Two General Motors units - Saturn and Cadillac - will virtually reinvent themselves over the next five years. And in deference to the American public's continuing love affair with trucks, GM will outfit nearly all its car divisions with sport wagons and sport-utilities.
For almost a decade, Saturn has relied on a narrow product lineup that included a compact sedan, coupe and wagon.
Saturn's marketing message focused as much on the division's identity and service as on the car itself. Now, after several years of declining sales, Saturn is preparing to roll out a sport-utility and a mid-sized sedan.
Meanwhile, Cadillac has a sport wagon in its future - dubbed the LAV - and may even have a pickup coming. What's more, in an ambitious effort to compete with luxury imports such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, Cadillac plans to switch most of its cars to rear-wheel drive with its next redesign.
The overhaul of Cadillac and Saturn and the new truck models for Chevrolet, Pontiac and Buick come at a time when distinctions between cars and trucks continue to blur. Like other automakers, GM is developing a new generation of sport wagons that combines truck styling and equipment with car platforms.
Ron Zarrella, president of GM North America, has estimated that trucks will account for nearly 60 percent of North American light-vehicle sales in 2004. With trucks accounting for 48.1 percent of GM sales for the first seven months of 1999, GM probably cannot match the industry's pace, Zarrella says. Nevertheless, it is going to try.
Regal/Century: The Regal and Century are due for a redesign in the 2004 model year. The two sedans will continue to share a platform.
LeSabre: The LeSabre - redesigned for the 2000 model year - will receive a freshening for the 2003 model year and another redesign two years later.
Park Avenue: The Park Avenue is scheduled for a redesign for the 2003 model year, although sources say it could be delayed until 2005.
The next-generation Park Avenue sedan will feature a more stylish, aggressive interior aimed at younger buyers.
Rendezvous: Buick needs to attract younger car buyers, and a sport wagon might do it. The Buick Rendezvous will have the ride and handling of a luxury car with the versatility of a sport-utility. It's a response to the Lexus RX 300.
Buick's sport wagon will use a GM minivan platform and be a sister to the Pontiac Aztek. The all-wheel-drive Rendezvous is scheduled for the 2002 model year.
Catera: Cadillac's entry-level luxury sedan is freshened for the 2000 model year.
The car is on track to be redesigned for the 2003 model year when the new Catera will be the first Cadillac developed on the new Sigma rwd luxury-car platform. Other models sharing the Sigma platform will be the next-generation Seville and the new Cadillac LAV sport wagon.
With the redesign, Catera production will be shifted to North America. The U.S. version will have a V-6 engine, while export versions will get a choice of a V-6 or a diesel. The 2003 Catera also will be the first Cadillac to sport the exterior styling themes unveiled on the Evoq show car.
DeVille: The designed 2000 DeVille sedan was introduced earlier this month, so the next redesign isn't scheduled until the 2005 model year.
According to supplier sources, the DeVille likely will remain Cadillac's only front-wheel-drive car once the Sigma lineup is launched. Cadillac believes DeVille buyers prefer fwd luxury rather than a Euro-style rwd sedan.
Besides, DeVille is Cadillac's top seller, so it does not want to turn off buyers, especially those in the Snow Belt who like the better traction afforded by fwd.
Seville: Cadillac's sporty Seville sedan will receive a freshening for the 2001 model year and then will be redesigned and switched to the Sigma platform for the 2004 model year.
The U.S. versions of the 2004 model will have a choice of the base Northstar V-8 or a Northstar V-8 with higher horsepower. Proposals for a high-performance sedan called the Blackfin are dead.
Eldorado: The Eldorado's future is unclear. Just 8,086 were sold in the first seven months of this year. If the Eldorado coupe survives, it would be transferred to the Sigma platform for the 2003 model year.
Sources say Cadillac might replace the large, sporty Eldorado with a nimble Catera-based coupe or a rwd station wagon - not a sport wagon. Or, when Cadillac kills the current model, it might use the Eldorado name - rather than 'Evoq' - on Cadillac's new high-performance roadster.
Or Cadillac might do nothing at all and allow the Eldorado to die.
Evoq: The Evoq two-seat sports car will debut for the 2003 model year. The rwd convertible will be built on the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette platform.
GM may change the car's name, but the production version will remain true to the show car that debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
Escalade: The Escalade will be redesigned late next year, one of GM's last full-sized sport-utilities to switch to the new GMT800 platform.
The 2001 Escalade will have its own front sheet metal and separate tailgate styling so that it no longer looks like a Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Denali clone.
To differentiate the vehicle further, the Escalade will offer such high-tech gadgetry as a sophisticated navigation system and an in-dash computer with Windows CE-based software.
LAV: The LAV, or Luxury Activity Vehicle, will be Cadillac's first sport wagon, a mix of luxury sedan and a sport-utility. GM is benchmarking the highly successful Lexus RX 300.
Due for the 2003 model year, the LAV will be available with rwd or awd and three rows of seats.
