• Aug 9, 2011


General Motors has announced plans to cut the number of global vehicle platforms by more than half over the course of the next seven years in an attempt to reduce costs and complexity.

The news came out of GM's long-term sustainability presentation at the automaker's 2nd annual Global Business Conference where Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson addressed investors and analysts.

According to reports from the ground, Akerson and GM's senior vice president of global product development, Mary Barra, explained that the automaker intends to reduce the number of car and truck platforms from 30 to 14 by 2018.

Akerson said in a pre-released statement that, "To reach a higher level of performance – for our customers and stockholders – we are accelerating our efforts to simplify and strengthen our processes to improve efficiencies and achieve our vision, which is to design, build and sell the world's best vehicles."

The plan is for GM's "core" architectures to comprise over 90 percent of the automaker's vehicles (up from 31 percent last year) and to be used on a global scale for high-volume products. Additionally, the number of engine variants will also be reduced from 18 to around 10 by 2018, and combined with new developmental standardization, GM can get new products into showrooms quicker while improving quality in the process.

GM estimates that inefficiencies in its product development cycle, namely cancelled programs, engineering reassignments and late changes to vehicles – something GM calls "churn" – account for nearly $1 billion in lost profits. Annually.


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  • 53 Comments
      ramairjer
      • 3 Years Ago
      The solution is simple: Put the LS9 in everything.
        You guy
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ramairjer
        I'd love a Cruze with a 3.6L 310hp V6.
          stickshiftn69
          • 3 Years Ago
          @You guy
          no way it will fit in a cruze's engine bay, not to mention the stress and weight it will add to the front end
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is a smart move. I would be willing to bet that GM probably has 2X as many platforms compared to Toyota even though the 2 companies sell almost the same number of cars. Platform-sharing - when done right - is a HUGE cost savings for the company and can result in better products for consumers because resources are not as spread out. When done wrong, you get the situation like in the 80s and 90s when Chevys, Buicks, Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles and even Cadillacs were all rebadges of each other with little to differentiate one from another.
      Mike K
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cutting the number of engines in half makes perfect sense; I could never understand why GM always had so many different engines. Their engine lineup constantly reeked of redundancy with no real reason behind it. However, 14 platforms to share across Chevy, GMC, Buick, Caddy, Holden, and Opel is a bit of a stretch.
      4 String
      • 3 Years Ago
      Platform sharing is okay (a-la-Toyota), as long as there isn't just stupid rebadging! That'd be cool if all the platforms were RWD/AWD too, but I'd doubt that :(
        tkosoccer03
        • 3 Years Ago
        @4 String
        GM did a nice job with the Lambda vehicles, IMO. you while they all look similar in the big picture, the details (windows, lights, doors, front and rear clips) are all different enough so that the average joe doesn't realize they are all almost the same.
      You guy
      • 3 Years Ago
      In all seriousness, 14 might be a little slim to stretch across 3 car brands and 2 truck brands.
        tkosoccer03
        • 3 Years Ago
        @You guy
        Ford does it with less than 10.. it's not that big of a deal. you have to remember.. platforms can be modified. just because two vehicles share the same platform, doesn't mean they have to be the same size. for example, both the CTS and STS share the same sigma platform, yet they sit in different classes. the taurus, flex, edge, and now explorer all share the same platform, yet it's impossible to tell because they are very different vehicles all in different classes. platform sharing isn't what it used to be with the body on frame vehicles. BMW, Merc, Lexus, all use only a few platforms for their entire lineup.
        You guy
        • 3 Years Ago
        @You guy
        I was thinking you could probably do it with 20 pretty well.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Tanooki2003
      • 3 Years Ago
      This would be ok as long as they don't repeat what they did in the 80's and 90's where they have very few platforms and then to rebadge the same vehicle under different brands with obvious similar characteristics between the brands, for example, the Pontiac 6000, Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, Buick Century, and Chevrolet Celebrity. I'm sure you can find MANY GM vehicles that follow this rebadging trend.
        DrEvil
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tanooki2003
        Platforms can shared, and the vehicles can look very different from model to model. Surely you do not mistake a Camaro with any of its Holden platform mates? This is a very smart move, since they are going to be global platforms, it also tells me that GM's future cars are going to be somewhat smaller than the ones that they replace.
      Kelly Hatcher
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder how many MBA's it took to come up with what we knew should have happened 10 years ago?
      dukeisduke
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is "Lt. Dan" at work. Reportedly he asked some GM manager, "if we have four brands, why do we have more than four different engines?'. No kidding.
      Stix
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is a very smart move GM is making. Even Toyota shares platforms with many of their cars despite being in very different categories; like the Camry and the Lexus ES. The new Ford Ka also shares its' components with Fiat's cars like the 500, the Panda, and the Lancia Ypsilon. This is something that should've been done a long time ago. Better late than never, I suppose.
      whofan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Only GM would engineer a engine to be used solely for the Trailblazer / Colorado vehicles and their other branded varietes. Gm had many V6 engines they could have used for the Colorado. This should be a step in the right direction for the company. Bring back the 3.8l V6 while your at it GM. This motor was good for 300,000 miles.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        JonnyO
        • 3 Years Ago
        GMC exists because there are enough folks out there who will pay a premium for a Chevy with a different grille. It's cheap money for GM so they have little incentive to axe it.
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