After nearly two decades of absence, rear-wheel-drive sedans will soon return to the vehicle lineup of General Motors’ Chevrolet brand in the United States. The head of GM’s North American operations, Mark Reuss, told Reuters that the carmaker is expecting the production version of the Chevrolet SS rear-wheel-drive sedan to serve as a low-volume car, thereby building excitement around the brand.
Chevrolet currently has no rear-wheel-drive sedans on its lineup except for a police car it is presently offering. Likewise, GM halted selling the rear-wheel drive Pontiac G8 sedan in 2009. GM’s luxury brand, Cadillac, currently offers two rear-wheel drive sedans -- the CTS and the new ATS.
GM launched Thursday the NASCAR racing version of the Chevrolet SS in Las Vegas and plans to unveil the production variant during the Daytona 500 race in Florida in February 2013. The Chevrolet SS will be rolled out to the public either in the third or fourth quarter of 2013 as a 2014 model.
Reuss remarked to Reuters that the Chevrolet SS would be a “pull on demand” from their dealers and customers. He noted that the model is quite different from “a big, high-volume production program” with target volumes.
He said that the model “doesn't have to do anything” and GM is using it to race. He told Reuters that the model could be compared to a marketing halo program for Chevrolet. Reuss expects GM, which sells the rear-wheel-drive Camaro and Corvette coupes, to sell fewer than 10,000 Chevrolet SS performance every year.
The Chevrolet SS will be underpinned by the same vehicle platform as the Camaro and Holden VE Commodore. Rear-wheel-drive cars typically offer better performance attributes than front-wheel-drive models in areas including acceleration, braking and handling.
Reuss said that the Chevrolet SS will have a starting price higher than the $27,535 base price of the front-wheel-drive Chevy Impala. He said that the SS would detract from sales of other Chevy vehicles because of their inherent difference.