First and foremost I'm no writer. I put this together from random thoughts and it is simple, and limited to essentially the Epsilon vehicles with a little Alpha and Omega thrown in, but could be expanded to include all of GM concerning it's divisions
Chevy vs Buick vs Cadillac vs the Industry
Many people lambast Chevy for the Malibu and SS sharing some many design cues, but I maintain that both cars are variably handsome, and in the SS’s case, Chevy/Holden’s take on what a mature mainstream sedan should look like, not succumbing to the body-cladding of past Pontiacs, or racing stripes and trick painted surfaces of the Dodge brand, but presenting to the American buyer a look of maturity, handsome and sleeperish that pushes what is normally reserved for a BMW; Performance from such a toned down look. Yes I’m calling the Chevy SS, the real American BMW 5series. Nope, I didn’t forget about the magnificent CTS. That car is, IMO, a whole nother level. It easily usurps the BMW 5series as the performance king in Luxury sedans, and does it with more splendor than the E-Class.
For Chevy, Buick and Cadillac cars, I think the true difference in the first two, leading up to the latter, should be about Styling, engines, and a pure adhesion to the a spectra that sets them each apart. GM has a conundrum on its hand every time it designs and releases a new vehicle from either division. That is how do you dumb down the Chevy to make the Buick or Cadillac seem more grandiose when even the cheapest iteration is literally on par with what other brands, such as BMW or Audi are putting out as premium. The Denali or even Tahoe LTZ, not Escalade, vs Range Rover is a great example, but I am going stick to cars.
An objective person, looking at the performance credentials of the Chevy SS, the interior refinement of the SS, the NVH of the SS versus a BMW 5series, would actually come away from a blind folded ride possibly thinking the SS is the more expensive and better engineered vehicle of the two. Who am I kidding, they might actually do the same in a blind-folded ride of a CTS. The SS is really that good. So is the Impala versus an Benz E350. As is the Regal vs a Lexus IS250 or ES350 (sorry haters). It does remind me of Hyundai a bit, with their Genesis and Equus. While they are certainly down on some areas of fit and finish versus an S-Class (vs Equus) for the scaled difference in asking price, the worth of S-Class seriously comes into question.
The challenge is differentiation at GM. I think it should be simplified. We know that Reuss wants GM platforms to dwindle in the next two years. The continuation of Zeta is ambiguous with the Alpha platform able to stretch to Commodore size, and Omega just around the corner, which should have been engineered to have a wheel base 125inchs to 151, just in case a Pullman competitor is in the works. Taken further though, the Omega should be able to start when the Alpha ends. Currently the CTS, being 114.60 inches is the longest available WB from Alpha. Can that be stretched to go to 118? Can the Omega be shrunk to 119?
Back to the differentiation. How about just sticking to drive-trains and a meeting of “ends?”
I believe that GM could take it’s current models and have a very in tune line-up without actually stepping on each division’s toes just by focusing on drive-trains, styling, and of course appropriate per dollar interior/exterior materials and such. While each division doesn’t necessarily need to have a version of each other’s vehicles, it does stand to reason that each division should be able to cover a rising hierarchy within a size category. Ford instance, the Regal vs the Malibu vs the CTS. All are considered Mid-Sizers. For the sake of argument I’d like to use a stair-step approach concerning Cadillac where as the ATS is the equivalent of the Regal. I propose that the Regal would move to Alpha. The Epsilon Platform remaining at Chevy for the Malibu and Buick for the Lacrosse, both being of similar size. This would mean more to the Malibu than the Lacrosse. The Malibu would go back to it’s 112 Wheel Base, but could still stay at 192 and the Lacrosse remains at 197 in exterior length. The Super-Epsilon goes to the Impala, Park Ave, and XTS covering all three brands.
Here’s what spawned all of this nerd speak. Why is it that GM feels the need to completely hoard a given tech for a particular division, while another suffers?
The ATS vs Regal situation even now, with Regal on Epsilon, GM could certainly put a V6 under the hood and give the car a little more power. I would take them both further, with very little investment as the technologies are existing already at GM, offering:
ATS: 2.0L 270HP, 3.6L 320HP, TT3.6L 380HP, and 6.2L 460HP
Regal: 2.5L 200hp, 2.0Lturbo 260hp, 3.6L 305HP (GS), TT3.6L 370HP (w AWD GNX)
Impala vs Lacrosse vs XTS
I’d keep these as they are now, but certainly ask why no AWD available in the Impala? How about making the TT3.6L available in all divisions but simply detune it based on the brand?
AWD Impala SS 3.6LTT 370HP
AWD Park Ave Super 3.6LTT 390HP
AWD XTS-VSport 3.6LTT 410HP
I believe that Omega should be the one limited platform at GM. I think that it should not be carried over to any other division and should be the basis of at least 4 Cadillac models such as the Sedan, a grand Coupe, a Crossover, and a possible large sports car. That being said, I do think that the Corvette Y-Body needs to be sent over to Cadillac for an immediate XLR redo. Alpha should be distributed for a replacement for the Saturn and Solstice, with one going to Buick as a 2+2 Sport Riviera and the other going to Cadillac as a viable Z4 competitor. Yes I’m suggesting that Cadillac would have 3 Sports cars, with one of them, based off Omega, being a Supercar.