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Chevrolet chronicles: Camaro convertible is shown to dealers, product notes on the Impala and the Volt, more

Thu, 08 Oct 2009 00:00:00 -0700

The Chevrolet Camaro convertible is alive and well, and car dealers got a sneak peak at the new drop-top this week.

Chevy vice president Brent Dewar said the company is still ironing out the timing for the launch of the open-air sports car. It's been reported that the car will go into production in early 2011.

“We gave a sneak peak of the Camaro convertible privately to our dealers this week,” Dewar said in a Web chat on GM's corporate blog. “We are working on the specific timing, but it will come out soon.”

The Camaro has been well-received this year, meeting pent-up demand from consumers and sparking a modern pony-car war with the Ford Mustang and the Dodge Challenger. The Chevy comes with V6 and V8 motors. But will a Z28 model be offered?

Dewar gave a nonanswer: “We have not officially decided to bring back the Camaro Z28 . . . lots of excitement to do it, so stay tuned,” he said.

The wide-ranging conversation with the public often centered on sheetmetal, and the future of the Impala also was broached. The current car has been on the market since 2005, and Chevy is working on a new version that would slot in above the Malibu. Dewar hinted that it could be related to the Caprice police car that was announced on Monday.

“The announcement for the Caprice is currently only as a police patrol cruiser,” he said. “It will be RWD with a 6.0-liter V8. We have not made any firm plans yet on a retail version of the Caprice. That said, we are working on a next-gen Impala that comes in above the Malibu. More to come.”

Moving down the Chevy lineup, the Cruze likely will be shown at the Los Angeles auto show, Dewar said. He's bullish that the car will do well in the domestic market, thanks to its styling and fuel economy.

The Volt--the much-anticipated moonshot for General Motors, remains on track, the Chevy boss confirmed, and early production versions could be on the road at the beginning of next year. The car is to arrive on the market at the end of 2010.

Additionally, a new generation of the Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickups is due next year with a new chassis and a new Duramax diesel engine.

In other topics:

-- Dewar says that Chevy will start a new Twitter network for dealers to communicate directly with designers, product planners and marketing types within GM.

-- On the eye-catching Corvette Stingray concept from the Chicago auto show and recent Transformers movie, Dewar said, “It is sweet. . . . When we met [director] Michael Bay years ago, we hired him to direct our commercial ‘American Revolution' . . .

“Since then, he came to us to do cool cars for Transformers. So the Stingray is a concept, just like the first Bumblebee was a concept for Camaro . . . so who knows.”

By Greg Migliore