April 4, 2007 2:37 PM PDT

GM's next car model? You decide

GM's next car model? You decide
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New York auto show gets into gear

April 7, 2007
NEW YORK, N.Y.--General Motors introduced three concept "micro cars" and a pitch to the next generation of car owners at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday.

"In the 1950s, design ran the place and we had some great cars," said Bob Lutz, GM's vice chairman of global product development. The company plans to get back to that way of thinking, he said.

Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design, presented the three concept cars, which have been the subject of much debate in the blogosphere. People can vote for their favorite concept model on GM's Web site, and the company plans to produce the winning model as a production car.

The Chevy Groove is a miniature roadster that looks like it could be a little brother to the PT Cruiser. The Chevy Trax is a micro SUV, and the Chevy Beat strongly resembles a Smart Car.

Photos: GM, Ford rev up NY auto show

Welburn said there is no timeline for when one of the vehicles would be in production but that the winning car would be available globally.

"I don't know if it's Car 2.0, but this is a more creative way of doing marketing. We get to do this online and, yes, target a young market, or people who consider themselves quite youthful," said Welburn.

The company asked a design team in South Korea to come up with a concept car. The team, consisting of South Korean, Australian and American designers, came up with several choices. The company liked three of the choices so much that it decided to conduct its own public marketing research.

GM's attempt to change its public perception was evident in the way the company revealed the cars. A hip-hop dance troupe did an interpretive dance for each model, followed by blonde, identical triplet women asking the crowd to throw colored foam balls to signify their favorite of the three.

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No mpg data available?
The number one factor for me is the mpg, then the design comes next. Concept cars are just concepts. The real value comes if they designed it as a gas sipper instead of guzzler, without compromising power and efficiency. The look and feel is at a distant bottom criteria, and yet we are forced to vote based on it alone, without other technical data. The look and feel will only account for 5% of my criteria, 75% would be the mileage efficiency, and the 20% for other criteria.

Thus I am voting on only a possible 5% of what I value from a personal vehicle.
Posted by Joe Real (1217 comments )
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Voted For The Diesel
According to the descriptions, only the Groove is a diesel. I would love an American company to offer a diesel
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
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Theyre all ugly
Maybe the pictures are not representative, but from what I'm seeing, they are all U-G-L-Y!
Posted by batavier (66 comments )
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Isn't it the trend?
We now starting to like monsters such as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.

We love the ugly Shrek.

lately we go crazy over Ugly Betty.

The PT cruiser is ugly and people bought it. The super-ugly square frame type of car shape is the trend and the current generation goes for it.

Naturally, GM designed ugly cars for us, because of the trend towards ugliness is good business.

Call me retro but I'm not buying into the ugly hype just like you.
Posted by Joe Real (1217 comments )
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The most important single thing I want is an all-electric drive train. GM has been hearing that for 10 years from everyone that is concerned about the environment and economy, but they showed us what they are really interested in when they crushed all the EV-1's, and have not given us an electric since-- they pretend they can't even give us a hybrid for 3 years, and maybe they'll have the Volt ready then. I don't want a Volt... I want a super efficient, high-performance EV like the Zap-X that is going to sell for about $10,000.

The new Zap is in collaboration with Lotus. It only costs about a penny per mile for electricity, yet has 644 hp, can go 350 miles on a charge, 0-60 of 4.8 seconds, and the battery pack has a cycle life of 9,000 charges. It has plenty of high tech too: photovoltaic windows and windshield help recharge the battery, it has four-wheel drive with a hub motor at each wheel, and only takes 10 minutes to recharge-- just like the Phoenix Motorcar.

I am not settling for anything less than a full-electric car.
Posted by billdale (34 comments )
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