Platform sharing is big, so much so that the globe’s largest automakers have adopted the platform sharing approach in a mighty big way. Examples abound. Toyota has the Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA), Volkswagen has the MQB, Volvo has the Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) and Renault-Nissan have come up with the Common Modular Family (CMF) architecture. Platform sharing offers significant cost reductions through shared production facilities and parts. Also, shared platforms mean lower development lead times, which further lead to vehicles making the cut from concept to production in record time.
General Motors will the latest entrant to the platform sharing club, what with CEO Mary Barra announcing that the American automaker will have just 4 core platforms by 2025, down from the existing number of 26 platforms. The transformation towards the 4 core platforms has already begun at General Motors. CEO Barra says that tremendous progress has been made in this regard, with extensive bench marking already underway.The four key platforms that General Motors is said to host by 2025 are – D2XX (sub-compact and compact cars), E2XX (large front wheel drive cars and crossovers), Alpha/Omega (High performance cars, luxury sedans and crossovers) and K2XX (large pick up trucks and SUVs).
General Motors’ whittling down of vehicle platforms from the current 26, to 4 by 2015 will not be without its share of challenges though. The American automaker will have to spend billions of dollars in terms of re-tooling to accommodate the new platforms. Also, executing the sweeping transition to fewer platforms could prove to be very difficult, as Volkswagen’s move to MQB is showing. One of the first cars from General Motors to take the D2XX approach is the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze sedan, which will eventually land on Indian shores. Expect next generation versions of cars such as the Chevrolet Beat and the Aveo hatchbacks to also hit the D2XX bandwagon.
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