WASHINGTON - The man best known for turning Chevrolet's tubby Caprice into the imposing Impala SS is now in charge of comparable transformations for products throughout General Motors.
'One of our major roles is to take existing vehicles and turn them into something different, unique,' said Jon Moss, who has taken the helm of a new GM unit called the Special Vehicle Group.
Moss brought some of the group's new creations with him to the Washington Convention Center July 21 and promised more to come.
The samples included a Pontiac Grand Prix with a convertible top and supercharged V-6, a yellow Chevrolet Corvette with a 450-hp aluminum engine and a four-wheel-drive GMC Sierra with a supercharged 6.0-liter V-8.
Moss and eight colleagues in the group also are charged with overseeing development of concept cars and other image-enhancing special vehicles.
Before the group was born in the big corporate reorganization early this year, each division handled the tasks itself.
'Initially, sure, there was resistance, a little resistance, because people liked the way they were doing business,' Moss acknowledged. Now he says his centralized organization will respond quickly to the marketing divisions' wants and needs.
Of the 70 or more special vehicles the group plans to build in the year ahead, a few are likely to be produced, mostly for niche markets, as was the Impala SS, the officials said.
Variations on the aging Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire are likely prospects, Moss said. He also wants Oldsmobile and Buick to get more involved.
GM's Special Vehicle Group is part of the vehicle sales, service and marketing organization under John Middlebrook, general manager of vehicle brand marketing.