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Chevrolet Hopes to Draw Young Consumers with New Fast, Powerful Car
Don Shilling
Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Chevrolet is taking a step to the wild side today with the introduction of the fastest, edgiest model in the Cobalt line.

The Cobalt SS Supercharged Coupe is being unveiled at a performance parts show in California.

Chevrolet hopes the big tires, supercharged engine and race-quality parts will attract young buyers who enjoy customizing cars.

Called the "tuner" market, this segment has been growing rapidly but has been dominated by imports. Years ago, people seeking custom vehicles chose muscle cars like the Chevrolet Camaro, but many in the tuner crowd today like to turn small, four-cylinder cars into what are called "little rockets."

"We're trying to fight our way into that market," said Mike Morrissey, a General Motors spokesman.

Chevrolet unveiled the Cobalt in December at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show and is in the midst of spending nearly $1 billion to upgrade the GM Lordstown complex for its production.

Chevrolet held back the supercharged model, however, until this week's International Auto Salon, which is geared to the tuner market. The Los Angeles show is put on by the Special Equipment Manufacturers Association.

The supercharged Cobalt will have an engine with 205 horsepower, 18-inch wheels and enhanced brakes, suspension, seats and gauges. The other Cobalt models have horsepower of either 140 or 170 and wheel sizes ranging from 15 inches to 17 inches.

The supercharged Cobalt is to start coming off the assembly line in November, just one month after the other Cobalt models are to be launched.

John Stewart, a car-magazine publisher based in Anaheim, Calif., said the supercharged Cobalt stands a good chance of success because of the Ecotec engine Chevrolet has been using in the Cavalier, which is now made in Lordstown.

The Ecotec engine can be easily upgraded by car owners, he said. Chevrolet has done a good job marketing the engine with its drag-racing division and in relationships with after-market parts retailers, he said.

"They had an impact engine but didn't have a car to put it in," said Stewart, group publisher for Prime Media International Group, whose publications include Sport Compact Car Magazine and Super Street Magazine.

On paper, the supercharged Cobalt looks good, but Stewart said he'll be checking out the model to see if it has the right performance parts to attract buyers.

"And we want to drive it," he added.

The tuner market has been dominated by the Honda Civic, Stewart said. Japan taxes cars more heavily after they are 3 years old, so many cars are sold for scrap parts, which are sent to California ports, he said.

Morrissey said some in the tuner market will buy other Cobalt models and customize the cars themselves. Others will prefer to start with the supercharged model and add finishing touches, such as painting flames on the car.

"The idea is to make sure your car doesn't look like anyone else's," he said.

Still, the supercharged Cobalt will garner a small percentage of the line's overall sales, he said. But the Cobalt line needs a performance version to be credible with younger buyers, he said. "It's an image-builder," he added.


Full Article Here

 

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Originally posted by paul8488+Apr 2 2004, 07:34 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (paul8488 @ Apr 2 2004, 07:34 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-powervette@Apr 2 2004, 07:33 PM
:argue:

I AM YOUNG AND I LOVE THE NEW COBALT,BUT GM DON'T CARE,
THEY WILL SELL DAEWOOS WITH BOWTIE HERE...
where's here? where do you live? [/b][/quote]
;)
CHECK where Daewoos will be sold this year as chevys
you've got a few countries to choose from:
Chech Republic
Poland
Romania
etc.
In one of them there is still a Daewoo factory,but when GM bought Daewoo they said they didn't care about plants outside Korea,many people have lost their jobs...
 

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If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I'm sure it'll attract a few ricers with that huge wing and the 18" rims.
 

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Originally posted by powervette+Apr 2 2004, 02:45 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (powervette @ Apr 2 2004, 02:45 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
Originally posted by [email protected] 2 2004, 07:34 PM
<!--QuoteBegin-powervette
@Apr 2 2004, 07:33 PM
:argue:

I AM YOUNG AND I LOVE THE NEW COBALT,BUT GM DON'T CARE,
THEY WILL SELL DAEWOOS WITH BOWTIE HERE...

where's here? where do you live?
;)
CHECK where Daewoos will be sold this year as chevys
you've got a few countries to choose from:
Chech Republic
Poland
Romania
etc.
In one of them there is still a Daewoo factory,but when GM bought Daewoo they said they didn't care about plants outside Korea,many people have lost their jobs... [/b][/quote]
You forgot the US. Anyway, what's your point?
 

