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General Motors continues to revamp its lineup

October 03, 2003|by Motor News Media Corporation

For years, auto-making giant General Motors has been criticized for conservatively standing at while the rest of the auto world went progressive, but the subtle renovation of GM continues to ramp up in 2004, starting at the top, with Cadillac's corporate flagships expanding their new and more aggressive appearance in quest of matching the world's best luxury vehicles.

The addition of the XLR sports car and the SRX crossover sport-utility vehicle indicates that Cadillac has turned a corner beyond the conventional DeVille and Seville sedans, and is primed to carry GM's torch to higher ground. The CTS sedan adds the new "high-feature" 3.6-liter V-6 and comes out as a CTS-V when the Corvette V-8 gives it a 400-horsepower boost at midyear.

At the other end of GM's scheme is Chevrolet, which broadens its base of providing something for everyone, with the debut of a new, larger sedan wearing the familiar Malibu name, plus an all-new Aveo, which is produced in Korea. That's to supplement the aging Cavalier, which will move to a new platform and get a name-change to Cobalt in another year. An SS Monte Carlo, the return of an Impala SS with more power, and a shortened run of the Corvette before a midyear introduction in 2004 of the next generation Corvette as a 2005 also highlight Chevy car production. The Silverado carries the full-size truck end, while the S-10 is replaced by an all-new Colorado mid-size pickup, and the retro image of El Caminos past is reborn in the SSR specialty car/pickup.

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Pontiac resurrects the GTO as a sports coupe, while the Grand Prix moves to the automaker's Epsilon platform as an authentic driver's car for 2004. The flagship Bonneville sedan receives performance hardware and tweaks, while the Grand Am, Sunfire and the Vibe - a compact wagon built and powered by Toyota in a joint venture - continue unchanged.

Buick, on the other hand, will be the mid-luxury conservative arm compared to Pontiac's sporty side, and retains the Park Avenue (and Ultra), LeSabre, Regal and Century, but doubles its truck venture with the Ranier joining the Rendezvous.

Saturn has the Ion and L300 car duo and the Vue compact SUV, but upgrades the Ion and Vue with midyear Red Line performance models.

GMC, meanwhile, continues unchanged with the Yukon and Sierra pickup. The Envoy SUV receives a new addition to the midsize SUV linup with the debut of the Envoy XUT - an SUV that combines the best of a SUV with a cargo area that can be easily converted to an open-air cargo bed.

The new Canyon pickup, cousin to the Chevrolet Colorado, bows this year as the eventual replacement for the aging Sonoma.

Oldsmobile, which was condemned to history two years ago, has seen its Aurora and Intrigue sedans vanish. The only remaining vestiges of the marque are the compact Alero sedan, Bravada SUV and Silhouette minivan which will exist until the end of the 2004 model year.

© 2003 Motor News Media Corporation

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