• Jan 20, 2008
It's finally (semi) official: RWD cars like a new Pontiac GTO (and Holden Monaro) and Impala are "gone for now." Bob Lutz has been making noises about it for a while, and every announcement gets more and more certain that the front wheels will be pulling more GM cars.

Just a month ago, Lutz told Forbes "That's where the internal debate [on the Impala] is now -- no firm decision at this point, but my guess is that we will come down on the side of the front-drive car." By the time of last week's Detroit Auto Show, Lutz was telling GoAuto "I think the (Monaro/Pontiac GTO) is gone for now.... [T]hat's not the end of the market where we want to stimulate demand. We have to find ways to stimulate demand and desirability in cars that will get us closer to the 35 MPG average."

How will that be done? Perhaps by using the Alpha midsize platform and making CUV's. However, the Alpha still hasn't been signed off on, and won't be until GM figures out what -- and how many -- standards it will need to adhere to when the CAFE tug-of-war ends.

[Source: GoAuto]


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  • 100 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Bob Lutz needs to retire, he's stuck in the past and needs to realize that we moved on from the era rear wheel gas guzzlers decades ago. Not only that, but during that time, GMs reputation has declined as they have not been able to compete with younger, hungrier competitors.

      I don't hear other car companies whining, or trying to use fear tactics to try and turn people against the new standards. I just see them doing what needs to be done to meet those standards.

      GM and Ford need to bring in some new blood and get with the times. Most people don't even care whether a regular car is rear wheel driven or not, the vast majority of cars sold are fwd these days and they work just fine for the vast majority of car drivers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is really interesting about this
      http://www.vipstar.de.tt/
        • 7 Years Ago
        spam alert!!!!!!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      GM sucks ass.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Im not understanding what rwd has to do with them not meeting better fuel requirements? Build lighter, more fuel efficient engines(like Ford is doing) and keep the rwd platforms. I guess he said they are only "gone for now" but this seems like a cop out to me.
      • 7 Years Ago
      With due respect Bob, those were great cars, and they embody a great automotive era. But, this is 2008 now, and many lower level vehicles match the performance points of the cars you mention... And there are current cars, such as the Corvette, Mustang, G37, CTS, 300C, M3 etc. that offer great performance and value and cover all parts of the market.

      And GM's CAFE excuse doesn't fly. All automakers knew for years that this would happen and had more than enough time to plan with enhanced technologies, like DI, lightweight materials, cylinder shut-off and hybrid systems. Heck, GM could have built these vehicles, and paid the CAFE fines until their technology caught up with the standard.
      • 6 Years Ago
      1st, i dont care if a camry or accord gets the same performace as a nova or chevelle from the 60's, they both are suckish, girly, and just plain boring.

      2nd, people keep asking how are they going to differentiate the impala from the malibu. Why? Its already been done! the impala is in a different class from the malibu, same size or not. its a similiar case with the nissan maxima & altima. The altima is a family sedan w/ choices of a 4-clyinder or 6-cylinder. The maxima is an upscale sedan w/ standard V6 power.

      Im with this bob fellow 100%, they dont need to abandon this idea of RWD'ing the impala, i dont care if gas is $3 a gallon. if u dont want it but an accord instead, than thats u. Ima go classic RWD...
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's probably a marketing decision.

      Just using the name Impala implies that it must be a level above Malibu in price and status, RWD or FWD.
      For a RWD Impala you would be approaching Cadillac territory. This doesn't fit the Chevy mold. On the flip side, you could cannibalize Cadillac sales if it was world class and low price. For the RWD enthusiasts they would still have the Camero.

      A large car is not going to help fleet average.
      ============
      Myself, I would like to see a Buick, & Pontiac smaller midsize RWD platform that would be about the size of the RIP Lincoln LS. This could be the step below Cadillac with premium prices and economies of scale. It could have great mileage, handling, and performance of a V6 direct injected & turbo charged.
        G.Heindel
        • 7 Years Ago
        RENE...ME TOO!
        I will keep my Rwd. Lincoln LS forever!
        Handles,Rides Well @ 24.5 mpg.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why can't they just start sticking the 2.0 liter/260 hp turbo/super charged engine from the Solstice/Sky into a lot of these other cars. 260 HP is plenty power, and the engine is pretty good on gas. Just my two cents.
        • 7 Years Ago
        How about a 6 speed automatic with the V6 in the new G8?
        GM doesn't even have 6 speed automatics in the Silverado 1500 yet? come on it is almost '08.5, is GM going to make the public wait until the '09s? [how many housing starts will there be in 8-9 months?]
        What about the tahoe/suburban, same with the H3, canyon/colorado. Those two could use variable intake valve timing too.
        The 'new' Saturn Astra has a 4 speed automatic. Absolute crap!
      • 7 Years Ago
      IF only they'd build fewer high-riding CUVs that need lots of fuel to push all that air out of the way, and build more RWD sedans that weigh a little more . . . .

