Opel's new RWD concept has lit up the social networks today, but what's it worth in the long run?
On the surface the GT Concept is a delightful little package: RWD, sub 2,200 lb curb weight, 145hp turbo triple and a scamper to 60 mph in 8 seconds. But below the surface disappointment likely lurks.
Opel's CEO, Karl-Thomas Neumann, admitted to Motor Trend, there is no suitable RWD platform in GM's portfolio.
Remember the Code 130R from 2012, Mark Reuss was firmly behind the product but in the end the project was aborted. Official rationale was the business case was poor in terms of sales, however behind that explanation lay the difficulty GM was having chopping the Alpha platform down to size. The poor business case for the Code 130R likely included amortization of a new low-volume RWD platform.
But that was so last year; in 2016 could amortization actually act as a catalyst?
Cadillac executive chief engineer Dave Leone has said that Cadillac working on something sub-ATS and hinted to Road & Track "one of our strengths in sedans is that we are known for being rear-wheel drive."
If you couple Caddy's plans with the shelved 130R project and now this fresh Opel/Vauxhall Concept (with Buick potential) could GM actually cobble together enough volume to warrant development of a sub-Alpha RWD platform? What if that platform was developed in China with SAIC?
By the sounds of it Neumann wants to build the GT: "There is no business case. It's a brand investment. The teaser video got half a million clicks in three days. If you build only rational cars you will never succeed. If we do the GT it will help the Astra."
Opel could go at it alone, Neumann did float the idea of platform-sharing with another manufacturer, minivans being their most notable tie-up to date. But one has to imagine the General would prefer to keep it all in the family.
At this point who knows, at least it's pretty though.