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A whole lotta shakin' goin' on at GM ......

EXCLUSIVE: General Motors' Massive Crossover Strategy Revealed

Date Posted 05-31-2005

DETROIT — General Motors has as many as four new families of crossover vehicles moving through its development pipelines, sources tell Inside Line.

The first of these vehicles will go on sale in 2007, as 2008 models.

The distinctive families of car-based crossover vehicles will be introduced through the end of the decade in different size and price segments. The various models will sport the badges of five of GM's six domestic brands as well as Saab with little overlap among them.

The crossovers apparently include at least two new derivatives off the midsize Theta platform — a short-wheelbase compact spinoff and a long-wheelbase premium variant — as well as an all-new full-size series known as Lambda.

The Theta platform underpins the Chevrolet Equinox, the Saturn Vue and the upcoming 2006 Pontiac Torrent as well as sister models for Daewoo in South Korea and Suzuki in Japan and North America.

Sources say GM is working on a smaller five-passenger Theta derivative, with versions currently earmarked for Chevrolet and Saturn. The compact four-doors, due in model-year 2008, would be aimed at new competitors from Chrysler and Ford as well as such recent Asian entries as the Hyundai Tucson. The Chevy model would be smaller and less expensive than the Equinox.

New premium seven-passenger variants on a long-wheelbase Theta platform are also anticipated in model-year 2008. They may include a Buick to replace the truck-based Rainier and a Saturn to replace the Vue as well as new entries for Saab and Cadillac.

GM also apparently is planning a series of even larger crossovers on the new Lambda platform, including vehicles for Buick, GMC and Saturn, due beginning in 2007. Minivan replacements and large cars could be derived from the same architecture in the future.

What it means to you: GM thinks you'll want a bunch of crossovers in your driveway. Your response to these vehicles will determine whether the company will have made a wise gamble or another false start to a rebound.
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