      I'd call that a better CAFE compromise.

      But then, I'm not the market as a whole.
        • 7 Years Ago
        That One Person,
        I had an '05 Subaru Impreza that was of course AWD, weighed under 3000lbs, and was roughly the size of a corolla. I have to imagen that a RWD drivetrain would weigh and cost less than an AWD one.
        • 7 Years Ago
        How about a few RWD sedans that weigh *less*. The current Impala and Malibu are pushing close to 4000#.

        Now, a 3000# sedan with a RWD V6/6sp stick would be the ticket for CAFE.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Mali tops out at just over 3600lbs....about the same as the Accord and Camry.

        I doubt any company would be able to produce a RWD car that weighs so little in the same price bracket as the Malibu or even the Impala for that matter. Heck, the 09 Corolla weighs in close to 3k lbs. Remember, less weight most definitely means a higher cost.

        I would love to see a RWD car that was about the same size as the Malibu but I doubt it will happane...especially if it's meant to be placed into that price bracket.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Thats two times that the stuffy old GTO could not survive an oil crisis. Just should of gone with a Firebird, which flourished during oil situations.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am so glad I lived in an era where they made real cars. I remember looking at new GTO's, Road Runners, SS-396's, and Hemi powered 'cudas. I thought we may be heading back to those days in the last couple years, but sadly, looks like we are not. Well, better to have had 'em than not. I still have my '66 SS Nova in the garage, so when I feel like re-living the days of yor, I can. So long to cars that might have been. And to those who would have loved them........
        • 7 Years Ago
        I totally agree with bob on this one, but I understand why some people dont. It's the experience that counts though, and so theres no point in arguing. To me cruising in the summer with the windows down in the city is the most fun that I can have.I own a 72 Toronado, she's a big battleship and more often then not when I go out to start her up it takes me an extra half an hour or so to figure out why shes just cranking and not starting. But I have fun doing that. She's not the fastest or the most efficient, but I love her still. The big 455 gives her character that most modern cars totally lack.
        And I'm not leveling this at just imports either. I've got a 93 legacy that has as much personality as a car can get because it's built like a tractor and just won't die.

        I think that if GM would just go through with making these cars you'd have more cars on the road with drivers enjoying driving them rather then them just being everyday econoboxes getting them back and forth from the job.
        And in my opinion nothing gives the car as much personality as a V8 exhaust note.
        • 7 Years Ago
        So I guess the fact that a Camry has the same 0-60 as a SS Nova had in the 60s means nothing?

        In a lot of ways, the muscle car came out on top.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I agree with you Bob; this is why the first car that I bought myself was a '73 Buick Riviera that I'm restoring.

        And why not the LS2/LS7?
        To me, the fact that your average modern family sedan will run rings around most muscle cars from the 50s, 60s, and 70s makes little difference. They don't drive, sound, or look like the older cars do.

        Take my Buick... it's a 5500lb car. It gets
        • 7 Years Ago
        I agree CowboyBob even I'm too young to remember then but I'm old enough to remember the Buick Grand National. The Accord is now morphed into "gramps's car" and the Camry......I fell like I'm just another brick in the wall in a wall carved of bricks in form of Camrys.

        Ford on the other hand will plan a global RWD platform powered by Ecoboost and TwinForce engines and if Ford meets a big success with their future RWD platform, will prompt GM to change its mind and also caught Toyota and Honda pants down.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Owain;
        I don't disagree with any of your statements at all. And I appreciate newer cars as well... the Buick is my project, but my daily driver is a 2007 STI Limited.

        What bothers me is that the auto industry appears to be trending largely away from, as you put it, "big, crude power." I certainly won't argue that everything on the road should be like the Buick-which is give-or-take 20 feet long, weighs about 5500lbs, and gets about 7mpg-but cars like that have their own place, just as the STI does, just as a Camry or an Accord or a Suburban or any other car/truck does.

        And to me, the loss of the last generation Firebird and Camaro, the failure of the GTO, and the probable short lifespan of the G8 (and maybe even the Camaro) is sad. They certainly aren't the best cars in the world-they never were. But they had a niche that they filled, and there's precious little out there right now that can fill it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "They don't drive, sound, or look like the older cars do."

        I know; they're better. The average car is truly better.

        Old stuff is cool, but innovation is even cooler. Don't get old before your time and end up like those old farts at car shows who think if it's not a '69 camaro or '66 nova--built to state of the art spec circa 1985--it's weak.

        I love big, crude power. I love to go see pro-mods run. But there's more to a NOPI race weekend than hot chicks and stupid punks with baggy pants--there's some amazing modern muscle.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Blowhard Bob, retire already...

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