GM Inside News Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Keeping it in the family
The industry shift toward multiple uses of a common architecture is something customers are going to have to live with
By ALEX LAW
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Globe&Mail

When people consider vehicles in the competitive sport-sedan segment, they often do not include the Jaguar X-Type with the BMW 3 Series, Cadillac CTS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and other worthy models.

To a large extent, this is because the X-Type's credentials are in doubt, as it's based on a less-expensive sedan Ford sells in Europe called the Mondeo, which was briefly sold in North America in the late 1990s as the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique.

Essentially, not enough people want to spend $40,000 to $50,000 on a car with such humble origins, even if it's now wearing an honoured brand.

Something of the same stigma is attached to the Audi A4, which shares many of its important mechanical bits with the Volkswagen Passat in North America and the Seat Toledo and Skoda Octavia in Europe, and the Lexus ES330, a sibling of the dowdy Toyota Camry.

The most famous, or infamous, example probably involved General Motors's use of the same platform in the 1980s to create four virtually indistinguishable cars bearing different brands -- the Buick Century, Chevrolet Celebrity, Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera and Pontiac 6000. It was a process that gave the term "badge engineering" a bad name.

Clearly, consumers are not that excited about all of products that come out of this trend of sharing platforms between brands.

As risky as using the same platforms and many of the same components is for the world's car companies, it's something that they -- and their customers -- are going to have to live with in the years to come.

For cost-cutting reasons, most of the auto manufacturers are moving toward multiple uses of a common platform, sometimes called architecture or chassis.

Ford, for example, will use an slightly enlarged version of the Mazda6 compact sedan as the basis for no less than 10 different models wearing Ford, Mercury and Lincoln badges.

The Detroit-based Chrysler Group arm of Germany's DaimlerChrysler has reorganized its product development process in a way that will rely more heavily on the multiple use of certain architectures.

When it comes to making several models from one common platform, says Gary Cowger, president of GM's North American operations, the "key is in architectures that are flexible enough to allow you to build truly distinctive products.''

Cowger says his company has done this as well as anyone with its Epsilon platform, which is under the direct control of Gene Stefanyshyn, a native of Red Lake, Ont.

Stefanyshyn is the vehicle-line executive responsible for creating the Epsilon architecture and overseeing its development into various GM models, including: the Chevrolet Malibu and Malibu Maxx; Saab 9-3; the Opel/Vauxhall Vectra and Signum; Pontiac G6; and a new mid-size sedan for Saturn.

The way Stefanyshyn sees it, a common architecture can be beneficial for buyers of all models involved, regardless of how much they pay for their new cars.

When you have to split the platform-development money over five different models, Stefanyshyn says, every platform suffers, even the most expensive.

"But when you develop a common architecture," he says, "then, you can spend more than you could on any single platform. This makes them all better, from the most expensive to the least expensive."

The company then takes the rest of its product-development funds and pours them into things that differentiate the brands, such as exterior design, interior fitments and running gear to give each model a different attitude.

Stefanyshyn says the proof is very much in the product pudding, pointing to differences in style and driving behaviour between the Vectra, 9-3 and Malibu. Even two vehicles that are unique in the same way (long wheelbase and short bodies) like the Opel Signum and Malibu Maxx, he says, are still considerably different in the way they ride and are equipped.

While the buyer of an individual model gets the benefit of a common architecture, Stefanyshyn says, the greatest beneficiaries are the ones who buy the least-expensive model. In Epsilon's case, the Malibu and Malibu Maxx.

Full Article Here

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,032 Posts
Like it or not, platform sharing is here to stay. Just
as long as the vehicles that come from this shared
platform are clearly different in style and character
I'm ok with it. Car manufacturers that are global
players must do this to save time and money
bringing product to market to stay competitive.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,621 Posts
i don't even know why this topic gets so much debate. i'm much more interested in the end product. if GM can produce distinctive products on one platform, i don't care! if they could build an inline 3 econobox, midsize V6 sedan, V8 rwd sports car and full size diesel truck all on the same platform, and they all did what they were supposed to, i wouldn't care!

so many people moan and complain about platform sharing without ever truly considering the differences in the vehicles. for me the problem with the terazza isn't so much that it shares a platform with 3 other CSV's... it's that i'm not sure buick needs a minivan. if there truly was a case for 75 different GM minivans i wouldn't care if they were all off the same platform. same with the trailblazer / rainier / envoy / 9-7x. they could all share the aveo platform (if it was adequate) for all i care... i just wanna see how distinctive they can make them.
 
Joined
·
5,934 Posts
I think what GM is doing with the Solstice, a possible Chevy roadster, and the Nomad is right on target. They all share the same frame, but each has distinct, and more importantly (kick-a$$) style.

Sharing the same frame is O.K., as long as each product has unique kick-a$$ style.

:D :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
To a large extent, this is because the X-Type's credentials are in doubt, as it's based on a less-expensive sedan Ford sells in Europe called the Mondeo, which was briefly sold in North America in the late 1990s as the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique.

