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Zeta - The Future Of SS?
GM's new rear-drive platform isn't dead. And it's perfect for hot Chevys.




Just suppose these Australian Holdens had Chevy badges...
These cars all have 400 horses and rear drive.
And they'll be replaced in 2006 with new Zeta-platform versions.
So what are you waiting for, GM?
1. HSV GTO: Forget Pontiac--this should be the Chevelle SS
2. HSV Grange: The LWB version. A Caprice SS, anyone?
3. HSV Maloo: El Camino SS? A truck that runs mid-13 quarters
4. HSV Clubsport: Impala SS? 0-to-60 in 5.0 sec, 170-mph top speed


By Angus MacKenzie
Photography by Courtesy of Wheels Magazine & the Manufacturer
Motor Trend, August 2005​

Although GM has put the Zeta platform on ice, we can confirm that engineers and product planners in Detroit continue to attend meetings at which Zeta-based vehicles are an agenda item. And Zeta's demise would certainly come as a shock to GM's Australian subsidiary, which will begin to roll out its all-new Zeta-based Holden range next April.

GM has been rushing to pull forward the launch of its next-generation full- and midsize trucks, diverting money and engineering resources away from the U.S.-market Zeta programs. Why? Because trucks are GM's highest-profit products, and the slowdown in truck sales in the first quarter of this year has been bad news for a company whose bottom line is already under siege from billions of dollars in health care and legacy costs.

While Lutz's March memo to GM vehicle-line executives states "...we are canceling all vehicles planned off the Zeta architecture" the backchat out of Detroit is the programs are actually on hold, but with a hard deadline for a final go/no-go decision. The proposed launch dates for the cars affected--Buick Velite sedan and convertible, Chevrolet Impala and Chevelle, and Pontiac G8 (a Bonneville replacement)--have therefore slipped, some to as late as 2010 or 2011. It's believed the next-generation Pontiac GTO may be pushed back a year, possibly showing as a 2009.

What's not in doubt, however, is the launch of GM's Australian-made Zetas. The all-new Holden Commodore (codenamed VE) and long-wheelbase Holden Statesman (codenamed WM) models will make their debut April 2006. Early VE Commodore prototypes, known internally as Gamma-build cars, were run down the Holden assembly line in Adelaide, South Australia, in January, and mechanically correct mules were caught testing in outback Western Australia in late April.

We're familiar with the current Commodore platform through the Pontiac GTO, which is simply a Commodore-based Holden Monaro coupe in Pontiac makeup: strut suspension up front, semi-trailing arms at the rear, disc brakes all around. Sources in Australia say the new Zeta cars feature a more sophisticated multilink rear axle for better ride refinement and smoother handling. The front suspension is still strut-type, but two-piece A-arms may be used to improve ride and steering geometry.

Entry-level versions of the new Holdens will be powered by 235- and 255-horse versions of GM's 3.6-liter quad-cam V-6. The higher-horsepower engine is basically the so-called "high-feature" engine and will drive the rear wheels through GM's 5LE50 five-speed automatic transmission. The lower-output version is a high-feature engine minus the trick intake manifold and variable-cam timing and will be bolted to GM's venerable 4LE60 four-speed auto.

Holden has two choices for V-8s: the 400-horsepower, 6.0-liter LS2 currently in the Monaro and the high-performance Commodores built by its AMG-style in-house hot shop, Holden Special Vehicles, or the all-aluminum 303-horse, 5.3-liter L33 engine that sees duty in the new Impala SS and Pontiac Grand Prix GXP. Our sources in Australia are hinting that Holden will opt for the L33 engine for regular V-8 Commodores to ensure good fuel consumption and save the LS2 for the new Monaro and the HSV cars. Transmission choice will be either a six-speed manual or the smooth new six-speed auto that first appeared in the Cadillac STS-v.

Despite the gloomy pronouncements, GM already has the basic hardware in place to create the real, rear-drive, high-performance SS Chevys it badly needs--if it wanted to. Because of the GTO program, and because they'll be sold in left-hand-drive markets like Saudi Arabia and Brazil (ironically, badged as Chevys), the new Holdens are engineered for left-hand drive and should meet U.S. crash regulations.

