C7 Corvette for 2012 and more new GM models
Some of the details emerging from the General Motors contract with the United Auto Workers have revealed what the General will be building and when. The details are contained in commitments made by GM to build vehicles at specified plants, and disclose the nature of the vehicles to be built.
One of the most interesting details is the GM commitment concerning the Bowling Green, Kentucky assembly plant. That’s been the home of the Corvette since GM acquired the facility from Chrysler and is also where the Cadillac XLR is built. The contract indicates that the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky will be moving to Bowling Green eventually, as well. As the plant currently builds to capacity on a single shift, the plan to move those models to Bowling Green clearly implies adding a second shift at that plant.
But, there’s one more detail:
The contract says when the next Corvette is coming: 2012, along with a new XLR.
The details were revealed by Scott Burgess of the Detroit News.
Other highlights about the next few years of GM production:
The Chevy Volt is scheduled, as previously reported, for 2010, to be built at GM’s Hammtrack, Michigan assembly plant.
Spring Hill, Tennessee, originally the home of Saturn, gets a big Chevy SUV crossover – the “Traverse” – on the same platform as the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia.
Cadillac is in clover: they get a CTS sport wagon and they get a new small SUV (as rumored). The later is perhaps to be called the BRX, though that seems awfully close to the name of a small bicycle for children.
Hummer is going to have an H3T, a shrunken H2T. It was shown as a concept in 2004, and is coming to production soon.
As a very interesting insight, GM will begin building a new rear wheel drive small car in 2009. That’s the future of the Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant, which currently assembles the Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G6. After 2009, that plant will be building a subcompact sedn and midsize rear wheel drive vehicle (which, presumably, is an Epsilon platform car; recent rumors have had the first of those as a 2010 Buick LaCrosse replacement).
Much of this confirms rumors that have been floating for some time, though the concrete deadlines offer confirmation previously unavailable. Still, it is an interesting insight into GM’s thinking about the future.
For the most part, it seems that GM’s future is a lot like it’s past: evolutionary changes mostly copied from competitors who got there first. Of course, if the Chevy crossover does as well as the Enclave, that would be good news for the company. Implicitly, extending that basic model to Chevrolet suggests the company may also be adding capacity to build both the Enclave and the Acadia. Last month, GM announced plans to export Enclaves to China. As the plant which currently manufactures that model is running three shifts and cannot meet demand, this suggests that GM will be adding substantial amounts of capacity by building the model at Spring Hill.
The commitment to a rear wheel drive mid-size car is also interesting. Rear wheel drive has clearly won the fashion race in the full-size ranks, but smaller models have continued to be front wheel drive unless they are premium priced compacts like the 3 Series and the C Class. GM may be leapfrogging its Japanese competition on this one.
And then there’s that tantalizing bit about the Corvette. 2012 for the next generation car. Not 2010. Plenty of time to develop an entirely new Corvette. And, there’s to be a new XLR, as irrational as that seems.
Here’s a thought:
As the Vette and the XLR are built on the same platform at the same plant, the idea that there will be another XLR seems, at first, inconsistent with the idea that the C7 Corvette would, as rumored, be a mid-engine model. But, the Cadillac Cien concept car of several years ago was a mid-engined vehicle.
Could the same platform be both a Corvette and an ultra-performance Cadillac?
Source: Detroit News