The LAV may be offered with a 4.2-liter, 300-hp Northstar V-8 or GM's premium V-6, a 225-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 derived from the Northstar's design.
Sport-utility pickup: It's part sport-utility and part pickup, similar to the Lincoln Blackwood concept that goes into production in the fourth quarter of 2000. Cadillac's Blackwood fighter is expected to have four full-sized doors and a short pickup bed. It is expected to debut in the 2003 model year.
Metro: The little Suzuki-engineered Metro sedan was expected to shift to GM's new Gamma platform in the 2001 model year, but suppliers now say GM will drop the car from the U.S. line. The Metro is assembled at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario.
Prizm: Suppliers say Chevrolet will drop the Prizm sedan and add a sport wagon based on the redesigned 2003 Toyota Corolla platform. New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., the joint venture between GM and Toyota, is expected to produce a sport wagon for Chevrolet for the 2003 model year.
Cavalier: The redesigned Cavalier is being switched to the Delta platform and was expected to debut for the 2004 model year, although sources say it could be delayed a year.
According to one supplier, GM will freshen the Cavalier (though the model year has not been decided) to prop up sales until the Delta version is ready. The current model was introduced for the 1995 model year.
Malibu: Chevrolet's popular Malibu sedan will receive a freshening for the 2001 model year.
The Malibu will be redesigned and moved to the Epsilon platform for the 2004 model year. The next-generation Malibu will be wider, offering a roomier interior.
Impala, Monte Carlo: The 2000 Impala sedan and the 2000 Monte Carlo coupe - sister cars - were redesigned this year and will be freshened for the 2003 model year.
Each car will receive a redesign for the 2005 model year when they move to GM's mid-lux platform.
Lumina: Chevy is selling the Lumina primarily to fleet owners and is phasing out the mid-sized sedan sometime in the 2000 model year. Once production ends, the new Impala will be aimed at Lumina owners and fleets.
Camaro: In the first seven months of this year, 110,190 Ford Mustangs were sold. Chevy, by comparison, sold only 26,089 Camaro coupes and convertibles. Suppliers say Chevy's pony car will be put to sleep during the 2002 model year.
Corvette: The Corvette will be redesigned for the 2004 model year. The C6 Vette will add high-tech gadgetry such as night vision and possibly a navigation system.
Tracker: Chevrolet will keep the newly redesigned Tracker sport-utility in its line through the 2005 model year. No major changes are planned.
Chevrolet still hopes to add a V-6-powered Tracker.
S10: Isuzu is handling the engineering of the next-generation S10 pickup, which will share some components with the GM-engineered redesigned Blazer sport-utility.
Planned for the 2003 model year, the redesigned S10 line will offer a four-door variant with a full rear bench seat, instead of the fold-down jump seats on the current S10.
Blazer: An all-new Blazer will debut for the 2002 model year. Later that year, Chevrolet will introduce a long-wheelbase model, stretched 16 inches to accommodate a third row of seats. The Blazer will be powered by the new in-line six-cylinder Atlas engine. The Blazer may even get a V-8.
Warrior: Yet another Blazer variant, the Warrior will be a cross between a sport-utility and a pickup. The Warrior will share the Blazer's interior and front sheet metal and debut in the 2003 model year.
Venture: When GM was developing its first fwd minivan, the automaker tried to create a vehicle that would appeal to North American and European buyers.
Besides Chevrolet, Pontiac and Oldsmobile, GM created clones for Opel buyers in Europe. The result: Some potential American buyers thought the vehicle was too small, and some in Europe thought the minivan was too big. Either way, GM lost sales.
The Venture will be redesigned for the 2004 model year. And now that GM has dropped the Opel versions in Europe, the redesign will produce a wider minivan, more suited to North American tastes.
In the meantime, the Venture will receive a freshening that includes restyled front and rear fascias for the 2002 model year.
Silverado: Following last year's introduction of the redesigned Silverado, Chevrolet plans no changes in the near future with its hot-selling full-sized pickup.
The redesigned Silverado crew cab goes on sale early in the 2001 model year.
Sport-utility pickup: Chevrolet is developing a crossover vehicle - code-named GMT805 - that will combine the features of a sport-utility and a pickup, similar to the Lincoln Blackwood.
Scheduled to debut for the 2002 model year, the vehicle will be built on the Suburban platform, with four full-sized doors and a pickup box.
The truck will have distinctive front and rear fascias to differentiate it from GMC's version.
Tahoe, Suburban: Redesigned versions of the Tahoe and Suburban sport-utilities will debut in October.
Express: The all-new Express full-sized van will debut for the 2003 model year. The van was last redesigned for the 1996 model year.
Astro: The Astro's future is unclear. Some suppliers say the minivan will be dropped, while others say it could be redesigned for the 2004 model year. The Astro is overdue for a redesign; it bowed in the 1986 model year.
Sonoma: GMC's compact pickup will be redesigned for the 2003 model year. A four-door version will have a rear bench seat rather than a fold-down seat. Isuzu will engineer the pickup.
