Drive Type: 4x4
Clackamas, Oregon, United States
Ladies and gentlemen,
As inventory of the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse continues to pile up, General Motors will be idling its Fairfax Assembly Plant for two weeks, according to Automotive News. This move comes about a month after the plant was shut down for three weeks in late December and early January for the same reason. As of January 31, the GM had a 94-day supply of Malibu stock while the LaCrosse was a little worse with a 117-day supply.
Just last week, GM announced that it would be investing $600 million in upgrading this plant, but it's unclear what future plans the company has in store for Fairfax considering slow sales of both the plant's models. We do expect a refreshed and more luxurious LaCrosse shortly and an early design update for the Malibu to be announced at some point this year, although we have had no official word as to when either will happen.
When Mark Reuss was in LA recently, he sat down to have a few words with the scribes at the Los Angeles Times. When the issue of a hybrid Corvette came up, Reuss answered with "Don't laugh." The General Motors president is a complete fan of the possibility, calling it "attractive" and "really fun," believing it would improve GM expertise and that "people would love it."
Naturally, the president being supportive of an idea doesn't give indication that a hybrid Corvette is on the way. However, with supercars like the Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari giving hybrid tech a solid, if remote, place in the performance car world, the inexorable trickle-down of technology means we shouldn't be surprised if and when it does happen.
And now that we have that non-negative half-answer to a speculative question, it would be irresponsible for us not to commence rumormilling for the C8 Corvette. Taking Reuss at his word, the C8 will obviously be a hybrid with all-wheel-drive - the left side wheels driven with electric motors, the right side with the mid-mounted, four-cylinder diesel engine. With coefficient of drag of just .16, figure on a 0-to-60 mile-per-hour time of under 2 seconds and an all-electric range of something like 30 miles at top speed. Don't forget, folks, you read it here first.
The car you see above is the 2014 Chevrolet SS, and it's important both because it is the first rear-wheel-drive performance sedan from Chevy in 17 years, and because it will be the nameplate the brand uses on NASCAR tracks all across the country starting this year.
Though it wears a name as American as baseball and apple pie, the machine was actually designed and built in Australia, sharing most of its parts with the brand-new VF-model Holden Commodore. That said, the basic chassis bits are shared with other Chevrolet models like the Camaro and Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle.
While Chevrolet is happy to sell a Malibu or Impala to anyone looking for a mainstream family sedan, but the SS is reserved for buyers interested first and foremost in performance. Most sedans sold these days are front-wheel drive, which is great for everyday driving and when the weather goes bad, but the SS is instead a rear-wheel-drive vehicle aimed at enthusiasts who love to drive and who prefer speed and performance above all else.