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GM wants cheaper RWD sports car

GM's dark days of bankruptcy left the company without a compact sports car-- leaving room beneath the Camaro and Corvette for such a model.

While the dynamically-focused 2014 Corvette Stingray starts at a reasonable $51,990 in the US (AU$50,750), that's about double the US price of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ.

Lesser Camaros can be had for 86/BRZ money, but they lack the dynamic edge of the new Japanese heroes.

Chevy wants to step back into the affordable, compact sports car market, says GM's North American president -- and former head of Holden in Australia -- Mark Reuss.

It's not much of a surprise after the launch of the Code 130R concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, though Reuss told Automotive News the 130R's design won't be used, as it's "already dated."

Instead, a new design would be dropped on an entirely new platform -- something "scalable and efficient", according to Reuss, rather than the Alpha platform that underpins the Cadillac ATS and is tipped for the underpinnings of the next-gen Camaro.

Considering the ATS' relatively light weight of about 1542kg, we would like to see a much more compact car using the same architecture. Such a car could conceivably check in under 1360kg -- perhaps as low as 1270kg, putting it in the range of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins. If GM chooses to go with an entirely new platform, it will be a challenge to meet weight and performance targets within a cost-return ratio likely based on relatively small volume targets.

If Chevy can pull it off, however, with a choice of normally aspirated and possibly turbocharged four-cylinder engines -- with options to upgrade to V6 and turbo V6 engines, at least in theory -- a light, rear-drive sports car might just find the niche Chevy needs below the larger, heavier, far more powerful Corvette. The idea, however, remains on the drawing board for now. GM hasn't yet decided to give the green light.