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Oracle of Delphi

GM to produce micro-premium car

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General Motors is considering building a micro-premium car, a new report finds. The model — which is being considered in the wake of new CAFE regulations and $100 a barrel oil — would compete against the MINI Cooper, BMW 1-series and Audi A3.

However, GM is still deciding which architecture to use in the new car. The Detroit automaker recently announced that it will build a production a version of the Beat concept in the coming years, but its fuel-efficient front-drive setup wouldn't translate well into a driver-focused premium package. The Kappa platform remains a possibility — the same that underpins the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice — as does a new small rear-wheel drive platform still under development.

What also remains unclear is what brand GM would sell the vehicle under. The Cadillac brand isn't a candidate for the new model as GM wants to keep the luxury marque for bigger, high-powered cars, and the Chevrolet brand is likely out because it couldn't command the price of a luxury model.

With Pontiac vehicles focusing on strictly performance vehicles, that leave Buick, Saab and Saturn. While a decision is still a ways out — GM hasn't even built a clay model of the vehicle yet — it would seem that Buick would be a perfect fit for the new model. Its not-quite-Cadillac premium image and new focus on style — see the Enclave CUV — would lend itself seamlessly to a premium small car.

Whatever the car ends up being, it shows a new way of thinking at GM and a general shift in what a premium car can be. As one GM executive said, "It's a given that everyone will have to de-couple luxury from size if we are to make that 35 mpg."

Link: http://www.leftlanenews.com/gm-to-produce-...remium-car.html

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"Mini Cooper, BMW 1-Series, and Audi A3." Small, premium cars that bend toward performance as much as luxury... Pontiac Country. Buick? Good Lord, no. SAAB? Not with RWD.

Such a car is a good idea, to be sure, but it's gotta be branded properly.

Edited by ocnblu
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If it's FWD, yes. It would fit as a SAAB.
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I could be wrong, but I don't see a MINI-sized RWD model happening. I'd say use a small FWD platform, make sure the car have strong Saab and Scandinavian design cues (meaning practical and clean styling), and offer it as a hatchback and as a small convertible. Oh, and please call it Sonnet.

A RWD 1-Series competitor for Cadillac (Cadillac AT1?) would be interesting. I don't really see the MINI and the 1-Series being cross shopped, and I don't think my Sonnet and an AT1 would be cross shopped

I find this quote very interesting:

Whatever the car ends up being, it shows a new way of thinking at GM and a general shift in what a premium car can be. As one GM executive said, "It's a given that everyone will have to de-couple luxury from size if we are to make that 35 mpg."
Edited by ZL-1
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Such a dumb article. They start out talking about a micro-premium car (ala smart), and soon move on to speculation on things which are bigger, and bigger, and bigger as if a 1-series is the same size as a fortwo.

Edited by thegriffon
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So, is the story here that GM finally noticed the Mini's success?

Or that the brands it has (mis)managed so badly can't justify a premium-priced small entry?

I though every manufacturer on the planet wants into this segment. How is that newsworthy?

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With Pontiac vehicles focusing on strictly performance vehicles, that leave Buick, Saab and Saturn. While a decision is still a ways out — GM hasn't even built a clay model of the vehicle yet — it would seem that Buick would be a perfect fit for the new model. Its not-quite-Cadillac premium image and new focus on style — see the Enclave CUV — would lend itself seamlessly to a premium small car.

I think, if done properly (and especially if it end up on Kappa and a bit bigger) Pontiac would be an EXCELLENT candidate.

If it's FWD or AWD, Saab or Saturn (Depending on pric e and volume) would be the choice.

I really can't see Buick going smaller than Delta....

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All they needed to do was produce a higher end version of the Aveo with a more sophisticated power plant and underpinnings, nicer interior and give that to Pontiac, instead of the cookie-cutter version in the Wave. That would have kept the dealers from slitting each other's throats and given GM a higher performance, small car to go after the likes of the Mini.

Not that GM gives a damn about Canada, but if this model were to go to Saturn, they may as well just cancel the Chevrolet brand in this country.

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They need something along the specifications of the N-body again. The Epsilon has gotten too big and heavy and the Delta is still too awkwardly packaged. This is a hole in the lineup.

Something the size/weight of an Alero with NA and Turbo 4 cylinders only could be a hot seller in both the Pontiac/Chevy market and the Saturn/Buick market.

The old Alero with an old EcoTec easily gets 35mpg highway.

edit: and FWD... before the "everything must be RWD" crowd gets here.

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They need something along the specifications of the N-body again. The Epsilon has gotten too big and heavy and the Delta is still too awkwardly packaged. This is a hole in the lineup.

Something the size/weight of an Alero with NA and Turbo 4 cylinders only could be a hot seller in both the Pontiac/Chevy market and the Saturn/Buick market.

The old Alero with an old EcoTec easily gets 35mpg highway.

edit: and FWD... before the "everything must be RWD" crowd gets here.

Won't Alpha take that void? At least for Pontiac it does.

I have no problem with a small affordable pocket rocket. If the top end is a small 4-cylinder turbo, should be pretty fun. As much as you guys hate small engines, the small Japanese Keicars can be a lot of fun too. Fun doesn't always come from big engines. Look at Lotus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autozam_AZ-1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daihatsu_Copen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_Cappuccino

As long as it's bigger than a Smart then it's fine by me.

