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RIP Cobalt SS


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The Chevrolet Cobalt SS will not live into 2008. Worse, the supercharged version of Chevrolet’s pocket rocket will be gone, too.
 
The performance version of the Cobalt was the lead story when Chevrolet introduced this car, but the division has been very quiet about the elimination of the top of the line performance version from the 2008 line-up. Though the “SS” nameplate is part of Chevrolet Chevrolet ’s heritage, the hottest version will be eliminated from the Cobalt line for 2008 and the SS nameplate is gone, too. Instead, the base Cobalt SS will be called the Cobalt Sport.
 
It’s almost as though they didn’t want to compete.
 
Perhaps they don’t.
 
Though Chevrolet has a tradition of introducing performance versions of its economy cars and then letting them die, starting with the original Vega and continuing through the X-11 Citation, the reason for the demise of the performance Cobalt is more obvious.
The Pontiac Solstice.
 
The obvious engine choice to lead the future Cobalt performance line would have been the 260 hp turbo 2.0 liter. 
 
But that engine is going into the Pontiac Solstice GXP.
 
The Cobalt SS Supercharged and Cobalt SS are going away because the engine that it needed to be a sales success is the same engine that powers the Solstice GXP: the 260 hp turbocharged 2.0 liter.
 
The current Cobalt SS uses a 2.0 liter supercharged engine producing 205 hp. The base Solstice has 177 hp. The 173 hp Cobalt SS lists at 18,900. The base Solstice lists at $22,115. The Cobalt SS Supercharged has 205 hp and lists at $21,590.
 
The Solstice GXP, which uses a 260 hp turbocarged version of the same engine lists at $27.115.00.
 
The GXP’s engine would fit the fits the Cobalt’s engine bay like a friendly slipper.
It is possible that these vehicles would have appealed to very distinct markets, both of them performance oriented, but with different subsidiary values: price vs. snazzy. Both might have succeeded, to the benefit of both Chevrolet and Pontiac.

Perhaps the GM mentality still believes that it competes only with its own divisions. This time, Pontiac Pontiac beat Chevrolet. Neither beat Honda and neither will now appeal to the myriad West Coast tuners whom GM must impress if it is to have any meaningful success in the California market.

Kind of reminds one of the Country & Western songs about the “winner.” Older and wiser, he’s confronted in a bar by a younger punk who wants to fight. When the older man declines, the younger proclaims himself the “winner.” Whereupon, the older gent declaims about all of the benefits which he’d accrued over the years by being the “winner,” such as loosing less teeth than the other guy.

Pontiac’s the “winner.”



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