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I'd like to see a bit more than 205 HP but here's to hoping that they can get some aftermarket support!! We all know that the Ecotec is capable of much much more. I just wish they'd be using a SC'd 2.4L rather than the 2.0 :(
 

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Don't worry, the Redline is rated at 205hp but it makes more like 225hp on the dyno *some tuner mags have dynoed it* the Cobalt will be the same.

Still won't be as fast as a SRT-4 but it will kick the crap out of everything else especially import wise so be happy with that little factoid. Plus the killer audio system sould kick some *** too:) The SRT-4 doesn't have that.

PS: buy the time this car comes out you be swimming in aftermarket options for the 2.2 2.4 and 2L motors. If you want a turbo for the 2.2 right now just go to Hahn automotive and they will hook you up good with a 285 hp 2.2 monster.
 

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Originally posted by tantalize9@Apr 2 2004, 04:52 PM
Don't worry, the Redline is rated at 205hp but it makes more like 225hp on the dyno *some tuner mags have dynoed it* the Cobalt will be the same.

Still won't be as fast as a SRT-4 but it will kick the crap out of everything else especially import wise so be happy with that little factoid.  Plus the killer audio system sould kick some *** too:)  The SRT-4 doesn't have that.

PS: buy the time this car comes out you be swimming in aftermarket options for the 2.2 2.4 and 2L motors.  If you want a turbo for the 2.2 right now just go to Hahn automotive and they will hook you up good with a 285 hp 2.2 monster.
Puts 225 to the wheels or is that Net?

Theres no way it can be THAT underrated.

Do you have a link/other documentation of this?
 

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Why didn't they just make the SS the supercharged model and the SS the LS Sport? SS Supercharged - bah! Otherwise, cool car! :D
 

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205HP is lame. The SRT-4 set a new standard for how a sport compact should perform. If the ecotec is so strong, why dont they just up the boost to get some decent power out of it.
 

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I drove an SRT-4 with a stick.

What the hell kind of shift quality was that! I thought my 250k km Saab that you can't tell 1st from Neutral, and non-functional reverse lockout was bad...


SRT-4 makes only like 230hp anyway... in a lame car, in a lame chassis. The Neon is a POS car, the SRT-4 is a fast POS, but the time it takes to shift takes a lot of that away ;>.

The 2.0 block (designed by Saab) is *significantly* beefed up compared to the 2.2 and 2.4 blocks for the EcoTEC. The 2.0 Saab block was designed from the outset to be turbocharged, and turbocharged to "normal" (~1bar pressure) and "supra-normal" (~1.2 bar max press).

The most powerful 2.0 Saab makes is the 2.0T version (as opposed to 1.8t and 2.0t, which are all the same block) makes 210hp, with a "low-pressure" turbo (max press .85 bar). (these Ecotec-derived Saab motors are only availible in the 9-3 models currently, and are planned to replace the 2.3 Saab motors dating to the 1960's)

Basically, why do extra work for little/no benefit when you can have a highly overdesigned block availible from the parts bin? Sure it's a 1988cc motor, but many tax brackets in many countries impose taxes on cars with more than 2000cc capacity.

I've noticed that in many of the "sport-tuner" crowds, power ratings are *grossly* overrated. "Oh my '92 Civic has a K&N superchargin system, i just got 15 hp dawg... i must be pushin at least 150hp at the wheels dawg".

Yeah sure... maybe more like 92 horsepower - at the crank. Count that slushbox and you are looking at more like 30-40hp at the wheels. nice.

Don't forget that sheer horsepower is just one part of a performance equation. Front wheel drive cars are not performance automobiles. Say what you will, many "performance" front-drivers have been made, such as the Saab 9-5 Aero (2.3l 250hp) and the Cadillac Seville Touring Sedan (4.6l 300hp) but front-wheel drive does NOT prove condusive to performance.

