By on January 19, 2009

Remember the Converj concept Caddy rolled out for the Detroit show? You know, the good looking Volt coupe? The one that was held up as a reason to bring PNGV back from beyond the grave? Anyway, you probably had your hopes up for a quick production run. After all, GM’s Car Czar Bob Lutz hath already proclaimed that a production Converj would look “exactly” like the concept. So it’s official, right? Right? When Automotive News [sub] actually asks the question, Lutz’s maximum takes a moment to aknowledge the presence of reality. “Ready to go? Well, first we have to prove to ourselves that we have the money,” Lutz says. “And then that it’s a high enough priority to displace something else, and that we can actually make money on the vehicle, and that there is potential customer interest and so forth. We haven’t done any of that work yet.” So now we know: “proving to ourselves that we have the money” is step one (post-concept) for GM product development. With an estimated debt load of $60b and a market cap of you-depress-yourself-with-the-math, that process of “proving to ourselves that we have the money” must make for some entertaining material. Reality series!

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14 Comments on “Volt Birth Watch 124: Champagne Wishes And CadiVolt Dreams...”


  • avatar
    JoeEgo

    It is entirely possible GM could turn on a dime and produce the Converj next to the Volt. The sad thing is, “turning on a dime” for GM means something like the 4 years taken to move the Pontiac Solstice from concept to production. A 2013 Converj would be nice, but it is a very long way off in this economic environment.

  • avatar

    On one hand, it makes sense to make a Cadillac on the Volt platform. It would have a higher profit margin and help recover costs faster. Lexus thinks there’s a market for luxury green cars, just having introduced a Lexus version of the Prius. I think the styling of the Converj is so good that there shouldn’t be a Cimmaron factor here. Still, GM would have to do something to the drive train to distinguish it from the Volt. Or, maybe not. Fisker is using a turbo Ecotec 4cyl to run their generator. If Fisker can sell an $80,000 car with a GM four pot, I suppose that GM can sell a $50,000-$60,000 car with one too.

  • avatar
    beken

    Yet another concept that will never make it to production? I wonder how much GM spent just to develop the concept for the show circuit with no intention whatsoever of putting that into production. I’m pretty sure that’s how the Volt got developed. Except that time, GM got called out on their bluff….and still no real Volt you and I can go out and buy.

    The Cadivolt won’t get consideration it for production until, at the very least, the Volt makes it to production. That’s concept spawning more concepts. That’s our tax dollars being spent on dreams.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    Wouldn’t it really be a better idea to drop the Volt and develop the Converj (with a better name)? Since the platform is going to run 40g for the base model, why not say screw it and lux it up, since its hardly going to be an economy model anyway?

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    Lutz’ answer is reasonable under the circumstances, and based on prior invective hurled at him here, I would have thought you might want to reward his candor. In any case, regardless of the debt load and market cap, if GM is operating it will develop some new vehicles and Converj should be a priority when competing with a field of contenders.

    Just as Corvette innovations migrate to other vehicles within GM, Cadillac is the right way to debut this technology as a premium, then quickly follow (a year to 18 months) with the drivetrain technology in a more prosaic package. Unless of course they can’t move fast enough to build an iteration of the platform in Converj’s body.

    As long as I fit in the interior confines, I’d buy one as early as possible. It would make a great city / region car to pair with my XLR-V.

    Phil

  • avatar
    KixStart

    If Lutz’ jobs was PR, then candor would be agreeable and sufficient for some praise.

    However, Lutz is GM’s Car Czar. It’s his job to have a plan. A good plan. A profitable plan.

    None of that is the Voltec program. Swoopy looking concepts don’t pay the bills.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    Whatever happens to GM and Cadillac, I hope that someone hires the people who styled this car. It’s stunning.

    I agree with everyone who says that here’s a car you could sell for $40K with the serial hybrid technology.

  • avatar
    rcguy

    If this was a profitable carmaker and these were normal times then, yes blow your horn over a cool-looking concept. One that is a niche product that would never likely bring a nickel of profit, and may lose money.
    But, and this is a often ignored by Mr. Lutz, GM is ‘running on fumes’, and cannot afford to waist money and time of it’s “car czar” on these frills.
    Get to work on cars that can steal some sales and turn profits, or get out of the way, Bob.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    KixStart is right…if GM has to prove to themselves they have the money after they build the concept car they’re hopeless. Any product development process has to include a reasonably profitable business case on the outset and the parameters driving that business case have to be sketched out and checked with reality as the concept develops. Lutz’s comment either indicates that GM hasn’t a clue how to run product development without pissing money into the wind or that he knows the Voltec program could never in a million years turn a profit (likely both true). The only profit the Converj could turn would be the next round of bailout beggins they trotted this thing out for.

    It’s a gorgeous car. Powered by vaporware. Throw a (maybe larger) 4cyl Ecotec “TDI” (it is turbo direct injected, right?) in the thing and it’ll do well enough as a FR vehicle.

  • avatar
    Aeroelastic

    That’s completely backwards. How can you present a car to the public without even knowing if you can make it? They must really be grasping at straws.

    It sounds like GM was trying to save face, and threw together a dream and some quick sheet metal work on the cheap. Don’t get me wrong, it looks really nice, but if there’s no chance of building it, what’s the point?

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    How about instead of spending good money after bad developing these ugly concept cars that will never come to life, GM concentrates on improving their current products so they sell better.

    The Malibu needs a rear seat armrest, glovebox light and the 6 speed automatic as std and the V6 has to be brought up to it’s competitors in mileage ratings.

    The Impala badly needs a refresh, the Corvette a higher quality interior, the new Buick LaCrosse needs to lose some weight and look less derivative, the Lambdas need to relocate there power connectors so as to not interfere with drinks and every GM product needs better cup holders that are deeper and more supportive.

    I could go on for hours on things GM needs to improve.

  • avatar

    Phil Ressler

    Phil, are you related to Dave Ressler?

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    @Ronnie Schreiber:

    There are Dave Resslers I am related to and others I’m not, at least not directly. The name is not common but there are a few thousand of us among 300mm+ Americans. I’d have to know more. Likelihood of family connection increases if your Dave Ressler is from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania or nearby.

    If you want to ask more, you can reach me privately by using my name separated by a dot at the mail service domain of a major search engine provider.

    Phil

  • avatar
    charly

    Volts produced in the first six months are most likely not perfect, or more likely will have major issues. This is not good for a luxury brand and if you wait 6 months than you can just use the powertrain of the volt and it will work with a high degree of certainty.

    Besides the first year there will only be sold a few ten thousand at the most so a few thousand per car is nice but not really significant for GM


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