• May 1, 2008
Click above for high-res gallery of the Buick Invicta Concept

GM Vice Chairman Bob "Maximum" Lutz published a new post today on the corporate GM Fastlane Blog that addresses the automaker's newest concept that debuted recently at Auto China 2008 in Beijing: the Invicta. The concept heavily hints at what the next-generation Buick LaCrosse will look like, but Bob points out that the global architecture underpinning the vehicle will be the basis of new cars for Chevy, Saab, Opel/Vauxhall and more. In the past, we would've expected those accompanying models to be rebadged versions with different grilles, headlights and taillights, but Bob explains how GM's new global platform sharing process is different than the rebadging of old. In a nutshell, he says that the money saved from sharing common platforms see will be put into making everything that customer's will see - exterior and interior design, specifically - completely different. While it's great to hear Bob talk about how GM finally "gets it" when it comes to producing common products across an empire of brands, it's something that other automakers like VW/Audi have been doing for years while the General kept feeding us "triplets" of every model it made. So kudos to GM for finally getting it, but it took 'em long enough.


[Source: GM FastLane blog]


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  • 34 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      "To the commenters in this blog no matter what changes the Detroit 3 does to their platforms is still badge engineering--Gotta get that straight ;)"

      Exactly. People are saying "everyone else has been doing this for years" and yet Toyota still hasnt abandoned badge engineering. Nor has Ford or Chrysler. GMs epsilon cars are more different than the camry is from the ES350 or the Armada is from the QX56.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "he says that the money saved from sharing common platforms see will be put into making everything that customer's will see - exterior and interior design, specifically - completely different"

      Wow, welcome to a decade ago. Better late then never, though it's not like most journalists, enthusiasts, and their dogs have been lamenting the whole 'slightly different grill new brand' approach GM and Ford have taken for so long.

      Good Move. More of these 'well duh' moves will continue to bring GM closer and closer to profitability (accounting for GMAC and hopefully a turn around in sales/market share in NA).
      • 6 Years Ago
      "While it's great to hear Bob talk about how GM finally "gets it" when it comes to producing common products across an empire of brands, it's something that other automakers like VW/Audi have been doing for years while the General kept feeding us "triplets" of every model it made. So kudos to GM for finally getting it, but it took 'em long enough"

      This is a stupid comment. The only badge engineered vehicles GM has are the Chevy/GMC trucks/SUVS, G5/Cobalt and torrent/equinox. The W platform cars have been looking different since forever. The Lacrosse and Impala and Grand Prix are the same car underneath and look nothing alike inside or out. The G6 and Malibu look nothing alike inside or out. The 9-3 looks nothing like the Aura, Malibu or G6. GM has not just started making different cars on the same platform. Do the XLR and Vette look alike to Autoblog writers? How about the Vue and Equinox?

      "Maximum Bob is so full of it.
      GM will continue to badge engineer because it's the least expensive way to do it."

      No they wont. None of GM's recent releases have been badge engineered. Use common sense. The CTS doesnt even share interior or exterior components with its fellow Cadillac, the STS.

      • 6 Years Ago
      The Invicta looks great and I'll be interested to see how the Chevy version will look... Looks like there is hope for the American automobile...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Pluton, there's a big difference between platform sharing and badge engineering. Would you say the Volvo S40 is a badge-engineered Mazda3?

        Platform sharing is good. It saves money that can be spent on better exterior design, future R&D, safety, etc. Badge engineering is where merely a different nose and badge = "different" car.

        Platform sharing = Pontiac G6 / Saab 9-3

        Badge engineering = Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G5.

        Let's hope Maxium Bob keeps his word.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "In the past, we would've expected those accompanying models to be rebadged versions with different grilles, headlights and taillights, but Bob explains how GM's new global platform sharing process is different than the rebadging of old. In a nutshell..." -

        "Bob points out that the global architecture underpinning the vehicle will be the basis of new cars for Chevy, Saab, Opel/Vauxhall and more. "

        Nothing has changed.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's on the next gen Epsilon platform, the current one is called Malibu
      • 6 Years Ago
      Um... has he seen Pontiac?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yup, and all the foreign "help" on the Pontiac vehicles except the Toyota Vibe are GM owned (for many years) facilities. Or at least a stake in like GM had with Suzuki before they sold it.

        That German engine you keep talking about is a world designed engine and it is assembled in NY. GM has owned Opel for closer to 100 hears than to 50. Um, the chief designers over at GM Europe have mostly been Americans.

        The Solstice is assembled in Delaware and shipped to Europe.

        If Americans gave a crap then GM would have the relative few (to most car companies) foreign parts as they do. Americans told GM loud and clear 30+ years ago they didn't care who or where about their cars.

        Please, go look at Apples parts before you judge GM. I would love for every part of theirs to be made here personally but demand told supply they don't give an f.

        PERIOD.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The G8 is not a rebadge in any way, shape, or form.

        It is completely unique in its market.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Money isn't in engine assembly. I have a friend who does factory automation in Auburn Hills, MI. He programs the robots that assemble and machine engines and engine parts. They turn on a robot, and let it go. Sure the robots cost a lot, but not as much as workers, and that's why they're there. The people who are getting baid BUCKS are the ones who are designing the engines... in the Ecotec's case, in Germany."

