14 October 2004

Plans to build a right-hand-drive version of General Motors’ Lightning roadster are dead, according to US programme manager Lori Queen. The Simon Cox-designed Lightning has been adopted by GM’s Saturn division, and will be manufactured alongside the Pontiac Solstice (right), with which it shares its ‘Kappa’ platform.

It is likely to be sold as an Opel in Europe, but engineering it for right-hand drive is problematic – the exhaust manifold and catalyst of the 170bhp four-cylinder engine would lie in the path of the steering column. However, GM is officially said to be assessing the car’s right-hand drive sales potential. If demand is there, a solution will be sought. Vauxhall insiders say that the firm is still trying to find a way of bringing the VX Lightning roadster to the UK.

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