What's ironic about this is that the Ford Mondeo seems to be a much better car than the X-type. It's got more room too! This is also true with the Opel Vectra and SAAB 9-3 IMHO.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,307 Posts
Platform sharing good:
Camry/ES300 - 9-3 / Malibu / G6- A4/Passat, etc..

Badge engineering BAD:
4 GM CSV's, 5 Trailblazers, etc..

When 2 (or more) cars are PURE clones of each other, that's a bad idea, especially when they are in competing classes.

The Camry and ES300 share NO body panels. They are built for different segments.

The CSV's all compete with each other. Take the grille and badges off, and you can't tell one from the other. Bad idea.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
481 Posts
Agreed, Rex. That was the point I was trying to make in "Pontiac Discussion" about the f-bodies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,047 Posts
yup, i agree with rex. like i have always said, sharing is good as long as sheetmetal,interior etc etc is different enough to give it its own identity. i remember when i owned a 88 gmc jimmy s15.. people called it a Blazer so much, i just debadged it and called it a blazer too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,882 Posts
Originally posted by IMPALAon20s@May 20 2004, 04:02 PM
yup, i agree with rex. like i have always said, sharing is good as long as sheetmetal,interior etc etc is different enough to give it its own identity. i remember when i owned a 88 gmc jimmy s15.. people called it a Blazer so much, i just debadged it and called it a blazer too.
In '83, a few months after the S-series utilities came out, there was new S-10 Blazer on the dealer's lot with Blazer emblem on one fender and a Jimmy emblem on the other. It was circled with yellow chalk like someone at the factory had noticed it, but nothing was done about it. Thank goodness QC has gotten better since then.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,621 Posts
Originally posted by MelvinJ@May 20 2004, 07:48 PM
In '83, a few months after the S-series utilities came out, there was new S-10 Blazer on the dealer's lot with Blazer emblem on one fender and a Jimmy emblem on the other. It was circled with yellow chalk like someone at the factory had noticed it, but nothing was done about it. Thank goodness QC has gotten better since then.
ha! that reminds me of a picture i saw once of an oldsmobile ninetyeight trunklid. it read 'eightninety'! hahaha! the 'ninety' and 'eight' badges were separate. oops!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,861 Posts
Originally posted by MelvinJ@May 20 2004, 07:48 PM
In '83, a few months after the S-series utilities came out, there was new S-10 Blazer on the dealer's lot with Blazer emblem on one fender and a Jimmy emblem on the other. It was circled with yellow chalk like someone at the factory had noticed it, but nothing was done about it. Thank goodness QC has gotten better since then.
That's pretty funny. The mother of one of my high school friends had a GMC Jimmy with both GMC and Chevrolet badges, too. She kept it for novelty's sake, though in retrospect, it may not have been as novel as she thought.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,758 Posts
Originally posted by Ming@May 20 2004, 01:17 PM


To a large extent, this is because the X-Type's credentials are in doubt, as it's based on a less-expensive sedan Ford sells in Europe called the Mondeo, which was briefly sold in North America in the late 1990s as the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique.

Essentially, not enough people want to spend $40,000 to $50,000 on a car with such humble origins, even if it's now wearing an honoured brand.

I fear this view point will be taken if the new Camaro is infact on Zeta. Seeing that it must start at or below 20k, and having Buicks with a price tag in the 40s. The anti domestic media will love that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,139 Posts
Originally posted by GN6@May 20 2004, 03:45 PM
Agreed, Rex. That was the point I was trying to make in "Pontiac Discussion" about the f-bodies.
now thats funny i seem to recall you saying this (quote) I'm against the Firebird's return, because I think it will be another GM "me too" rebadge just like the old Firebird. If the Camaro and Firebird are going to share a chassis, I think the styling differences need to be as distinct as the XLR/C6, Sigma (CTS, SRX, STS), Kappa (Solstice, Nomad, Curve), and Epsilon (Malibu, Malibu Maxx, G6) based cars. Maybe give the Firebird a V-10 or V-12, or optional AWD. It has to go down the street and make people say "Yeah, that's a Firebird." and not "It was one of those Trans Am IROC thingies, I think. I don't know, they all look the same." (unquote).
now most people can see the difference right away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,274 Posts
Different models on the same frame has been around forever. The GM B Bodies, (Chevrolet Impala, Pontiac Bonneville, Buick LeSabre and Olds 88) used the same frame for at least 35 years that I know of, and were very distinct from each other; you could never confuse an Impala with a LeSabre. Chrysler did the same with Plymouth and Dodge, as well as Ford with Mercury and Lincoln. This is just wise use of existing technology, and was very successful. It happens today in more vehicles than I can count, and will only become more popular as the rest of this decade unfolds.

The only thing that I hope is that the F Bodies will not be aimed at the same type of buyer, and have styling that tries to encourage the distinctions between the two. Firebird could have very aggressive styling and a base V8, for example, with Camaro having more conventional looks and a base V6, or vice versa.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top