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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

$25 Billion Auto Bailout may mean some RWD projects
will move forward at GM

When the President signed the $25 billion loan to the auto industry, it may have created a bit of breathing room for General Motors to pursue other important projects, even as they work to further develop batteries, HCCI, and other fuel-conscious technologies.

GMI sources are indicating that chief among these alternative projects is a possible renewed emphasis on the Alpha platform and an expansion of that program.

The GM Global Product Board is considering putting the next generation Commodore on the Alpha architecture. This follows a move earlier this year when the Global Product Board approved making Alpha more flexible. The hope is to engineer Alpha in such a way as to build a variety of vehicles ranging from the size of a 1-Series to around the size of a 5-Series.

In another rumored move, Global Product Board has taken development of Alpha from GM Holden and has given it to the GM North America and GM Europe operations. This was done to placate Cadillac, who does not want to compromise on Alpha's development for their planned BLS-replacement. What Cadillac hopes to achieve is to get a flexible enough platform to support 4, 6, or 8 cylinder engines, as was deemed necessary by the Wreath & Crest brand.

This may also hint that a premium version of the Alpha platform will eventually supplant the Sigma platform that current underpinns the Cadillac CTS when the vehicle is replaced in the 2012-2014 time frame. Originally, GM had intended to further develop a "premium version" of the Zeta architecture that would unify both Zeta and the much more expensive Sigma platform. These plans, apparently, have been shelved in favor of a wider utilization of the lighter Alpha platform.

To make the business case for such a move, GM needed to add scale and volume to the program -- which explains why the Commodore could possibly be included. If you look back to previous comments out of GM Holden in the last few years, their former Managing Director - Denny Mooney - stated that the Commodore would have to possibly shrink and be lightened to make it viable in the future. In fact, Mooney stated that Holden's focus may eventually shift to a smaller, lighter core product to remain competitive as world-wide energy demand is up.

This doesn't necessarily mean there won't be a large car the size of the Commodore at Holden, but whatever product emerges, it will not be the same formula we see today. And, it may also be supplemented with a smaller, mid-sized product as well. However, such a move may shift any future Alpha production from the Elizabeth, Australia plant to a possible U.S. plant.

But what does this mean for GM in North America? Its possible that if Alpha becomes the successful program GM hopes, that a new RWD Chevrolet Impala may eventually make it to market. This could potentially coincide with when the Pontiac G8 is projected to be dropped from the North American lineup around 2013 model year, or possibly earlier.

Due to rising CAFE standards and added technology, the new Chevrolet Impala would have a major price increase over today's model. With sales of the new Malibu taking off, it is possible that GM will allow the near-indentical sized Malbu to carry the current FWD Impala's banner as well as its own. This would allow a larger price difference to refocus the Impala as a RWD product -- as it was originally intended until the recent CAFE hike shifted development plans to a FWD model.

It would also mean that the Camaro and G8 would become the last vehicles to use the Zeta platform for North America. Any future plans by the Global Product Board for Alpha would include the Camaro's replacement and a possible Buick-badged vehicle.

However, regardless of these revised plans, NO Alpha product will make it to the Poncho brand. Sadly, it seems any plans for a RWD Pontiac G6 are firmly dead.

At this time, this is what GMI has heard regarding GM's future Alpha plans. We will report more as new insider information becomes available.
 

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I literally laughed out loud when I read this headline.

Don't move up production of the U.S. Cruze.

Don't move up (and increase) production of BAS+.

Don't build a U.S. factory for production of a competitive Aveo replacement/Beat.

Don't invest in R&D to make direct injection affordable for every single car you sell.

Don't make a fuel efficient minivan to compete with the Odyssey and Caravan.

Don't start making the 1.4L turbo any sooner.

Don't replace ancient Buick models with fresh, efficient models being sold everywhere else.

No, instead, take $25,000,000,000 from U.S. tax payers and announce a new RWD platform for the Australian Commodore. Brilliant.
 

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An idea for the Alpha is to find a way to be flexible enough to include a range of small-cars with a wheelbase under 105" (I don't know if a Alpha platform could even get a smaller wb like 85-90") and 4-cyl engines and a stretched Alpha variant for mid-size or full-size cars.

And since GM do a joint-venture with Ford for the 6-speed FWD auto transmission. I wonder if they could study the possibility of building the Alpha platform in a joint-venture with another automaker?
 

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Well Holden already started the shrinking, the new Sportwagon is much shorter than the old stationwagon whihc was great for fleets but not so good as the family car. Holden also has the discussions about making the Commodore lighter/more fuel efficent.

