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GM pushes Solstice despite Opel's decision to bow out of project

By RICK KRANZ Automotive News

FRANKFURT - General Motors' business case to produce the Pontiac Solstice roadster and other rear-wheel-drive derivatives is proceeding despite Adam Opel AG's decision to abandon the program.

The proposed small-car architecture has not been approved for production. But it now has a name, Kappa, said a GM source familiar with the project.

Hans Demant, an Opel board member, said that "with the current economic situation in Europe, we are not in a position to go forward" with the project.

Demant was interviewed Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the Frankfurt auto show.

Demant said that while Opel is not part of the business case, it might rejoin the program in a few years if Kappa gets a green light.

In June 2002, Demant said Opel was considering a variant off the platform.

He added that a vehicle for sale outside North America likely would be necessary to achieve profitable production volume.

But last week a North American GM executive said Opel's decision will have no impact on the proposed vehicle architecture and that Opel's participation was not needed to make the platform profitable.

"The business case is moving along," said the GM executive, who asked not to be identified. "We will announce the program when we have everything finalized, and we are getting close."

The Pontiac Solstice is a two-passenger, rwd concept that was a star of the Detroit auto show in 2002.

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