        Yeah, with probably thousands of parts in an engine I'm supposed to believe they turn on a robot and product the eco-tec engines. You just lost most of your credibility there. Sorry. Stupid statement.



        "The people who are getting baid BUCKS are the ones who are designing the engines... in the Ecotec's case, in Germany.""

        OK elitist, didn't Sam Walton teach you anything? Walton made more money than Tiffany every could dream of. Have more assemblers get paid a little less (and see the complaints on autoblog about how much union assemblers make) than a few designers will power a country as much as anything. Your view is that every American should make the big bucks or they don't count or we shouldn't care about their job?

        I'll tell you what Apple has to do with it. If GM was anything like Apple every single part of GM's would be foreign made. I'm curious why the hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs GM supports and GM is a target of your "GM isn't very American" onslaught yet a company like Apple, you could spend a book writing about how their parts are from everywhere (i.e. like you did with Pontiac), that is, if you really cared where your parts came from.

        My guess, since you really seem to care where parts and design are from, is that your Acura has less American design and parts than any given Pontiac. Probably including the so foreign G8. Again, GM has owned Holden for decades. I'm sure a few Americans have contributed over there.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Honda can't sell the Euro/Jap Accord as an "Accord" in the US because it's too small. The "mid-sized" car segment is becoming BIGGER in the US because Americans are FATTER than the rest of the world.

        They can't make their mainstream market cars smaller, or even keep them the same size from model revision to model revision, or the ever-fattening auto reviewers and ever-fattening American public will complain that there's not sufficient room for their gut to fit under the steering wheel next to 8 cup holders full of Big Gulps and fries.

        I own a TSX. It has plenty of room for my NORMAL sized self, for my normal sized wife, and my normal sized friends. I like getting good gas mileage in what the rest of the world calls a "mid" sized car.

        Plus I can sleep well at night knowing that it's not any more "foreign" than a Pontiac.
        • 6 Years Ago
        GM as a whole may or may not love America like you think but they surely could have declared bankruptcy and been out of all U.S. labor with everything made in Mexico or China at least a decade ago. Then you can say, "who would buy a car from a bankrupt company, that is why they haven't". Guess what? They are loosing billions a quarter on sales to America. Would declaring bankruptcy in the U.S. and headquartering somewhere else and not losing billions a quarter really "save" them money? After 10 years of not losing money every quarter in the U.S. they could emerge leaner and Americans would buy they stuff in a hear beat. Hell, Toyota started their U.S. sales 10 years after WWII and apparently sold at least one car. Americans have short memory.

        "You still haven't specified which Apple you're talking about. If you're talking about Apple Computer - first off, I don't use a Mac, and second off, almost all computer parts for any computer manufacturer are made in Asia... so what's your point?"

        Yes, Apple Computers. You don't use a Pontiac either yet you took the time to tell us how foreign they are. And they are all about "Designed in California" and "Assembled in China". They are *your* perfect company. You stated how "Engineered in" is more important than "Assembled in" that is why they are so relevant.

        As far as all computer parts made in Asia then since the norm is what we base what our American companies should be doing then GM is just making their parts more in line with what the Japanese and German vehicles sold here are made. All because the Camry or Accord are assembled here doesn't mean that as a whole Toyota or Honda parts are so much more American. GM is just making their cars more worldly like their competitors and like I stated, America approves of their things being from all over so it is hard to get upset.

        But again, I will e-iterate why it is different if the Acura is from a Japanese company with Japanese parts then yes, GM owning a factory in Mexico is better in my opinion. Luckily I don't buy the products that are majority foreign even from GM.
          • 6 Years Ago
          But again, I will e-iterate why it is different if the Acura is from a Japanese company with Japanese parts then yes, GM owning a factory in Mexico is better in my opinion.

          How is a Japanese car built in Japan with a Japanese badge on it better than an Australian car built in Australia with an American badge on it?
          • 6 Years Ago
          I think this comment system was built in Mexico.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah - I've seen Pontiac as well.

        The G8 is straight out of Australia - 100% imported to the US, as is the G8 ST. American engineered engine, but Aussie platform and engine assembly is all done in Australia. The automatic transmission is assembled in Strasbourg, France and the manual in Queretaro, Mexico.

        The G5 is a rebadged Cobalt, which is made in Ohio this year, but next year final production will be moved to Mexico. The manual transmission is assembled in Germany, and the auto is assembled in Canada. The engine was engineered in Germany.

        The Solstice platform is a joint venture between US and German engineers. The manual transmission is made by Aisin in Japan, and the automatic is made in France. The engine was engineered in Germany.

        The Torrent is a re-badge wet dream with tons of other cars. The V6 engine is assembled in China, and the 5 speed trans is assembled at Aisin in Japan. The 6 speed is assembled in Warren, MI, to their credit. Final assembly is in Canada at a joint owned GM-Suzuki factory.

