It’s Back: General Motors Revives High Performance Operations

When General Motors teetered on the brink of bankruptcy, it moved to slash all operations deemed unnecessary to its survival. One such casualty in 2009 was the High Performance Division, which had helped craft a number of sport-tuned and performance-oriented products, including Cadillac’s V-series line and a number of Chevrolet SS models.
Fortunately, it seems GM hasn’t completely forgotten about the deceased division — in fact, it’s taking steps to revive a high-performance vehicle operation, although its future is anything but well defined.

Automotive News reports that Jim Campbell, previously Chevrolet’s head of marketing, was placed in charge of GM’s new performance vehicle group and motorsports operations late last week. Although the new group will reportedly work across all four of GM’s brands, most projects will again wear either a bow tie or the Cadillac crest.

One shift, however, may be in what sort of vehicles the group produces. Although big performance vehicles like Corvettes and CTS-Vs are likely to be a part of the operation’s portfolio (as is the forthcoming Buick Regal GS and the oft-rumored Camaro Z28), Campbell suggested the division may shift its focus to building high-performance small cars.

“We have a tremendous opportunity in the small and compact car market,” Campbell told Automotive News. “Small cars and compact cars are going to be more and more important going forward, and we’re looking at efficient performance.”

Perhaps, although it does fly in the face of GM’s previous stance on the matter. Company officials had previously quashed rumors of a potential Cruze SS or Sport model earlier this year, but such a performance-tuned model, designed to compete with the likes of a Honda Civic Si or Volkswagen Jetta GLI, could be on the table again.

At this point, Campbell has a virtually blank canvas before him. GM officials tell us the group is primarily focused on marketing strategy and product planning at this stage, so an exact roster of future vehicles and engineering projects has yet to be locked down. In the meantime, expect Campbell to continue to align motorsports and enthusiast marketing to draw in the racing crowd.

What would you like GM’s performance vehicle portfolio to include going forward? A turbocharged Chevy Orlando? A Cadillac ATS-V? Put yourself in the product planner chair, and send us your suggestions in the comments field below.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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