One of the most exciting cars from last 2009’s Detroit Auto Show was the Cadillac Converj Concept, which General Motors used to showcase its plug-in hybrid technology in a luxury platform.
Despite the concept featuring one of the most striking designs we’ve seen in a while, GM’s soon-to-be retired Bob Lutz has stated on a number of occasions that the concept could enter production though we can now report that the chances of that happening are next to nil--the reason being that the business case for production is simply not there.
Unfortunately, tight finances and more important vehicles in the pipeline have killed any chance of the Converj entering production anytime soon, despite all the basic ingredients being there. Another crucial factor is that the Chevrolet Volt and its Opel Ampera cousin will be taking up all available capacity for years to come.
"It has always been a concept," Cadillac spokesman Nick Twork explained to Automotive News. "It was never announced officially that we were going to do the Converj. We never issued a press release."
A quick run to market with the Converj had seemed a given, in a way--just build a luxury car on the Volt platform and bam! Instant Converj. But the reality of pulling that off in a package that represents Cadillac inside and out isn't quite so easy. The Volt itself won’t even enter production until late this year, with the first year of sales a gradual ramp-up period, and bringing the Converj to market would give little time to overcome the hurdles likely to be encountered in the project.
Hope of a Cadillac plug-in hybrid is not completely lost, however. The recently unveiled XTS Concept previewed a new Cadillac flagship sedan that’s set to enter production in early 2012 and it was fitted with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain as well.
[Automotive News, sub req’d]