        The Vibe is half Toyota and speaks for itself. Engine is 100% Toyota, and trans mission is 100% Toyota. Both are assembled in Japan.

        The only "American" Pontiac is the G6... until they move production of that (or its components) somewhere else.

        Yeah - I know Pontiac pretty well.
        • 6 Years Ago
        i don't see a problem with what GM did with the G8 as long as its the only version sold in the area. i'll 100% agree examples like the old S-10 and GMC small trucks were an example of being really lazy and not trying. that happened alot over the years with GM in cars/trucks/suv/mini vans and so on, but i think they are make strides in that respect.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Open your eyes jgp. The G8 IS a rebadged Holden Commodore imported directly from Australia, just like the former GTO which was a rebadged Holden Monaro, also from Australia.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "I do take issue with the fact that they'll sell the cars to Americans as "American" when 90% of it isn't American at all."

        You better lobby for the parts content stickers of all GM vehicles to read 10% or less then. Since you know all this.

        It is a global world and GM is one of the last to really start using its global facilities. Like I stated, for several decades they owned Opel and didn't use them as much as they used American designs and Americans kept spitting in their faces.

        Good to see that Toyota still declaring their headquarters in Japan as far as I know and Honda are just as American as GM which helped keep this country rolling for 100+ years. Yes, all those full size pickups that kept America building and expanding that came from Japan over the last 100 years sure were helpful.

        What would we have done without Honda? But now that our Honda and Toyota saviors are here we surely couldn't go into a recession or depression with all the jobs they brought here. No, their 70K U.S. jobs total is sure better than GM's 600K total U.S. only employees that have been eroded.

        But next time you get into your Acura think what you could have done to build an American car that everyone like you would love to drive and build more American than GM. An the billions you would have like Toyota has off of the U.S. market alone; otherwise, you are a failure. You failed. You lost an opportunity so prove and do it and get rich.

        • 6 Years Ago
        No, he's right. It is much better if you do what honda does and sells a car as the Accord in the rest of the world but in the largest market sell the same car as an Acura for thousands more.

        Yup, Jason knows what is going on in the automotive world. He's an f'ing genius so everyone listen to him.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah he's seen Pontiac. Have you? Pontiac is like the Number 2 seller in the GM segment.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "The G8 is exactly what he said they are going to stop doing."

        no, that's entirely incorrect. yes, the G8 is a rebadged holden commodore. but that doesn't matter, because holden doesn't sell vehicles in the states.

        It's the same as saying the lexus sc430 is a rebadged toyota soarer (which is the badge under which it's sold in Japan).

        If you're rebadging for purposes of selling in a different country, it doesn't really matter. the problem is rebadging the same car and selling it under many different brands IN THE SAME MARKET. that is what they used to do, and what they aren't doing anymore.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Maximum Bob is so full of it.
      GM will continue to badge engineer because it's the least expensive way to do it.
      I'll believe it when I see it...and China ain't it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      These are the cars that are going to make a change. This will definitely make some take a look at Buick. Very nice.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Don't pay the slightest bit of attention to what that twit Bobus Maximus has to say. In any case, this is far from any evidence that GM 'gets it'. As for that atrocious Invicta concept, just more rubbish from GM. They need to develop a good reliable ultra-economical car for the NA market that will sell by the bzillions not more mid size Buicks! GM get nothing!
      • 6 Years Ago
      @ChopperDave

      Silly you, don't you know that if Toyota slaps a different grill on their Land Cruiser and calls it a Lexus - that's platform engineering.

      If GM puts a Saab 9-3 body, suspension and interior on an Epilson platform instead of a Malibu's that's badge engineering.

      To the commenters in this blog no matter what changes the Detroit 3 does to their platforms is still badge engineering--Gotta get that straight ;)
        • 6 Years Ago
        I see--sorry, I completely misunderstood your tone (darned Internets ... more smileys, people! No, please, not really).

        • 6 Years Ago
        Funny, I don't remember knocking GM or praising Toyota. You must have me confused with someone else, or maybe you didn't see a comment a while back where I referred to the Lexus ES as a badge-engineered Camry. Either way, sarcasm falls flat when the accusation is just plain wrong.

        I also said that the 9-3/G6 was an example of platform sharing, not badge engineering. I used it as an example of reuse done right, a compliment to GM.

        Try reading my earlier comment again.

        • 6 Years Ago
        I almost took this post seriously. lol
        • 6 Years Ago
        @chopperDave

        Did read your post. Your comment is spot on.

        I'm sorry you've taken me seriously.
      • 6 Years Ago
      guyz i thought it was about badge engeneering
      and nothing was more blattant that
      in canada with the
      Chevy corsica and Pontiac Tempest,
      you could litterally take the front grill and the plastic part between the two tail light and in 10 mins you could talk trash on the other brand...
      • 6 Years Ago
      From the blog.
      "(Eds. Note: No real Lego pieces are used.)" That made me LOL.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sad thing is, you know some jerk would've gone all "ZOMG GM makes teh Malibuz outta LEgoz!!!!"

        In fact, I'd almost bet they published it without that note originally and had to add it in because someone did.
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