, I'm done.
     
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  19. Lutz obviosly is oblivious to Chrysler's record of putting concepts into production.
     
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  20. You are right to kill the Velite and the Cad sixteen. Bottom line is we don't need more H.D. gas burners. Also, the Esplanade seems to be another worthless flash in the pan. We don't see Toyota building that kind of junk.
    It makes me wonder, "who is running the BUSINESS at GM?"
     
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  21. You are right to kill the Velite and the Cad sixteen, and we don’t need more big time gas burners to guide the industry into a successful future. For example, the Esplanade seems to be just a flash in the pan. We don’t see Toyota building that kind of product. When we look into the future it makes me wonder, “who is running the BUSINESS at GM?”
     
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  22. Good Riddance to the juvenile, irrelevant, 16 cylinder monstrosity.

    Finally, GM and Lutz are getting sober.

    Will they MAKE RELEVANT CARS for a change? OR at LEAST Import their Diesel COMPACTS from Europe?
     
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  23. Marcus - Do you know who Lutz is and who he used to work for? Does the Viper ring a bell?

    Markus wrote "Lutz obviosly is oblivious to Chrysler’s record of putting concepts into production."
     
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  24. Thor could be a clone of "Gore". You clearly are clueless when it comes to what the Automotive Business "IS" and has meant to national identities. "Relevant" "Me-Too" cars are appliances that anyone can build. Cars like the Velite and 16 are national symbols we send to the world. They are statements that say "America" builds the greatest cars in the world. They are sources of American engineering prowess and innovation. This impact trickles down to bread and butter cars and gives people something to aspire too. Clearly our industry needs an ego boost. Certainly the 16 done in proportion would have been an important statement, and its predecessor will be a statement that needs to be made. Cadillac's no longer used moniker once was, "Standard of the World". The 16 could have carried that brash banner with brutal impact and audacity. The 16 may be dead, however, I am sure there is a car that will carry a banner to substitute for its absence. GM needs to make this statement otherwise it is locking itself into a second tier existence, that will not have longevity. Cadillac must compete with Mercedes and BMW, head to head. Audi too. Buick can handle the Lexus and Infiniti. Saturn can handle the Asian specialties as well as other Europeans. Chevrolet should compete head to head with Toyota in every category and Pontiac should be the performance alternative division with specialty cars. I would recommend utilizing great names from the past that enhance "Heritage". Many marques have a "Prestige" because of where they have been in the past. So too are great names from the past. I reiterate, that GM is in the car business to succeed, not survive. Bob Lutz is a champion of the automobile and beautiful well engineered cars that people identify with, and "Must" have, even if its a Malibu. Thank you again, Bob, for all you do.
     
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  25. I have not aways been able to afford high performance cars.... modified them instead, myself. Now I have '05-06-07 cars all high performance (400-505HP). But, still modify them. If I had a high milage car, again, I would modify it... suspension, brakes, what-ever. I like cars. I'm 61 years old now. I bought a motor cycle once... just as a hedge for best gas milage of all. And a Fiat 850. I squeezed a couple in the back seat and we went to the car races at Monterey, CA. in it. They were OK when fuel economy was important. But I'd rather have a super high performance car, if I can afford it.
    -Richard
     
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  26. I think that GM needs the Sixteen for the people out there that can afford it and don't care about milage. Would you want to be told what to drive?? As for the Velite, it is the best looking car I have ever seen with the Buick symbol on the hood. Why not combine the two arguments and create the Velite with a green engine? Why can it not be a fuel efficient 4 cylinder?? Even better, benchmark it off the Chevy Volt (if it ever makes it to production)! I agree that Buick, like Pontiac, needs to do something to get out from under the shadows!! Not all fuel efficient cars need to look like plain, economy pieces of crap like the Sprint, Firefly, and even the now dead Cavalier!!
     
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  27. The auto industry will never again have a sound case for a sixteen cylinder motorcar. Sixteen cylinder cars appeared at a time of relatively primitive technology when the upper class paid little income tax. Now, technology can produce more 500HP-plus V8/V12 engines than the market can absorb. Sixteen cylinder engines offer little other than unreasonable excess. Let the sixteen cylinder engines die for all time.
     