GM could conceivably invest a bit more in Zeta to make the platform better etc and make it more desirable (again!) for RWD vehicles. The Alpha is needed, but they could push Zeta to the next level as a majority of the invest & work is done.
 

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Great news for RWD fans.

I think this spells the end for a next-gen Zeta vehicles.
It's unfortunate that the Zeta platform never really was used to it's full potential and it could go down as one of the bigger blunders for GM in recent history. It was too heavy, it suffered from many delays in order to push the GMT-900s forward, and just about every model sans the Camaro and Holden line was cancelled.

However, who would've guessed at the beginning of the Zeta development, that gas would be hovering at or above $4/ gallon, GM would be severely strapped for cash, and the economy would be in the crapper.

At least now GM has a plan in place to keep RWD as important to it's growth as it was prior to all the financial problems but in a more responsible/ fuel efficient way. Not to mention, the Alpha platform is much more flexible to handle all sorts of vehicles which is exciting.
 

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I don't think that Zeta is necessarily dead, per se. It's still a class-leading platform and will be viable for a decade or more. The tooling is already in place, the suppliers are in place, and the Camaro is going to anchor the entire line. Hopefully, as we get closer to the light at the end of the tunnel for the economy and as we get closer to the new fuel economy standards, GM will be able to more fully utilize the platform.

I am glad that GM is proceeding with Alpha, lord knows Ponitac and Cadillac need this to survive.
 

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looks like good news,
and really really good news for the impala, i really hope there is a rwd impala
 

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It would also mean that the Camaro and G8 would become the last vehicles to use the Zeta platform for North America. Any future plans by the Global Product Board for Alpha would include the Camaro's replacement and a possible Buick-badged vehicle.

Thus far, this is what GMI has heard at this time.
Needs to be a Pontiac. Otherwise, horray for cheapo RWD :)
 

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I don't think that Zeta is necessarily dead, per se. It's still a class-leading platform and will be viable for a decade or more. The tooling is already in place, the suppliers are in place, and the Camaro is going to anchor the entire line. Hopefully, as we get closer to the light at the end of the tunnel for the economy and as we get closer to the new fuel economy standards, GM will be able to more fully utilize the platform.

I am glad that GM is proceeding with Alpha, lord knows Ponitac and Cadillac need this to survive.
Oshawa is(where the Camaro is made at)a Flex plant , it can built nearly anything GM wants.
 

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i love the attitude of Cadi not compromising. Look how well the CTS is doing. if they can continue to grow the brand and reputation, it will pay off in the long run. GM needs to use the money wisely, but i'm sure they know that. man these are crazy times.
 

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However, who would've guessed at the beginning of the Zeta development, that gas would be hovering at or above $4/ gallon, GM would be severely strapped for cash, and the economy would be in the crapper.
According to many armchair-auto execs, that was common knowledge years ago.

That said, I'm really hoping Alpha goes through and does well. I'm a RWD fan, and I don't see myself buying a FWD car unless the Cruze coupe is is a grand slam. In reality, I'll have to wait for a 3-year-old used Alpha. Oh well.
 

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My guess is that Zeta would continue also eventually, but focus on G8 and larger cars. But probably wouldn't get any major work until most Alpha vehicles are done. Big cars will still need to exist, just maybe not in the volume you see them today. Personally though I think they should put more effort into convincing people large wagons are a good buy in this country. I don't think there is any reason a big wagon couldn't easily better CUV mileage while providing almost as much utility.

Oh well. I highly doubt Zeta will just be ditch 100% so much as it will be focused on larger cars. Buick, Cadillac, and even Chevrolet need cars larger than current CTS or Malibu. Seems that size is where Alpha will max out. Should make for some interesting Pontiacs if they survive and eventually finally get their RWD cars.
 

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And come to think of it, I really wonder how this is going to get approved by the Department of Energy. After all taxpayers don't want to see their money get wasted on what may seem like a "wasteful" product, when GM should be developing more fuel efficient vehicles at this time
(Hint: Drop a few diesel options and a low-consumption 4-banger in there to please those folks )
 

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hmm yeah, does GM have to like state what they're going to use the money for exactly? I spose Congress wouldn't agree if they plan to retool and bring back the 500 ci V8 Cadillac motor
 

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I am guessing we will see more Active Fuel Management engines being made.
The 3.6/HF V6 line, for sure, needs to be more efficient that what it currently is right now. Too bad that GM doesn't want to add AFM to all of their OHC engines.
 
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