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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Zeta Confusion

Some time ago, GM announced it was stopping work on the Zeta mid-size-to-fullsize RWD platform, to focus resources on releasing upcoming truck and SUV products.

Then, GM announced that Zeta was coming, after all.

Now, Bob Lutz tells TheCarConnection (near the bottom of the page) that Zeta is looking too expensive to import into the US from Australia.
GM's vice chairman set out to set the record straight on a variety of issues following the Opel reveal on Tuesday. For one thing, he told reporters, the automaker's new rear-drive Zeta platform "is not dead or cancelled." Well, not exactly. The original version was, indeed, scrapped a few months back because "we did a lot of not-smart things…that didn't make business sense. We accepted the delay." As originally planned, GM's Australian subsidiary, Holden, will play the lead in developing the revised Zeta platform. But it is less and less likely that it will be able to export cars based on Zeta, at least to the United States. The Australian dollar's gain on the U.S. dollar "pretty much cancels your profits margin," Lutz lamented, so "exports to the U.S. don't look real promising at this point." But there will still be opportunities for Holden to ship product to other markets, such as the Middle East .

What interested me about this quote is that there is no mention of whether a version of Zeta would be built in North America for the US market. The implication is that Zeta will not be built in N.A., which of course leads to a question.

What about the Camaro?

I have read on AutoBlog that GM is looking at using one of its other RWD platforms for a Camaro, such as Sigma (Cadillac CTS) or Kappa (Solstice). Kappa doesn't seem likely, as it would have to grow substantially to be a mid-size muscle car. Sigma is said to be expensive.


Anonymous said...

AutoProphet, I also wondered why this chassis wouldn't be produced here. I know it's being developed in Australia, but designs can be "imported" can't they?

GM and Ford both make good rear wheel drive platforms down under that could be adapted to left hand drive and built here. I know it's not cheap, but it can be done right?

At least Ford has the Mustang and outgoing Lincoln LS chassis to consider. But couldn't GM lower the cost of the Sigma platform, if it increases volume? The CTS is a nice car, I've driven it and found it to be well balanced.

But could rear wheel drive be just a short lived trend? Is there enough of that pie to divide three ways? I don't see Honda or Toyota going that direction. You work in the industry, do you think it's worth the investment?

Love your blog, keep up the great posts

Ben K said...

For what it's worth, Holden currently exports to the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, South Africa and New Zealand and to other places in South-East Asia too., by comparison, doesn't have much of an export program.