DETROIT — General Motors axed its High Performance Vehicles Operations last week but hasn't eviscerated all its muscle cars.
Last week GM reassigned the 60 engineers who worked on special-edition, low-volume performance cars at its tech center in suburban Detroit.
Those engineers were responsible for high-performance versions of the Cadillac CTS and STS and several Chevrolets, including the HHR SS, Cobalt SS and V-8 Colorado pickup.
GM spokesman Vince Muniga said the high-performance vehicles in production will stay on the market for the duration of their product cycles. He also said such cars as the Corvette ZR1 and Z06 and the upcoming Camaro SS are unaffected by the change. Those vehicles, he said, were not developed by the HPVO team.
The 60 HPVO engineers were transferred to other GM divisions to work on core products, Muniga said.
The move means that GM will not — at least initially — offer high-performance versions of some upcoming vehicles — such as the Chevrolet Cruze, due in the second quarter of next year.
"All high-performance projects are on indefinite hold," Muniga said.
"The engineers are moving into different areas of the organization, and they will work on Cadillacs, Buicks and Chevrolets."
The move is in the spirit of GM's viability plan delivered to the U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday, Feb. 17. In the plan, GM said its focus for future products is on fuel-efficient cars and crossovers. It also pledged to increase its current offering of six hybrids to 14 by 2012 and to 26 by 2014.
The High Performance Vehicle Operations unit could be reinstated once GM regains its financial health, GM's Muniga said, adding, "These guys are pretty good at what they do."