Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
April 10th, 2012
Yesterday evening, we reported on a few statements GM North American President Mark Reuss made to Australia’s GoAuto at this month’s New York Auto Show. Reuss briefly discussed with GoAuto concerns about the Zeta platform’s viability and what could be in store for the Australian Holden Commodore sedan. As it turns out though, GoAuto wasn’t the only auto-centric Aussie establishment itching to get a crack at Reuss.
Australian car magazine Drive spoke to Reuss shortly after he introduced the new 2014 Chevrolet Impala large sedan at the Big Apple show. During the course of their conversation, Reuss hinted to Drive about the Commodore’s return to the US market as a new Chevrolet sports sedan that would also spawn a NASCAR version that would replace the current stock car based around the tepid outgoing Impala. The possibility of a double-edged large sedan attack from Chevrolet is certainly interesting then, given that buyers aren’t buying as many big cars as they used to these days.
However, Reuss’ response, when asked if he thought big cars had a future around the world, was “absolutely.”
“You’ve got technology inside these cars that give you close to 36, 37 miles per gallon on it. So it’s no longer a big fuel economy badness,” he said. “We don’t see fuel spikes happening right now, either. It’s a much more gradual move, which is much more palatable because people can adjust to the way they live to it.” He then continued: “So you’ve got those two dynamics and you’ve got the efficiency and the technology coming it to displace it and so it’s fueling demand to get a car that’s at a better operating cost and I think that’s only going to continue.”
Reuss added that more sensible running costs will secure the future of large sedans. It seems he may be right when you consider that there are plenty of big cars these days that get decent fuel economy. While it’s unknown what figures the new Impala will achieve, its rivals — the Ford Taurus and Dodge Charger — all boast fuel economy numbers hovering near or at the low 30s on the highway. It’s reasonable to expect the next-generation of large sedans will boast numbers even better than that.
“It’s a very naïve discussion to talk about big cars and small cars, it’s what kind of car do you want to get. The operating costs are going to be very good on these things as you go over time.”
As for the Commodore’s return to America since it first came here as the Pontiac G8? Some insiders suggest the Commodore-cum-Chevy-cum-stock car is a done deal and will be here in 2013. It bears repeating that Chevrolet has confirmed a new model is coming to NASCAR next year that isn’t based on any current model or nameplate. Reuss said that he wants the race car to be in sync with the road going version — much like what Ford has done with the Fusion and what Dodge has done with the Charger — a statement that may point to a new V8, rear-drive model.
So then it seems Zeta isn’t going anywhere and, after years of butting heads and gnashing teeth here on Cheers and Gears about the issue, cars of its ilk might be here to stay. Enthusiasts rejoice; it’ll be raining cars for a while yet.