Report: GM high performance division put back to work, focus on small cars

Chevrolet Aveo RS concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

In early 2009, General Motors announced it would be putting all high-performance vehicle projects on indefinite hold, citing that the engineering team responsible for these power-happy cars would be moved to different areas within the company. Since then, the only new performance models to come out of GM have been the CTS-V Coupe and Sport Wagon, leaving a huge void in the General's affordable small performance portfolio. The Chevrolet Cobalt SS and HHR SS were discontinued, and the demise of Pontiac and Saturn did away with any GXP and Red Line products.

However, all of this may change in the not-too-distant future. Automotive News reports that Jim Campbell, GM's vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, has said his company has a tremendous opportunity for new performance entries in the small and compact car markets. This means we should expect higher-output versions of the new Chevrolet Cruze, as well as the upcoming redesigned Aveo – and not just trims that look quick, but go quick too.

We already got a taste of a hotter Aveo in concept form (pictured), and we certainly wouldn't mind a more enthusiastic Cruze, especially since GM still has that 260-horsepower 2.0-liter Ecotec turbocharged four-cylinder engine laying around. We certainly didn't hate the Cobalt SS (far from it), and we think this mill could do wonders in the larger Cruze. What's your vision of the next small performance car from GM? Let us know in the comments.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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