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Interior and exterior views of the Cadillac Converj concept-- according to a new report, the Converj has received the go-ahead for production and will hit the streets in 2011. It could be GM's first profitable electric vehicle and is expected to have more power than the Chevy Volt.  (Source: Motor Trend)
GM gets the second entry in its electric armada ready as it faces troubling times

When it comes to GM, it’s hard to remove its financial predicament from news of its tech developments.  However, assuming that it can survive, GM has approved production of the Cadillac Converj according to a recent report.

Though some have poked fun at the name, the Converj has been quite popular ever since it was introduced as a Volt-derivative plug-in Cadillac concept at the North American International Auto Show 2009 in January.  The model seemed a logical move -- the Volt's production price is well above that of an average Chevy, but closer to that of a luxury brand model -- like a Cadillac.  By essentially re-releasing the Volt with luxury styling, the cost of deploying the Volt could be offset somewhat with an even pricier model under the Cadillac umbrella.

The vehicle has received official go-ahead from GM according a report from Motor Trend.  GM reportedly plans to unleash it on the roads in 2011 making it a 2012 model year vehicle.  Sources say that the Converj could even be the first profitable electric vehicle -- a major victory for GM, and a big boost in getting federal approval of their revised restructuring/bailout proposal, due June 1.

The source at GM says that the Converj will be followed up by a people-mover/crossover utility based on the Voltec (Volt) architecture. 

A GM spokesperson denied both comments, saying that no changes had been made with the Converj or other models.  However, Motor Trend stands by its source, stating.  The publication points out that the drivetrain (lithium-ion battery pack and 1.4L four-cylinder engine) could be largely reused from the Volt, with more battery mass added to give it more power.  The main work would be working an all-new sheetmetal and interior.

The new production model will reportedly be a two-door coupe, like the concept.  This is different from the 4-door with hidden handles version that retiring product chief Bob Lutz suggested.  The height of the production vehicle will also have to be tweaked to make production financially feasible.

The source says that they believe the Buick brand is a likely target for the people-mover.  GMC is another branding possibility.  The Voltec CUV would have two to three rows of seats

GM is continuing to make efforts to grow its profitable brands as it reluctantly agrees to kill other ones, as part of its restructuring -- including Saturn, Saab, and Hummer, according current expectations and reports.  GM has also entered into a partnership with Segway to release new light electric two-wheelers for urban streets.

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RE: expensive but
By matt0401 on 4/15/2009 11:08:27 PM , Rating: 2
First, I don't think the Volt and volt derivatives are "desirable products".

I completely disagree. I frequent a few news sites dealing with environmental issues and green cars (autobloggreen and treehugger to be specific) and while those left-of-centre sites often salivate upon hearing of a minor detail about the new Prius or news of a new wind farm being developed, the Volt has these sites orgasming at the thought of it being produced. It is a VERY desirable product. Sell as much as a standard mid-size sedan? No, not nearly. But sell all in stock to a legion of diehard hippies? Most likely, if not definitely.

These will sell.

RE: expensive but
By djc208 on 4/16/2009 8:09:16 AM , Rating: 2
It's a very desirable product for this subset of people, but they are not a large subset of people. I thought the Dodge Magnum was one of the best looking cars built, but obviously I was in the minority on that one since it doesn't exist any more, and that was based off an existing archetecture and therefore cheaper to produce.

No one is saying GM won't sell the Volt, but same as the Prius or the Tesla, only people who value mother Earth green more than Uncle Sam green, or are looking to make a social statement, will buy right now. That's not a huge market in the 10-million car sales year the auto industry is praying they can get this year.

Add in the fact that with gas prices back down as low as they are fewer people are seeing the benefit of spending extra on a more fuel efficient vehicle, and the Volt isn't coming out into the best market it could have.

Technologically GM needs this vehicle to survive into the future. Financially it's a horrible time to do it. GM needs to worry more about building world class Volt sized conventional cars. Maintaining its current competitive Cadillac products since they make good profits and target people who are much less affected by economic downturns. And staying competitive in the full-size truck market. The home buyers may be backing out but the core of that market isn't going anywhere, and it's a large market with lots of applications.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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