Cadillac Converj: Destined for Production?
The Cadillac Converj concept wowed everyone at least year’s North American International Auto Show with its sleek design and shocking sensibility. With the Converj, GM could feasibly spread the development cost of the Voltec powertrain across two brands and reap higher profit margins by sticking the technology in a svelte coupe with a Caddy badge. The most recent speculation had the project shelved as recently as last spring, but it may be on again at the urgings of none other than Bob Lutz.
According to BusinessWeek, the Converj concept was vetoed last spring because of internal opposition from executives and the U.S. government. Former GM North America President Troy Clark and Former Cadillac-Hummer-Saab chief Mark McNabb both disliked the idea of an electric car for Cadillac.
Their objections were echoed by the U.S. Treasury Department’s auto task force. With the government seeking to minimize its role in GM, coupled with the departures of Clark and McNabb, BusinessWeek says the idea is gaining traction again.
Citing three sources “familiar with GM’s planning,” BusinessWeek says Lutz and others inside the company are once again trying to find a way to build the car. The general reasoning for the push is that the Converj would help Cadillac’s image as a technology leader. Although at this point, if the car is approved for production, it wouldn’t hit the market until at least 2014.
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is scheduled to launch late next year. It will be consumers’ first taste of GM’s Voltec technology, but hopefully not the last. If the launch goes well and the Volt can prove the Detroit automaker’s extended-range electric system is viable, it may go a long way toward convincing the remaining executive opposition that the Converj is worthy of development and production.