Jimmy/Envoy: The Jimmy and Envoy sport-utilities will be redesigned for the 2002 model year. GMC gets a long-wheelbase version with a third row of seats; the platform will be shared with the new Blazer. The vehicles will be equipped with GM's new in-line six-cylinder Atlas engine.
Yukon: The redesigned 2000 Yukon sport-utility will be introduced later this year.
Denali: The Denali, GMC's upscale sport-utility, will be redesigned for the 2001 model year. The interior amenities and exterior styling will differ from its sister vehicle, the Cadillac Escalade.
XL/Suburban: The redesigned replacement for the Suburban sport-utility is due later this year and will be renamed the GMC Yukon XL.
Sierra: Following last year's introduction of the redesigned Sierra - the upscale stable mate to the Chevrolet Silverado - GMC will stand pat with its full-sized pickup.
The redesigned Sierra crew cab pickup goes on sale early in the 2001 model year.
Sport-utility pickup: GMC will share a crossover vehicle with Chevrolet - code-named GMT805 - that will combine the features of a sport-utility and a pickup, similar to the Lincoln Blackwood.
Scheduled to debut for the 2002 model year, the vehicle will be built on the Suburban platform and will have four full-sized doors and a pickup box.
The truck will have distinctive front and rear fascias to make it stand out from the Silverado pickup.
Savana: Like the Chevrolet Express, the GMC Savana full-sized van will be redesigned for the 2003 model year.
Safari: As with the Chevrolet Astro, some suppliers say the Safari minivan will be redesigned for the 2004 model year, while others report it will be dropped.
Alero: The Alero - Oldsmobile's least expensive line - will be redesigned and switched to the Epsilon platform for the 2005 model year. The next-generation coupe and sedan will be wider and continue to share a platform with the Pontiac Grand Am.
Intrigue: The Intrigue sedan will be freshened for the 2001 model year and redesigned for 2004.
Aurora: The all-new Aurora sedan will be introduced early next year for the 2001 model year.
The new model shares the G platform with the 2000 LeSabre, Park Avenue, Bonneville, DeVille and Seville. The car will be 6 inches shorter than the current model, with the choice of a 3.5-liter V-6 or updated 4.0-liter V-8 engine.
Silhouette: The 2002 Silhouette minivan will have restyled front and rear fascias. A redesign is slated for the 2004 model year. The next-generation minivan will be larger than the current model.
Sunfire: Sources say the Pontiac Sunfire will be discontinued after the 2003 model year. Originally, GM had planned to design an all-new Sunfire and Chevrolet Cavalier off the Delta platform. The two vehicles were to have different hoods, front fascias and light clusters. In June, GM confirmed that it was delaying the Delta program.
Suppliers say no Sunfire replacement is planned.
Grand Am: Pontiac's Grand Am coupe and sedan will be freshened for the 2002 model year. The Grand Am will move to GM's new Epsilon platform when it is redesigned for the 2004 model year. The next-generation Grand Am will be wider, with a roomier interior.
Grand Prix: Pontiac's mid-sized Grand Prix sedan and coupe continue to be a sales success. A redesign is planned for the 2003 model year when the car switches to GM's mid-lux platform.
Bonneville: Suppliers say the Bonneville's future is unclear. Following the debut of the redesigned 2000 sedan, GM may put the redesigned 2005 Bonneville on the next-generation Grand Prix platform.
Firebird: The sporty Firebird coupe and convertible may suffer the same fate as the Camaro: It may be dropped after the 2002 model year because of poor sales. During the first seven months of this year, only 21,540 cars were sold.
Aztek: This new sport wagon will share some features with the Aztek show car unveiled at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The 2002 Aztek also will share components with the Pontiac Montana and will be available in awd and fwd configurations.
Montana: The 2002 Montana minivan's front and rear fascias will be freshened. A redesign is planned for the 2004 model year; a bigger minivan will be produced.
S: Saturn's S sedan and wagon will be freshened this fall, while the coupe gets its turn for the 2001 model year.
The three models will be redesigned and will switch to GM's Delta platform for the 2003 model year. The cars will be powered by GM's L850 four-cylinder engine.
Most of the car's body panels will continue to be made of plastic.
LS: The Opel Vectra-based 2000 LS sedan and wagon are Saturn's response to dealer pleas for a bigger model and a wider lineup. The nearly mid-sized sedan and wagon are assembled in Delaware.
The LS will be redesigned for the 2005 model year and will switch to GM's Epsilon platform.
Sport-utility: Saturn's first sport-utility will be introduced for the 2002 model year.
The vehicle will be larger than the Chevrolet Tracker and aimed at the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4.
According to suppliers, GM killed plans for an Oldsmobile version.
Mystery vehicle: GM has approved a $90 million expenditure to make room in its Spring Hill, Tenn., plant for a fourth Saturn model. But there's no word yet what that vehicle might be.