It could work like this: Want a 400-horsepower Impala SS that'll nail 60 mph in about 5.0 seconds and lay down standing quarters in the mid-13s? Just slam the Bow Tie and SS badges on the next HSV Commodore Clubsport. A new Chevelle SS? Why, that could be a rebadged version of the next Monaro, given that the next GTO is planned to have its own sheetmetal. There's even potential for a reborn El Camino SS: a rebadged version of the next HSV Maloo pickup.

Performance cars like these are niche cars, especially for a brand like Chevy--GM built barely 70,000 of the last rear-drive Impala SS versions between 1994 and 1996. But that makes them ideal for the company's small but efficient Australian design, engineering, and manufacturing operation.

So here's the crunch: GM makes do--until 2010 at least, possibly forever--with front-drive Impala and Monte Carlo SS models constrained by their layout to about 300 horsepower. Or it could look at a relatively low-cost, fast-track program to rebadge the next generation of 400-horse, rear-drive HSV Holdens as SS Chevys and simply ship them out from down under a lot sooner, leaving Detroit to concentrate on getting the high-volume stuff right over the next few years.

Sounds too simple. They're bound to find a catch.
 

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Lutz...Where Does He Have His Head?

GM has been rushing to pull forward the launch of its next-generation full- and midsize trucks, diverting money and engineering resources away from the U.S.-market Zeta programs. Why? Because trucks are GM's highest-profit products, and the slowdown in truck sales in the first quarter of this year has been bad news for a company whose bottom line is already under siege from billions of dollars in health care and legacy costs.
If I were at the helm I would be funneling dollars AWAY from the trucks and into a platform that can get wider buyer appeal and better fuel economy. The trucks will sell themselves - the recent GM Employee price program has picked up the sales for, get this.....TRUCKS!
 

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JMVorbeck said:
Thats IF you get another one, Vette Boy!
:rofl:

Trust me, the Z06 is at the top of my list right now... but as soon as I get it the next car I'm looking into getting is an 06 goat (or possibly newer model year if there is one).

Once I have achieved this, life will be just about perfect, and I will almost be able to die happily.
 

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aggie88 said:
If I were at the helm I would be funneling dollars AWAY from the trucks and into a platform that can get wider buyer appeal and better fuel economy. The trucks will sell themselves - the recent GM Employee price program has picked up the sales for, get this.....TRUCKS!
There hasn't been money in passenger cars for years. The domestic automakers print money with trucks -- and give it away on cars. Given the sad financial shape is in -- they had no choice but to accelerate the development of their new full size trucks for '07.

A lot of people of thinking that's nuts because of gas -- but stuff has gone up over 50% this year -- and consumption hasn't been dented one bit. SUV sales were off somewhat when this energy thing kicked in -- but went nuts when the incentives kicked in. Besides, after this oil price scare cools off -- you're see the price of a barrel drop way off for years -- just like in the 70's and 80's.
 

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b_a_betterperson said:
There hasn't been money in passenger cars for years. The domestic automakers print money with trucks -- and give it away on cars. Given the sad financial shape is in -- they had no choice but to accelerate the development of their new full size trucks for '07.

A lot of people of thinking that's nuts because of gas -- but stuff has gone up over 50% this year -- and consumption hasn't been dented one bit. SUV sales were off somewhat when this energy thing kicked in -- but went nuts when the incentives kicked in. Besides, after this oil price scare cools off -- you're going to see the price of a barrel drop way off for years -- just like in the 70's and 80's.
I hope you're right BA, god knows. But I am worried the world is such a different place now that [that] wont happen. I am concerned that the oil companies are looking to raise the price of a gallon of consumer fuel to rival what Europe and the rest of the world pay for a gallon. I am only 31 so I wasnt around for the last fuel crisis, did the price skyrocket?
 