Edited by ToniCipriani
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I don't care what they build but please don't let it out in 2015.

This thing should be in production by 2010.

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Saab 9-1. Come on people.

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Cadillac - Just not smart to give a baby car to this division in any way. It would dilute the brand just like the 1 series and A class have diluted BMW and Mercedes.

Buick - Now I know some of you might think I'm crazy here, but hear me out. This size of car for Buick would be a major hit in their biggest market, China, plus it would bring in a whole new group of people into the dealership here in the States. If done right it could fit in perfect with Buicks new direction. This would most likley need to be front wheel drive to fit in with the rest of the lineup.

Chevrolet - No "premium" small car should be done here. A low cost high quality small car needs to be done instead.

Saab - Wow could they have fun introducing a small car that had resemblence to the Saabs of the 60s. I have no doubt people would be all over it. It would also help Saab with their world wide sales #s.

Saturn - If Opel has it, so then should Saturn. The Corsa seems small enough and cheap enough for now. Maybe adding some diesels from Opel would make more sense than smaller cars.

Pontiac - Everytime a magazine gets a hold of the Mini they fall in love with it's sporty small style. A super small rear wheel drive car would fit perfect with Pontiac just like it does with BMW. If they want Pontiac to be a lower cost BMW, then this would be perfect.

RECAP; Buick, Saab and Pontiac are the only brands that should be considered for such a car. Saab and Buick could easily share the chassis, but Pontiac would need something totally different.

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PONTIAC CYBER!!!!!! Named after a cloth upholstery I think off the outgoing Vibe, I'd base it directly off the Solstice's Kappa RWD architecture, complete with the 95.1" wheelbase. Seats 4 passengers, in SJ and GT trim levels, in 3-door hatchback Aerocoupe and 5-door hatchback Aerosedan body styles, it would be sporty-performance oriented, not a rebadge-by-way-of Chevy unlike the ugly Aveo-turned-Wave/G2 like Canada and Mexico (where it could also be sold/built), NO CHEVY OR SATURN OR OTHER COMPANIONS!!! It would be tough, but given the RWD and short wheelbase, make it as space-efficient as possible, something Pontiac doesn't know how to do these days (G6, Grand Prix are the biggest examples/offenders). 1.8-liter DOHC ECOTEC 140hp I-4 right out of the Saturn Astra for SJ; add RAM AIR and/or a turbocharger for 180-200hp for GT, or if you can think of something better/more advanced, then so be it. How about this for an image booster?

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Won't Alpha take that void? At least for Pontiac it does.

I have no problem with a small affordable pocket rocket. If the top end is a small 4-cylinder turbo, should be pretty fun. As much as you guys hate small engines, the small Japanese Keicars can be a lot of fun too. Fun doesn't always come from big engines. Look at Lotus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autozam_AZ-1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daihatsu_Copen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_Cappuccino

As long as it's bigger than a Smart then it's fine by me.

Not everything needs to be a sports car. Sometimes premium just means a nice, well appointed, front driver for daily use. What the Milan attempts to be.

One of the things I like about the Milan is that you can get a 4-cylinder completely loaded.

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Not everything needs to be a sports car. Sometimes premium just means a nice, well appointed, front driver for daily use. What the Milan attempts to be.

One of the things I like about the Milan is that you can get a 4-cylinder completely loaded.

Notice my words top end. And I'm just proving my point that small cars can be fun too.

But by all means, Milan isn't small...

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As a huge fan of small cars, all I can say is Halleluia its about time.

Chris

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Saab, Saab.....

Saab Sonett. 1.6 DOHC in the base model, 1.6 DOHC turbo in the Aero with available XWD. Something about the size and profile of a Mazda MX-3, maybe?

Chevy doesn't need any "premium" small cars. Now, if the Aveo wasn't an embarrassing piece of crap, they might have something to draw buyers away from Hyundai and Kia. Pushing the price up to Mini levels (which would easily buy something bigger from Chevy) would make no sense.

And that's why Saab still exists. :)

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Saab Sonett. 1.6 DOHC in the base model, 1.6 DOHC turbo in the Aero with available XWD. Something about the size and profile of a Mazda MX-3, maybe?

I've had a fantasy of a modern day Sonnet using the Tigra undeprinings and a powerful small turbo I4, but at this point I don't think that will happen: new 9-5, 9-4X, 9-1 are priorities.

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I am have said for a while Pontiac needs a Mini beater to go with it's new True Euro like cars.

Dump the G5 for this car and leave room for a Alpha G6.

I see Pontiac doing well with 4 lines of cars and a few variations of each.

Leave the bigger cars like the RIv for Buick.

The bottom line is it has to be fund to drive and cool. This can't be some glorified golf cart!.

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I am have said for a while Pontiac needs a Mini beater to go with it's new True Euro like cars.

Dump the G5 for this car and leave room for a Alpha G6.

I see Pontiac doing well with 4 lines of cars and a few variations of each.

Leave the bigger cars like the RIv for Buick.

The bottom line is it has to be fund to drive and cool. This can't be some glorified golf cart!.

But people want Pontiac to offer RWD, and the news here is about a FWD minicar. Pontiac could get a 1-Series sized Alpha (let's call it the G4 for branding/naming logic purposes) that would fit under the G6 in a G4-G6-G8(?) lineup.

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