At the 2014 Detroit Auto Show this week, a top General Motors engineer reaffirmed the stance that there was a place for performance-oriented halo models at the American auto giant, with rear-wheel drive and V-8 engines. The comment was made by senior General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] engineer David Leone when quizzed about the fate of the Chevrolet SS.

Leone is also reported to have hinted that GM’s rear-wheel-drive Alpha platform would be a good fit for any second-generation SS, assuming production plans for the car are approved.

“If you wanted to do that [build a second-generation SS] then this architecture [Alpha] could do that,” Leone told the website Motoring. “If you are a performance enthusiast then rear-wheel drive is the way to go and that’s the place Alpha will play, so you guys connect the dots about where else we might use it.”

Going with the Alpha platform instead of the Zeta platform found in the current SS has many advantages. Namely, the Alpha platform is significantly lighter, meaning greater fuel efficiency and dynamics. It also has more parts in common with other GM vehicles so there are greater economies of scale.

One issue is cost due to premium lightweight materials used in its construction, but GM is working on a lower-cost version of Alpha that will do duty in the next Chevrolet Camaro. A stretched version of this could then end up in a second-generation SS.

The wait for a new SS might not be too long, once again assuming production has been approved. With the current model’s Holden plant in Australia scheduled to close no later than 2017, GM has around three years to develop the new model. The best part is that it would almost certainly be built in North America this time around, and may even spawn a wagon.

For more on the Chevy SS, check out our first drive report of the 2014 model.


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