While the folks at Mr. Badwrench are attending to my Crystal Ball I thought I would play with “Autopsy Mirror”
We all know the news of a few months ago, when GM pulled the plug on Zeta. There are 100 reasons we can think up of why GM decided to stop zeta. Here is a thought, did Zeta really die? Or is what a few at GM pointed out in fact just a “back to the drawing board” approach to zeta to make sure when it does arrive that it will blow Chryslers Rear Drive LX cars out of the salty waters of the American market.
Odd words kept echoing in every report on Zeta. I kept hearing the Phrase “Pulled the plug”. Think about that, when does someone “pull the plug”? So perhaps Zeta was destined to be a lame duck? Take a good hard look at the prototype for what would have been the Opel Insignia and Buck Park Ave / Holden Statesmen replacement version of Zeta:
Note even though there is a lot of Black plastic bits covering the car there is an overall lack of anything special going on. There is some Altima in the greenhouse lines, an overly large nose and a stubbed tail. Nothing we haven’t seen before. Perhaps this car had been “bean countered” to the point that if we got it the car it would be as boring as the 95 Lumina. Judging by the photos it wasn’t vastly different than the outgoing Aussie Caprice.
What does the boredom have to do with Cadillac? Remember the 93-96 Fleetwood? The car was based on the B bodies, as you know. By 1996 the car wasn’t near the technological marvel that a north star powered STS was. The Fleetwood was chained to its circa 1977 downsize Caprice roots. There was no “Rack and pinion steering” no “Dual overhead camshafts” not even “Independent rear suspension”. A great car in its own right, that needed attention from GM to make it past 1996. Lincoln’s town car survived where caprice didn’t due to the lack of competition from their Detroit rivals. Ford does well for itself in survivor markets, Mustang and Crown Vic is evidence here. The next big rear drive Cadillac has to come off of the roots of a car that Exists in GM inventory. Of all things an Opel. What would you rather build a new Successful Cadillac from? A 95 Lumina or a car that makes the 300c look tame?
Opel Insignia Concept.
A Fleetwood based on an Opel? Sounds like a bastard doesn’t it? Like Epsilon (Malibu/G6/93 Signum/etc) Opel took the lead in development of the next GM global car platform. Opel closely Teamed with Australian Holden would develop the car; Opel according to some industry buzz would sell it first. If Epsilon is any example Cadillac would get their car last (look at the forthcoming BLS). So are we going to notice any difference on when our next “Fleetwood” will arrive? I would say 1 year later than the forecasts before GM announced they would “Pull the Plug”.
Like in 1996 we see GM is putting their full weight behind the trucks. Look at the 2000 Silverado; I think it was well worth the wait and realignment of resources. Cadillac May have lost the Fleetwood but they gained a hot seller in the Escalade. Lincoln however is still slinging Town cars and Navigators with limited success. The Escalade however is an item of pop culture.
GM placed full support behind trucks, and then after that what happened. After the trucks were on their feet and selling resources were shifted back to rear drive to aid a Sick and Dieing Catera. Sigma was born. The Holden Statesmen is sick and dieing right now, along with the early forms of Zeta. History shows when GM returns it does great things. The CTS firmly placed Cadillac back on the map.
Those spy shots surfaced February 28th 2005. Which is months after the first real good sales figures on the Chrysler LX cars and Ford mustang started pouring in. Seeing this and peeking out at there Zeta’s GM had to say to itself “uh oh”. The deathblow coming when GM knew it was going to post a loss. GM wants to ride Zeta and the GM truck right out of the red into the black. Why mustang sales figures? Remember Zeta was also going to spawn not only the next Fleetwood but also the next GTO and Camaro. The Mustang was outselling the Goat Big time and was even outselling Fords expectations. GM was so close to production that Air bag bids for Camaro steering wheels were being reported and GM executives were talking about the Buick version of Zeta being tooled for production. Posting that huge loss was the only way GM could justify “pulling the plug”. If you ask me if they were successful, pulling the plug would have made no sense.
If you ask me Zeta is not dead. The way I figure it Zeta is getting one mean extreme makeover on a reality show that can make or break GM called “North America”. Look out Chrysler, the natives are restless.