The petrolhead forums boards, especially the GTO ones have gone through a period of depression knowing their beloved car is being cancelled, and now they are going through a high with the announcement by Bob Lutz that the GTO will be re-appearing in 2009 on the new Zeta platform.
Rear wheel drive platforms are the bread and butter of the Australian car market, for both Holden and Ford. It is unsurprising then that GM is having Holden engineer their new rear wheel drive Zeta platform. At this stage it looks like this will be serving as the basis of the future GTO, Camaro and Monte Carlo SS.
Lutz said in a speech in Geneva;
“The reason we said it was canceled is because that way our people would put their pencils down,” Lutz said. “In GM if you say something is deferred, then people keep working on it. We really needed to get that message through to everybody.” GM’s 74-year-old product guru said the program into which the GTO is incorporated was ‘getting out of control’ and running up costs that would have made it unworkable.
The GTO is an imported Holden Monaro. The Monaro was on an old chassis and was not intended to be of a large run in Australia, let alone exported to the US. Production of the Monaro was recently shut down in Australia meaning shipments of the GTO will be drying up too. It will probably not be replaced until the Zeta platform series of cars are introduced.
The article also contains;
Besides Camaro and GTO, other models set to be based on the Zeta platform are upcoming replacements for the Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, and a new car called the Buick Statesman, according to Lutz.
Holden has a leg into the Chinese market where it sells as Buick (Holden sells as Chevrolet in the Middle East, Asia and South America; and as Vauxhall in the UK). The recent V8 Supercar race in China had one of the Holdens in Buick livery. Surprise, suprise Holden also sells a Holden Statesman International! Which happens to be a big car of American boat - or even Buick - proportions.
So what will a 2009 GTO look like? The boards seem divided. Some want retro and others don't. It appears those that don't want the retro styling like their GTOs as competitors to BMW and Mercedes for sports coupe supremacy. It is my bet the 2009 GTO will look like a two-door Commodore with a Pontiac grill.
It will also be the luxurious end of muscle-car performance. The retro wannabees will be fighting it out with the retro Mustangs and Challengers in their 2009 Camaros. I suspect Mustang had the retro market sewn up, for now. It is pretty hit and miss anyway, the Thunderbird missed big time. The PT Cruiser and Beetle have seen lagging sales. The biggest problem with a retro car is where do you go after three years? Another more retro design?
Nostalgia only goes so far before it becomes po-po-po-mo.
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