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GM's Mark Reuss on Winning TOTY, Wagons, and the Next-Gen Camaro

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 12/4/2014 Edward Loh

After GM product boss Mark Reuss learned the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is the 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year, we asked him about what winning means to the company, plus a bit about (brown) wagons, diesels, and even the next-gen Camaro.

Motor Trend: What was your first reaction to winning Truck of the Year? Especially given a certain aluminum competitor?

Mark Reuss: There are lots of words for that, probably not for your readership. We're very excited. Inside and outside the company [the Colorado] was a very difficult decision to make.

© Provided by MotorTrend We're already 200 pounds roughly lighter than F-150, and so to do something here in a segment where it's not intuitive, there is going to be an opportunity. And to go in there and be the best is very exciting. And we didn't go in and overspend on things. We didn't go in and do things the customer wouldn't value. From what I've seen about how you guys looked at it, you got that. "This is a very honest truck," I think was the quote from one of your testers, and I think that's what this truck is all about. It's a good value -- there is a good price difference between this and a big truck. And people are going to really want that. We're just thrilled. Absolutely thrilled. By the way, you haven't tested the baby Duramax, and you're going to really like that.

MT: As automotive journalists, we are predisposed to liking diesels, manuals, and brown station wagons, so just keep that in mind.

MR: We might check all those boxes…

MT: OK, good. So next CTS-V will be a brown diesel wagon?

MR: It may not be a Cadillac…

MT: Hmmm. Interesting. So this is the second big award Motor Trend has given Chevrolet recently, the first being Best Driver's Car to Camaro Z/28. What does that say about where Chevrolet -- and GM -- are today?

Gm Na President Mark Reuss© Provided by MotorTrend Gm Na President Mark Reuss MR: I think in even some of the tests that have been written subsequent to the Best Driver's Car of our last-gen Camaro versus some of the newer competition in that segment -- around ponycar -- and the truck award validates the integration skills of General Motors. And who would have said that 5 years ago?

Every car and truck we're putting out here, I think, is an example of how good our engineers really are and how well they really understand the customer. And so we're just thankful for that.

And then with a car like the Z/28, that car was mission-built. And there were people within the company that said no one was going to want to buy something like that. Well guess what, they do.

MT: You brought up the recent ponycar comparisons. How fair is it for us to compare your current, mature Camaro to the all-new EcoBoost Mustang? I remember when Camaro first came out and we were pretty critical of it, and to your credit, your team fixed a lot of things very quickly. What does this say about the next-generation Camaro? Will it come out of the gates swinging or need some time to mature?

MR: No. It's not going to need any of that. And that's the maturity that I think we have as a company, from the engineering talent and execution standpoint. The first-gen Camaro was a bit of a tortured birth because the architecture was something that was sort of loosely based on Zeta at the time but then brought into the United States, and we made a Camaro out of it -- off of a concept car that wasn't completely architected yet. Flip over to what we're going to next on Camaro. The next-gen Camaro I can tell you after driving it extensively and then taking it onto the autobahn and Nurburgring in Germany a week before last -- that car out of the gate, the SS version, with a great powertrain -- which you can imagine what that might be -- off a very mature and exclusive architecture, is not going to be heavier. There is some physics here.

Look at what some of the competition did on their next-gen -- it's heavier; it doesn't quite perform as well as the last one. I can tell you that. If you think about Z/28 and ZL1, SS -- think about the satisfaction that a ZL1 offers you today off of current Zeta. Think about that satisfaction moved down from an accessibility and model-range standpoint. Think about that. If you like the ZL1 today, you're going to love the SS tomorrow. Think about that from a philosophical standpoint.

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