Rocky rises again.

“No laser light shows” seems to be the theme at the post-crash NAIAS. GM relied on people power — its own employees:

Go ahead and laugh, but these folks are nothing if not sincere. I told you this was a company town. They cheer without irony.

The cool news of the GM press conference was the introduction of the Cadillac Converj concept, and no it’s not a typo. The Converj is the luxury version of the Chevy Volt, the gas-electric hybrid which, if it lives up to its hype, will make the Prius look like a Hummer. It has a 40-mile all-electric range, with a miniscule gas engine that will kick in after that. It’s designed to be your “city car,” the short-hop vehicle. It’s also set to cost $40,000, a lot of money to pay for a lifestyle statement, so you could argue the need for a luxury version is sort of questionable, but never underestimate what people will pay to tell the world, “I’m green.” I’m assuming the idea is to see if the public warms to the Volt, at which point the price could fall like all new technology. The Converj is a concept, which means GM hasn’t committed to production. I tried to look at it and strip away all the car-show cool that won’t make it to the street — the low-profile tires and those snaky mirrors — and I still liked it. Lousy photo; as you can see, there was a bit of a scrum:

Converj concept

Jalopnik got a wider shot as it came down the runway. That’s Bob Lutz in the passenger seat.

GM also unveiled the Orlando, a seven-seat don’t-say-SUV — check the Freep for that pic, and a “microcar” called the Spark, a rebadged Beat:

Chevy Beat.

You don’t know whether to drive it or pat its wee head.

Off to stake out a seat at Chrysler, and see how their sackcloth-and-ashes act will play.

Posted at 11:17 am in Detroit life |

4 responses to “Rocky rises again.”

  1. Catherine said on January 11, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    The pitch for the Converj: Batmobile meets Prius & mates.

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  2. MichaelG said on January 11, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    I like the look of the “Converj”. It’s built on the Volt platform.

    Why do car makers insist on using Ebonics when they name their cars? Ebonics is so ’90s. A friend and myself have had a long running joke about car makers getting their model names from a consultant called “The Department of Stupid Names Department”.

    I’ve long thought that a high MPG small gas powered car is a great alternative. The Europeans and Asians have been building them for years. I once rented a two cylinder, 600cc Subaru in Europe. It was perfectly acceptable in town. Not so much on the road. Go to ebay and look at the prices for Fiat 500s.

    As always, Autoweek has good coverage of the cars:

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  3. Deborah said on January 11, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    that’s the Department of Redundancy Department.

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  4. basset said on January 11, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Disappointed in the Subaru Legacy – no character. Even the ugly Subarus, and there are a lot of ’em, have some individuality, some appeal – not this thing, looks like any other mid-size Japanese sedan.

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