Written by: Todd Lassa on January 11 2012 7:10 AM
UPDATE: Chevrolet public relations suggests you register your opinions of its two concepts at facebook.com/chevrolet or on Twitter @chevrolet
DETROIT — Call, write, email, tweet Chevrolet right now and tell them you want the Code 130R. The red one. GM’s advanced design chief, Clay Dean, says the vote so far is overwhelmingly for this rear-drive car over the Cruze-based Tru 140S, the white car, which frankly (my opinion, not his) looks like a Mitsubishi Eclipse. These are the two Chevy concepts GM is showing to young people to gauge interest and build a business case. The red car’s designer, Joe Baker, worked for Ford, where he designed the 427, Interceptor, and Bronco concepts. Although the company applied some of his design cues to front-drive cars, Ford never produced his concepts, so listen up GM: Don’t let the red car or his designer get away.
Here’s why I chose the Code 130R as the most significant intro from the 2012 North American International Auto Show. It’s meant to be a $20,000 rear-drive coupe that can reach 40 mpg with a 1.4-liter Ecotec turbo four, and it’s based on the same Alpha platform as the Cadillac ATS, the next CTS, and the 2015 Camaro. It’s like a reversal of GM in the bad old days of Roger Smith, when it went to front-drive for most of its cars, including Cadillacs and Buicks. I don’t expect GM to switch back to RWD for most of its cars, nor should it. But it would be nice if the Alpha platform and a lightened Zeta II could accommodate a variety if cars of varying sizes and sticker prices, from Chevy to Buick to Cadillac to Holden and even Opel.
The millennial buyers get the Code 130R, Dean says, because they know drifting and they understand the handling advantages of RWD. So call or write GM and tell them you’d buy one. Mainstream buyers would get the 140-horse 1.4-liter Ecotec, though of course the 2.0-liter turbo Ecotec that makes 270 horsepower in the new Caddy ATS will fit. The red car is much more finished than the white Chevy concept, with door handles, a trunklid, and a hood line, and Dean says there’s a business case for it. Chevy could get it into production pretty quickly. It needs a new name. Call it “Corsa,” the name of a sporty Corvair from the ’60s, and used on a small Opel in Europe.