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GM Expands Rear-Drive Plans


General Motors’ plans for new rear-wheel-drive cars are continuing to grow and could be stretched to include the revival of the GTO coupe.

Not all the programs have been approved by GM's board of directors, but the outlines of the plan are already coming into sharper focus and will go beyond just the new Chevrolet Camaro and a new rear-drive Cadillac powered by a V-12 engine.

Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman for product development, told TheCarConnection.com back in February that the rear-wheel-drive platform, carrying the upcoming Chevrolet Camaro, could be "stretched."

“If…we wanted to do a very large rear-wheel-drive Cadillac with more than eight cylinders you could do [it]," Lutz told TheCarConnection.com.

 

Last week, other media outlets reported that Cadillac has begun working on that Cadillac and a V-12 engine to power it. There is a possibility GM will show a Cadillac V-12 concept at next week’s New York auto show.

 

GM’s plans for rear-wheel-drive cars may go even further. Steve Shannon, Buick's general manager, told TheCarConnection.com last week that a rear-wheel-drive Lucerne or Lucerne replacement was a distinct possibility by the end of the decade. GM is already working on a rear-wheel-drive Buick in China from basically the same stretchable platform that is expected to carry the Camaro and the future Cadillac.

GM insiders, in fact, said recently that GM has already initiated discussion with UAW Local 22, which represents workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant where the new Cadillac and Buick would be built. GM wants an understanding with the union before moving forward with the project.

However, in addition to the new rear-wheel-drive Cadillac, which is likely to come in V-8 and V-12 versions, and a plush new rear-drive Buick, GM also has a couple of additional variants planned to help polish up the Pontiac division’s performance credentials, including the already announced G8 sedan and possibly, a new GTO coupe, sources have told TheCarConnection.com.

The addition of G8 and GTO to the rear-drive lineup means GM now has six rear-drive models in preparation for the U.S. market, if the V-8 and V-12 Cadillacs are counted as separate cars. The number could grow to seven if GM pulls the trigger on a rear-wheel-drive Firebird, which also has been rumored.

In the old days, GM might have been content to do the Camaro and move on to the next project. The world, however, has changed and the only way GM could make the Camaro plan work was to stretch the program and spread its cost over several new models.

 

Getting more models from one platform simply makes good business sense. Ford and Mazda have already done it with a couple of platforms and carmakers are even talking about sharing their platforms with rivals to help cover development expenses.

Related Articles

 

New York Show Lineup Grows by TCC Team (3/21/2007)
GM concept, Buicks, WRX on tap.

 

Buick Reviving “Super” Tag by Joseph Szczesny (3/20/2007)
New rear-driver also coming to China, U.S.

 

Lutz: Camaro Gear Could Spawn Big Caddy by Joseph Szczesny (2/25/2007)
A Cadillac with more than eight cylinders still possible, Lutz says.

 

2008 Pontiac G8 Preview by Marty Padgett (2/7/2007)
Oz brings you the big rear-drive Pontiac

 

 

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