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  28. Bob Lutz is pure genius. Look at what he's done in the past. It seems as if he's been beaten down by GM in order to "comply". This is not the Bob Lutz we know and love, we want the cigar smoking, swearing, "screw you if you don't like it" Bob Lutz. GM, pull your head out of your butt and listen. Build whatever you think the market needs and get engineers that have one ounce of brains in their head to make it happen. American engineering is almost an oxymoron. We copy more and more each day from our competition, there is no original thought process. Bob Lutz was never afraid to call a spade a spade regardless of who he upset. Make the cadillac sixteen and get engineers that can make 25-30 mpg happen. Hell, a tired old crown victoria gets 25mpg on the highway with a 4.6L, why can't a sequential controlled injection sixteen? Have it run only on eight under light load. Geez, we're losing our vision, and hopefully we haven't lost Lutz.
     
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  29. " Pat Davis Says:
    July 3rd, 2007 at 8:03 am
    If blogger JOE learned how to use the English language, perhaps his rants
    would have a chance of being understood!" In all fairness Pat Joe's comment was typed in at 3:54 am so I would guess a sampling of liquor played a role in the butchering of the language...
     
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  30. As a journalist who was present at the Detroit Opera House reveal of the Sixteen; it IS a halo vehicle that could bring Cadillac into the competitive high end limited production sector. Lutz certainly has the background to make that happen, however, as some of you have pointed out, there are a couple of major drawbacks. Fuel economy is the first, but that can be achieved with the next generation of high-tech hybrid engines, including some remarkable diesel-hybrids using Direct Ignition. (Don't laugh at 45+ mpg). Second is cost, especially if the Sixteen starts at over $150K.

    The better bet is for GM and Cadillac to bring some high-end luxe versions of the larger STS. The (for the time being) China/Asia market SLS, offers a four-seat, stretched version called an SLS. It's interior is not unlike that of a Bentley Flying Spur, and would be something that could easily sell everyone they bring to the North American marketplace.

    These and similar suggestions are well known to Mr. Lutz and could well be here by 2011 or sooner.

    The only thing stopping this from happening, a couple of thousand serious deposit checks. That was what got the Viper and Prowler to market.

    As for other successful platforms that should be (and have been) brought to North America ... GM has already done that in limited numbers, from Australia/Holden and from Europe/Vauxhall-Opel), with more to come in the next few years. And GM is not the only player looking at this.

    Ford (pre-Mullally) have imported test vehicles from their European and Australian operations to evaluate their suitability for the U.S. market.

    Chrysler (through its European connections with Magna) offers high mpg versions of such vehicles as the 300 (including a Killer Touring/wagon version of the Magnum), with the 3.0L diesel from Jeep that gets over 40 mpg.

    Going GREEN doesn't have to mean just E-85, bio-fuel etc. There are other options.
     
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  31. I think GM is dead thanks to Bob Lutz the "Putz"
    That guy doesnt know what the hell he is doing...he should be fired effective immediately....
     
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  32. Cadillac Sixteen...........should be built for prestige of the brand, their present offerings are substandard, that is they are not in the same class as Lexus (I own one '03 LS430), MB S-class, Audi, BMW. The STS is small, the DTS is fwd, and the CTS is a compact.

    Okay, make it limited production, let me choose ext. and int. colors from a broad palette, let me decide on no perforated leather seats, let me decide on On-Star vs $12 Rand-McNally, remember
    when one could order many individual items to personalize? And, please don't offer that it can't be done because of costs and inventory.....technology today permits this choice, eh?

    It isn't a 'green' thing, it is giving the customer his choice, amen
     
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  33. Hey, GM hater - Lutz has forgotten more about the car industry than most people will ever know. However, you are entitled to your opinion regardless of how incorrect it is. Have a nice day.
     
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  34. GM's problem is not lack of government fuel economy regulation. As Toyota has gained market share, their fleet fuel economy has deteriorated. Yes, they are trying to sell vehicles like the Escalade, just unsuccessfully. The Escalade fuel economy, by the way, is better than the largest Toyota and Lexus SUVs, even though they are smaller and less capable. They also have put $5000 incentives on the Tundra- it is simply not as good, nor as fuel efficient, as the new GM trucks. Fuel economy regulations put manufacturers, including "green" Toyota, at odds with their customers. Everyone wants mileage, but only after they have the function, performance and cost they want. The new regulations will increase vehicle cost more than the fuel savings. That's why the regulations have been put in place. The market function- customers choosing their preferred balance of function, fuel economy, and cost- does not support dramatic improvement in fuel economy. GM, as well as Ford & Chrysler will be forced to spend many $Billions to develop products that the market may not accept.
     
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