2014 Chevrolet SS Marketing Manager Says Higher Performance Versions of New Sedan Possible

By Jacob Brown | November 08, 2013
When General Motors announced that it would be bringing the Australian-market Holden Commodore back to the U.S. as the 2014 Chevrolet SS sports sedan, many cheered. But more than a few enthusiasts deep in the fringes of the GM fanboy world scoffed. The new sedan, essentially a heavily updated Pontiac G8 GXP, will be coming only with five available colors, two options--a sunroof and a full-size spare tire--a six-speed automatic transmission, and a 415-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 engine. Meanwhile, GM sells 455- and 580-horsepower versions of the same car in the Land Down Under, and several variants are available with manual or automatic transmissions, sedan, wagon, and "ute" pickup truck body styles. So why can't we get those here? Well, we can, says Chevrolet Performance Cars Marketing Manager John Fitzpatrick. Catching up with him during the Specialty Equipment Market Association's annual convention in Las Vegas this week, Fitzpatrick says that all hope isn't lost on getting the mega-powerful HSV versions of the Chevrolet SS.
"People say all the time, 'Why don't we have a six-speed manual? Why just one engine?'" he told us. Fitzpatrick says it all comes down to volume. When the Pontiac G8 was sold with a V-6 engine, a 360-horsepower V-8, and the 415-horsepower V-8 GXP variant, it was expected--and failed--to sell upwards of 30,000 units per year. He said that Chevrolet is targeting 2,000 to 3,000 sales per year with its significantly more expensive SS. If the program proves successful with its modest sales goals, Fitzpatrick said that Chevrolet would definitely be interested in at least looking into bringing over the manual transmission and more powerful versions. Our 2014 Chevrolet SS, he says, is more or less a loaded-up version of the Holden Commodore SS-V performance version. GM wanted to keep variations down to keep profits up, at least initially, and says shipping constraints have limited the numbers currently entering the U.S. Still, the first ships from Australia have set sail for the States. Asked if a $45,000 Chevrolet SS or a higher-performance version could possibly eat into Buick or Cadillac sales, especially something like the 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport, Fitzpatrick adamantly denied that happening. "They're completely different kinds of cars for completely different kinds of customers." Look for our First Drive of the 2014 Chevrolet SS late this year if not early next year.

I believe that I will have to agree with Judah on the fact that it appears that GM wants it to fail already. In my belief I am under the impression that their hearts aren't into the muscle car anymore. Or, let me rephrase that, they want Cadillac to succeed in the "sport sedan" market. I think that GM execs killed the G8 GXP (MSRP was too high) even before the demise of Pontiac.

 Does Chevrolet think that people will buy this version of it at $45,00.00 now, only producing between 2,000-3,000 each year? SERIOUSLY? My biggest complaint about it is that they aren't offering a manual. "People don't want to be bothered with manuals" is what they have said to me at the St Louis and Chicago Auto shows, that the new "tap shift" is what everybody wants. What that translates to is "nobody (the majority) knows how to do it anymore.

You can bet that when (and if) the new "revised, upgraded" version comes out that the price will raise too. You watch and see if it's not nearly $50,000 on the next version.

Judah Richardson
Judah Richardson

The car in the pic on this page looks much different from the blandly styled one on GM's site. It's as if GM themselves don't want the car to succeed in the US. Oh, and a sunroof as an option on a $44K+ car? Shouldn't that be standard?