Pony Car Wars Will Soon Heat Up
Stung by the success of the Ford Mustang and Chrysler 300, Chevrolet is
studying rear-drive cars. The brand could decide this year whether to
build more rwd vehicles.
"I think we probably will have more to talk about in the next several
months," says Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager.
The rwd Mustang, 300 and Dodge Magnum are selling well without cash
rebates. Ford expects to produce 192,000 Mustangs this year.
And Dodge is expected to resurrect the Challenger name for a rwd
Mustang-fighter around 2009.
With the exception of the Corvette, all Chevrolet cars have front-wheel
Asked at a press event here whether a rwd sedan, coupe or Chevrolet
Camaro-type vehicle are being considered, Peper said, "We are looking
at some of those segments right now."
Peper says he is not sure whether Chevrolet will have a rwd concept car
at the Detroit auto show in January.
"The ideas and the concepts are being talked about right now," he said.
General Motors was planning to introduce the first in a family of rwd
cars for North America in 2007. The vehicles were planned on a rwd
platform code-named Zeta. But the automaker's financial problems forced
it to cancel Zeta this year.
Yet GM insiders still expect the company to develop a range of rwd
cars, although the platform and timetable are unclear. Already in the
pipeline are the Pontiac Solstice, a rwd roadster coming this fall and
a sister car, the Saturn Sky, scheduled to arrive next spring. Both
were developed on the small rwd Kappa platform.
Chevrolet's last large high-volume rwd car was the Caprice, which was
scrapped after the 1996 model year. The sporty rwd Camaro was dropped
at the end of the 2002 model year.
Regarding the Mustang, Jim Campbell, Chevrolet car marketing director,
says: "I wake up every day knowing that I am spotting Ford 150,000 to
"Do we want to take that head-on? Absolutely we do. There's an
opportunity for a rear-wheel-drive coupe."
'03 Focus ZX3