Is this the end of Chevy SS models?

February 27th, 2009
GM high performance: burnt out

GM High Performance: burnt out

So GM is shutting down its legendary High Performance Vehicle Operations team. This is the unit of GM responsible for bringing us every SS model ever built, from the ’63 Nova SS to the upcoming ’10 Camaro SS (not to mention the crazy fast Cadillac CTS-V and insanely good Corvette ZR1).

I gotta say, I’m sad about this. I’ve never even owned a high-performance GM car, but I sure like to read about them in the pages of auto mags. The thought of a Chevy with no SS models is like thinking of the NFL without a Super Bowl.

At the very least, we can all take comfort in knowing that the models already designed and in production will still make it to showrooms. That means if you ordered a 2010 Camaro SS, you’ll still get it. And Corvette will still be produced in the future.

Obviously this is a move designed to cut costs and focus on fuel efficiency over performance in an effort to save the company.  As an auto blogger, I usually have a very strong opinion on things, but in this case I could go either way:

  1. It’s about time. This is a move that needs to be done in order to create a leaner company.
  2. This is outrageous, because the brand’s core customers are the ones who live and breathe American high-performance cars. Reading about a CTS-V outperforming a BMW M3 might make folks who can’t afford the V reconsider the base model.

Instead of taking a side on this issue, I want to open it up to you.

Do you agree with GM’s move to disband the HPVO team? What are some of your favorite GM performance cars?

-tgriffith

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  1. BJ
    March 14th, 2009 at 20:56 | #1

    I love the GM performance cars of today and yesterday, such as the Camaro, Corvette and the old Chevelle, but in today’s market, consumers are not looking for those street monsters. Don’t get me wrong, if I could afford one I would have one, but that’s just it, not everyone can afford one. People are looking for lower-cost cars that are easy on the wallets in terms of fuel. The average consumer in the car market isn’t going to be looking for a car that has over 400 horsepower and does 0-60 in under five seconds (as awesome as that is). Don’t get me wrong, I would absolutly love to own a Camaro SS or a ZO6, but with the large price tags those carry, the only way I will ever own one is on my Xbox or Playstation.

  2. Randy
    March 2nd, 2009 at 14:50 | #2

    If GM wants to survive, it needs to spend it’s precious development dollars on vehicles that sell in volume. Cars like the Camaro are just plain stupid– It costs as much to develop as a big volume car, but will never be more than a low-volume niche vehicle. Remember, SS models have to be validated as separate platforms, and this is also an expensive proposition when faced with low sales. GM has a lot of fat in their vehicle lines, especially cars like Corvette, Saturn and Pontiac two-seaters, the Camaro, and various SS models. Most are developed as pogey bait for the automotive press. GM’s “core customers” are not performance car enthusiasts, they’re the general public who buy their volume lines. If GM doesn’t get that concept real fast, they won’t last to the end of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I like performance vehicles, but I’m a fairly typical car consumer and I don’t buy them. Reviews in the hot rod rags aren’t going to save GM! They need good reviews in publications like Consumer Reports.

  3. tgriffith
    February 27th, 2009 at 13:11 | #3

    @Justin
    Hi Justin, thanks for your comments. I think you’re right and the high performance unit will be brought back; assuming GM survives. Regarding the CTS-V, here’s a quote from US News and World Report: “The CTS-V, a version of Cadillac’s entry-level luxury car that featured a modified Corvette engine and an adjustable magnetic suspension, set the record for the fastest lap ever recorded by a four-door car on the famous Nurburging test track and bested the vaunted BMW M3 in some comparison tests.”
    And you’re right, the V also edged the M5 in a Motor Trend test and costs a good $20K less.

  4. Stu
    February 27th, 2009 at 13:06 | #4

    As a more Pontiac fan I’m saddend to hear that GM is dropping the name altogether. But Chev will always be at the core of their sales even if some the high performance models are gone for a bit. They’ll be back after the company restuctures.

  5. Justin
    February 27th, 2009 at 12:46 | #5

    Also, the CTS-V competes with the M5 (M6 when the coupe arrives) mr Car Guru, not the M3.

  6. Justin
    February 27th, 2009 at 12:39 | #6

    Well, there is no way that this is permanent because GM will need halo vehicles. If anything it just means no more updated vehicles for a while…. but at least they moved them to other divisions rather than firing them.

  7. andrew
    February 27th, 2009 at 11:37 | #7

    Since cars like the SS Camaro, Z06, and ZR1 are considered regular production cars, GM has said they will not be affected.. its going to be the V-series Cadillacs, all other SS vehicles which include the Cobalt, HHR, Impala, all SS trucks/ suv/ the V8 colorado, and GXP Pontiacs.

    Im going to miss all these vehicles, except for the SS Impala and HHR, even with the 5.3 in the Impala it has never felt right to me for the current car.

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