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GM RWD update

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(as posted by cjmatt on

GM is in the process of reworking their global RWD implementation strategy. Recently published quotes, mostly from Bob Lutz, 'suggest' that GM may cancel several of their RWD programs due to potential future fuel economy regulations. The large scale trimming of their RWD plans does not appear to be happening, but significant changes to the execution of those plans are occurring. However, these changes do not seem to be driven by upcoming F/E changes, but rather by GM's need to manage and reduce product variable cost. Platform and product changes are as follows: Sigma (Global Luxury RWD) – End of Production 2012 The Sigma platform, used exclusively for the Cadillac CTS, STS and SRX, will be phased out over the next 4 years. As part of this platform ramp down, the SRX will end production in mid-2009 and the STS will be dropped in mid-2010. To help maintain acceptable levels of volume on this platform and to help keep some of the SRX customers in the brand, Cadillac is moving forward with plans to add hardtop convertible and wagon bodystyles to the CTS for the 2010MY. The CTS will migrate to the Zeta platform in late 2012 as a 2013MY. Finally, the ULS Ultra Luxury Sedan program, targeted to be a very high-end and expensive flagship for Cadillac, has been cancelled.

Zeta (Global RWD)
As previously forecast, the Chevrolet Camaro (Q1 of 2009) and Impala (Q4 of 2009) will be the first NA-produced Zeta products and they will be joined by the Cadillac DTS (Q4 of 2010) and Buick Flagship Sedan Lucerne replacement (Q1 of 2011). The DTS will, in effect, replace both the outgoing, FWD-based DTS as well as the STS. The Chevrolet Chevelle coupe, originally planned to replace the Monte Carlo in the 2011MY, has been cancelled due to GM's concerns about having two Chevy entries in the large coupe segment. The Pontiac G8, introduced at the Chicago Auto Show, will first be imported from Australia, but could potentially be produced in NA as early as 2010. The GTO will also be imported from Australia beginning Q4 of 2009. Finally, the Cadillac CTS migrates to Zeta in 2012. With this move, it is likely the CTS will grow in size, from its current CD+ size to a more "pure" D size. The Zeta platform is reportedly less costly than the Sigma platform, significantly improving CTS and DTS cost base. The Holden Commodore, Statesman and Ute (Australia), Daewoo L4X (South Korea), Buick Park Avenue (China) and Chevrolet Omega (South America) will continue on the Zeta platform, as well.

Alpha (Global Small RWD)
A new RWD platform has emerged from the offices of GM's product planners. Alpha is reportedly loosely based on the Kappa architecture, though it is significantly larger in size. The Cadillac BLS, currently offered in Europe as an Epsilon platform, FWD-based sedan and wagon, will migrate to Alpha in early 2011 (for both NA and Europe). It had previously been scheduled to move to the Epsilon 2 FWD/AWD platform. However, with the upsizing of the CTS (with its move to Zeta), there was an opportunity in Cadillac's portfolio for a CD-sized RWD sedan. BLS will also be offered in coupe/convertible as well as wagon variants. The Cadillac BRX crossover, scheduled to launch in early 2009 on the Theta platform, will move to Alpha for the 2014MY. This will provided a RWD replacement for the SRX, albeit several years later. The Pontiac G6 will move to Alpha in 2013 after one relative short cycle on the Epsilon 2 platform (due in Q4 of 2009). Pontiac has expressed a strong desire to migrate most of their products to RWD based.

Kappa (Global Compact RWD Performance)
Kappa will continue to underpin GM's performance roadster lineup that includes the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky, Opel GT and Daewoo G2X.
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