Three years ago, I sent an email to GM North American President Mark Reuss and former marketing chief Susan Docherty. I didn’t get a reply. In any regard, the email pointed out a need for the company to market to the Millennial generation, my generation. My email must have finally reached somebody important, because at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, that was the theme of the Chevrolet press conference. With it came two concepts that are hot topics: the Tru 140S (the white one) and the Code 130R (the red one).
Initially, I fell in love with the rakish looks and the matte white paint of the Tru 140S, but as Motor Trend’s Angus MacKenzie pointed out in his editorial, anybody could build a car like the Tru 140S, all they need is a compact FWD architecture… and let’s face it, every major automaker does. And while there is a market and perhaps a need for the 140S, it won’t bring in nearly as many smiles that the underpinnings of the more awkward-looking 130R would.
Sure, the Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ are on the way, and somebody could make a comparison to the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, but there isn’t a compact, rear-wheel-drive 2+2 sports coupe from the home front, nor is there one that could be so affordable. For around $20,000 — what GM claims will be the starting price if the car is to be built — consumers could own a new turbocharged, efficient, rear-wheel-drive sports car. Is there a market for such a vehicle? Damn straight, there is.
To look at a winning formula for a compact 2+2 RWD coupe that immediately captivated auto critics around the world, look no further than the BMW 1M. You’ll find traces of its profile in the upright shape of the 130R. And like the little Bimmer, the 130R is RWD, has two doors and four seats, and features nearly identical dimensions. Thankfully, the 130R’s price tag would find itself to be a much more of a winner than the BMW with the under 30 crowd trying to find a thrifty thrill-mobile.
Supposedly, it would be the lightweight and all-new Alpha architecture that would be the blueprints for the 130R’s chassis. This puts the car in the same family tree as the upcoming Cadillac ATS, and its therefore easy to envision the futuristic Chevy coupe with a perhaps a tuned version of GM’s all-new 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec engine. Somewhere in the ballpark of 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque would be a home run in a car that little. And to directly compete with the Toyoburu twins on the way, a 2.5L Ecotec mill with 200 horsepower and 188 lb-ft should fit in there somewhere to go with the 150-horse 1.4L turbocharged Ecotec engine found in the concept.
To read the second part of the editorial, click here.