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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: Killer design
By cerx on 4/16/2009 10:44:08 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. Why do you think SUVs were so popular in the 90s? Was it so hard to see a gas-price hike back then? No. The car companies made SUVs instead of researching more fuel-efficient vehicles. And now they are reaping what they have sown.


RE: Killer design
By djc208 on 4/17/2009 7:23:58 AM , Rating: 2
Because people like large powerful vehicles and gas was cheap enough to afford them.

The auto makers produce things because people want them. While they certainly hold blame for letting their smaller cars falter in that environment you can't blame them for not wanting to spend money where it's not profitable.

The fact that a high performance car now days has at least 500+ HP and most closer to 600, or the fact that GM managed to create a whole new brand around one of the most fuel in-efficient SUVs (HUMMER), or that Cadillac's resurection was funded by the vehicles like Escalade and CTS-V points to the fact that most people don't want smaller vehicles if given the choice.

The problem for the big three (and all the rest of the auto makers too) is that what people wanted changed essentially over night. When new car development takes years but the price of gas can double in a month there's no way the auto companies can suddenly throw out new vehicles into a changing market.


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