Think like this:

Front drive car has approx 65% of weight on front wheels. Strike one.
Front drive car has front-driven wheels, therefore upon acceleration weight is transferred away from drive wheels. Strike two.
Front drive car has approx 65% of weight on front wheels, therefore cannot handle high-speed curves properly (understeer).
Front drive cars are usually designed as family cars, not sports cars. (STS's began life as Le Sabres, 9-5's as Opel Vectras)
etc.



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What happened to the promised 220HP?
 

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Yeah to be honest, I went to test-drive a SRT-4 the other day and it just kinda felt like they stuck a kick-*** engine in a crappy little eco car. O wait, they did!
I honestly don't think that the SRT-4 is going to be incredibly faster than the Cobalt anyways. I sure hope that it is true about being underrated. But, in my oppinion, if the thing has "only" 205HP but has a great ride, great sound system and is just a beautiful car, then I'd take it over the SRT-4 anyday. Any word yet on the pricing?
 

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i love it. i am 19yrs old. i am not a big fan of small cars and 4 bangers but its actually a nice car. but if i were to buy it, i would go for the spoiler delete option.(not wing, spoiler, ok i like the old school name, because thats what it does, spoil the car) i like simple spoilers, like whats on the impala ls and nicely done ones like on the last generation camaro. i think that there is no reason this car should flop, its light years ahead of the cavileer. they are putting everthing that the youth market wants in this car.

lets hope gm doesnt blow it by having a bunch of stupid little recalls, like faulty switches, and bad seat belts. i think gm is the only american car company thats going in the right track. just wish they had some more V8s and rwd cars.

Alan
 

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I like the cobalt, and I LOVED the specs, but then that picture. YUCK .... the rear wing is hideous, and the rims/tires look way out of place, maybe if they added SIMPLE skirting then the tires would look better. But I really don't like that look.
:(
 

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sport compact car dyno'd the ION RL. 197HP and 169TQ.

key points in the article:

1. they complained about the fuel shutoff, and rightly so, as it kicks in at 6450RPM which is where - according to them - that the car really started to pick up. another 400-800RPM and the RL would have been a wayyyyy better performer.

1. a) they loved the engine, but were dissappointed that GM nannied it too much and most of its appeal was lost

2. they loved the recaros. 'nuff said

3. they didn't mind the centre IP, it's the pedal placement that bothered them. moreover, the transmission from the SAAB is great, as long as it's for a turbo'd car, but the ratios are too tall for the ION RL

4. it didn't handle well, and some more effort should have gone into the suspension tuning; however, the brakes are spot on. they loved 'em

5. 0.85g skidpad, 0-60mph in 7.1, 15.3 @ 94.5mph quarter mile, 60-0 in 121 ft
 

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Originally posted by mackingu@Apr 4 2004, 02:53 AM
sport compact car dyno'd the ION RL. 197HP and 169TQ.

key points in the article:

1. they complained about the fuel shutoff, and rightly so, as it kicks in at 6450RPM which is where - according to them - that the car really started to pick up. another 400-800RPM and the RL would have been a wayyyyy better performer.

1. a) they loved the engine, but were dissappointed that GM nannied it too much and most of its appeal was lost

2. they loved the recaros. 'nuff said

3. they didn't mind the centre IP, it's the pedal placement that bothered them. moreover, the transmission from the SAAB is great, as long as it's for a turbo'd car, but the ratios are too tall for the ION RL

4. it didn't handle well, and some more effort should have gone into the suspension tuning; however, the brakes are spot on. they loved 'em

5. 0.85g skidpad, 0-60mph in 7.1, 15.3 @ 94.5mph quarter mile, 60-0 in 121 ft
They should've pulled the engine that they had in the Nomad concept and just thrown it right in. Isn't the SS supposed to be an all-out performer?? Here's to hoping that GM fixes some of those problems!
 

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I'm not worried about the 205hp that exists now. 2005 is the first year for the Cobalt, GM will figure it out, eventually, I hope.
 
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