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Chevrolet Sidelines Plans for Compact Sporty Model

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/18/2015 Karla Sanchez

With the hype surrounding the sixth-generation 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, you might think the time is ripe for a performance-oriented small car follow-up. Not so fast, says GM's Mark Reuss, who asserts that a business case has yet to be worked out. Though a production version of the Code 130R Coupe concept the debuted at the 2012 Detroit auto show may be out of sight, it’s definitely not out of mind.

Inspired by the BMW 2002 and Datsun 510, the Code 130R Concept was one of Chevy's most daring creations. Based on the new Alpha rear-wheel drive platform underpinning the Cadillac ATS and now 2016 Camaro, the Code 130R rode on a long 109-inch wheelbase with short overhangs. A traditional three-box design, the concept featured an upright greenhouse, beefy fender flares, and a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 150 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. It drove its 20-inch wheels by way of a six-speed automatic or manual transmission, and Chevy estimated it could achieve 40 mpg on the highway. While we haven’t heard anything new regarding plans for the sporty compact for a while, the idea hasn’t been completely ruled out. MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

With the Volkswagen Golf R, Ford Focus RS, and Honda Civic Type R joining the ranks of the Ford Fiesta ST, Hyundai Veloster, Scion FR-S, and Subaru BRZ, there’s clearly a market for compacts that are as sporty as they are affordable. "I love those things. We know how to do them really well," Reuss said to Automotive News. Even still, he’s apprehensive about diving into the segment.

“For now, there isn’t a business case for a baby Camaro,” he said, pointing out that the sales volume for sporty compacts like the Subaru BRZ normally take a dive soon after launch. “On those cars, the price point begins to approach the segment of the next car up. We would spend a lot of money and resources, and what are we really doing?" Nissan recently found this out with the IDx compact rear-drive sports coupe, forcing a production model based on the concept to be put on hold.

Chevrolet Sidelines Plans for Compact Sporty Model

While the idea may not make sense right now, it might later on down the road. "The real question is: Is that a big priority? For now, no," Reuss said. "Forever? I wouldn't say that." MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

Considering Chevy has the resources to build a sporty compact, and a parts bin that contains goodies like the Opel Astra OPC’s 276-hp 2.0-liter engine, a rear-drive sub-Camaro model remains a tantalizing possibility. Until GM can find a business case for it, however, Chevy fans will have to make do with the 2016 Camaro, which is smaller and lighter than the car it replaces.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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