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JMVorbeck said:
I am only 31 so I wasnt around for the last fuel crisis, did the price skyrocket?
http://www.wtrg.com/prices.htm

Check out this graph. Huge spikes in 1973 and in the 80's -- with the media parroting the oil companies' claims that the "sky is falling" as we're running out of the stuff. In fact, the USGS and other agencies simply republish information supplied to them by the oil companies regarding reserves -- when the truth is that Venezuela (the country whose leader Bible-thumping moral Christian Pat Robertson openly asked to have assassinated) alone has 1 TRILLION barrels of potential reserves.

But when you're an oil company -- why should people know about that? Why sell people a gallon a gas for less than a buck when you can force them to pay 3 or 4? And with ******* One in the White House -- it may even be 5 before this whole charade collapses.

And before anybody goes off on me about Bush -- this is the same Bush that did NOTHING to corral the energy companies like Mirant and Enron from jacking up electricity prices on the spot market in California by closing generating plants, etc. during peak seasonal demand a few years ago. Sucked billions out of the people of this state -- just like the oil companies are sucking your pockets dry right now. And the entire time, the head of the Federal agency that oversaw electricity distribution said he saw "market forces in action" and nothing more.

You think gasoline prices are high right now? Just wait. When that hurricane gets through with Louisiana -- and the refineries and, more important, the docks and underwater pipes that bring crude in from tankers off shore are supposedly damaged for months -- there could very well be rationing and shortages throughout the country. Then again, market forces are at work.
 

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b_a_betterperson said:
http://www.wtrg.com/prices.htm

Check out this graph. Huge spikes in 1973 and in the 80's -- with the media parroting the oil companies' claims that the "sky is falling" as we're running out of the stuff. In fact, the USGS and other agencies simply republish information supplied to them by the oil companies regarding reserves -- when the truth is that Venezuela (the country whose leader Bible-thumping moral Christian Pat Robertson openly asked to have assassinated) alone has 1 TRILLION barrels of potential reserves.

But when you're an oil company -- why should people know about that? Why sell people a gallon a gas for less than a buck when you can force them to pay 3 or 4? And with ******* One in the White House -- it may even be 5 before this whole charade collapses.

And before anybody goes off on me about Bush -- this is the same Bush that did NOTHING to corral the energy companies like Mirant and Enron from jacking up electricity prices on the spot market in California by closing generating plants, etc. during peak seasonal demand a few years ago. Sucked billions out of the people of this state -- just like the oil companies are sucking your pockets dry right now. And the entire time, the head of the Federal agency that oversaw electricity distribution said he saw "market forces in action" and nothing more.

You think gasoline prices are high right now? Just wait. When that hurricane gets through with Louisiana -- and the refineries and, more important, the docks and underwater pipes that bring crude in from tankers off shore are supposedly damaged for months -- there could very well be rationing and shortages throughout the country. Then again, market forces are at work.
Mmmmmm Pithy!! I am a Bush man myself, you gotta pick the lesser of the 2 available idiots. Anyone who would blast your statement though hasnt looked at it logically. He has huge interests in the oil companies. Immigrant situation is another area of contention for me too. Thanks for the info on the oil B.
 

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That's cool. And I agree with the lesser of two evils statement. Believe me, I didn't have a Kerry and Edwards sticker anywhere near here.

In fact, there no difference between the Democrats and Republicans anymore. They both spend money like crazy -- and only report to the special interests that fund their re-election campaigns.

Meanwhile, we just go along for the ride.
 

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b_a_betterperson said:
That's cool. And I agree with the lesser of two evils statement. Believe me, I didn't have a Kerry and Edwards sticker anywhere near here.

In fact, there no difference between the Democrats and Republicans anymore. They both spend money like crazy -- and only report to the special interests that fund their re-election campaigns.

Meanwhile, we just go along for the ride.
:agree

With the Pubs you at least have a pro business, and less regulation than Dems, platform. That allows growth which keeps the middle class and working class from paying taxes for nothing.

Really the best is when opposite parties control the Congress and the Presidency. Then nothing gets done. That is when Government is at its best, doing nothing!!!!!!! Think Reagan vs. the Democrats, and Clinton's last 6 years versus the Republicans. Two of the best times in this countries' history.
 
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