Chevrolet Has No Plans For A Small Performance Car
Despite recent rumors of a smaller performance car from Chevy, there are no plans for one in the near future.
This report comes following an interview with General Motors product chief, Mark Reuss. In the interview, it is clear that Reuss wants to build a rival to the Focus RS and ST, the Golf R and GTI, and the upcoming Civic Type R, but he is also being cautious with funds. He noted that while these cars sell well when they first roll out, sales tend to taper off pretty quickly after the initial rollout.
One recent example is the freefall that the Scion FR-S has been on since its initial launch, but I feel there is much more behind the FR-S’ issues than just lack of interest. The FR-S has build-quality issues, an underwhelming engine, and questionable value.
This leads Reuss to the conclusion that there isn’t a business case for a go-fast small car, despite saying "I love those things. We know how to do them really well," when queried about a small performance car for Chevy in April 2015.
Ruess also points toward the fact that these go-fast small cars approach the next level of car in the segment as the reason there is no business case for them. For example, the 2015 Focus ST is actually more expensive than the base 2015 Mustang and the base Fusion. While I see his point, I still disagree with it, as they are completely different cars marketed to completely different buyers.
For now, I guess the Code 130R Concept will remain just that: a concept. However, Automotive News does note that Reuss stated that this is not a closed case, and Chevy may revisit a small performance car in the future.
Continue reading to learn more on this topic.
Why it matters
The closest thing to a compact performance car that Chevy has is the Sonic RS, and with 138 horsepower, it is not even close to some of the leaders in this class. Hearing Reuss’ arguments against this segment make me cringe a bit. Clearly, he is playing bean counter instead of looking at the big picture. Yes, these cars sell in small numbers, but that is precisely why their respective automakers base them on existing, volume-selling models. This helps spread the cost across more models and make up the losses on the volume-selling model.
The Focus ST and RS live off the sales of the base Focus; the VW Golf R and GTI live off the base Golf; the Civic Type R will live off sales of the base Civic hatchback, and so on. What’s more, GM already has a car in its lineup that it can use to fill this slot with minimal out-of-pocket expense: the Opel Astra OPC. This 276-horsepower hot-hatchback is one that would likely work very well in the U.S., and all GM needs to do is update its safety equipment and import it with a Chevy badge.
I honestly don’t see the issue here.
Sound off in the comments and let me know what you think of Reuss’ comments.
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Source: Automotive News