General Motors will not say whether the Cadillac Evoq roadster is headed for production, but the gears in GM's product development machine are already turning.
A Cadillac employee who asked not to be named says the project has been assigned to a vehicle line engineer - GM's equivalent of a chief engineer - while a marketing staff will evaluate production and sales viability.
Those people will serve as a shadow product development team to conduct advance work that will shorten the Evoq's development time should it receive approval from the GM management board, says the source. Currently, the Evoq is not included in Cadillac's master product plan for the future, known internally as 'Plan 99.'
The group's findings eventually will be presented to GM's management board for final approval or rejection. One source identified Dave Hill, the current vehicle line engineer for the Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro, as the likely top candidate for the Evoq VLE job.
Cadillac General Manager John Smith acknowledged that the company is conducting a feasibility study.
'We don't have a VLE for this program because that would be tantamount to a production plan,' he said. 'But there is universal internal and external excitement for the car.'
Although GM has not made any final decisions, a senior executive said he is confident the Evoq can make money.
Profitability 'is not a problem,' said Ron Zarrella, president of GM North America.
The company is debating whether to base the Evoq on the chassis of the Corvette or on GM's forthcoming global rear-drive platform, code-named Sigma. The Sigma platform will be the basis for a number of future rear-wheel-drive Cadillacs, including the next-generation Seville, Catera and a second sport-utility, smaller than the Escalade.
Kip Wasenko, the Evoq's chief designer, believes the Corvette chassis would be the best choice: 'It is GM's highest-technology platform, so why not use it for our highest-technology car?'