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Cadillac retracts promise to produce Converj

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Cadillac retracts promise to produce Converj

01/12/2010, 2:09 PMBY MARK KLEIS

General Motors’ Bob Lutz appears to have jumped the gun when he announced that Cadillac had confirmed the production future for the Converj on Sunday. Now, Cadillac’s global product director, John Howell, has clarified that the business case for the Converj is still being reviewed.

Although Bob Lutz apparently misspoke in announcing confirmed production plans for the Converj over the weekend, Leftlane also reported back in early November about an announcement that occurred during a board meeting in which the Converj was confirmed for production. Whatever the case, it appears as if the Converj may not get the go-ahead after all.

In speaking with a group of analysts on Sunday, Lutz communicated that GM intended to build the Converj, using the Volt’s Voltec system sometime after 2012, according to MLive.

Directly contradicting Lutz’ comments was the clarification by Howell that there is definitely still more work to be done on the business case for the Converj concept before a decision can be made. One concern for Cadillac is that the Voltec system may be lacking in refinement and power that is typically associated with the brand.

“We want it to be a true luxury driving experience,” Howell said.

Howell went on to explain that the abnormally rough year, compounded by the bankruptcy, firing of two CEOs and severely limited resources have also put a strain on being able to commit to future products such as a Converj-based coupe.

Should the Converj concept make it to production, it would be expected to feature a 40-mile pure EV mode, followed by a generator-driven additional 260 miles.



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GM Build it and they will come! If you do not, it will be hard for people to want to come to you to be green in comprison to the competition. You need this green car! End of story.

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Lutz Jumps Gun On Cadillac Converj Production

Just two days ago Bob Lutz told the world in no uncertain terms that the "Cadillac Converj is cleared for production," but today we're getting a different line from within Cadillac, including a report of Cadillac's global product director, John Howell, refuting Lutz's statement. Our own sources within Cadillac tell us why.

According to a report from mlive.com, Howell left no doubt that Lutz's announcement was premature at best. The business case for Converj production is simply not there.

That makes sense, especially taken in light of the comments from our source within Cadillac. Comparing a rushed Converj to the Lexus HS 250h, the source told Motor Authority that Cadillac would not bring Converj to market until it could be produced to a standard that fits with the rest of the brand's image. Cutting corners in regard to luxury to bring a car to market would put the brand they've worked so hard to rebuild at risk.

A quick run to market with the Converj had seemed a given, in a way--just build a luxury car on the Volt platform and bam! Instant Converj. But the reality of pulling that off in a package that represents Cadillac inside and out isn't quite so easy.

The Volt itself doesn't even enter production until late this year, with the first year of sales a gradual ramp-up period. Bringing the Converj to market in 2012 would give little time to overcome the hurdles likely to be encountered in the project--and a lack of time isn't conducive to staying within a budget, something that GM is acutely aware of these days. And that brings us back to the business case for the Converj--if it's expensive to build, it will have to be expensive to sell, and that will limit units sold, which in turns limits the ability to recoup the investment to build the car in the first place.

The Converj isn't necessarily on the shelf, however. As of now it appears to be awaiting further development and a market situation that favors its release. Whether that will come in 2012 or later is anyone's guess.



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