Friday 20 May 2011

GM facing issues regarding $1bn rear-wheel-drive platform

For more than five years, GM has been developing a new rear-wheel-drive architecture - dubbed Alpha – which will be used on small cars. Despite not even being fitted onto a production model yet, the platform has faced numerous issues. This new issue is far by the largest yet....

According to numerous internal sources within GM and the suppliers involved, the whole project is in jeopardy as it has missed its initial target weight and other requirements.

Due to the Alpha's $1bn price, the project faced many barriers like the need to accommodate extra technology, V6 engines, and all-wheel-drive that has caused the platform to be re-engineered, which has inevitably increased the kerb weight to 1,814kg (4,000lbs), 136kg – 227kg (300lbs – 500lbs) more than the intended target.

Cadillac will be the first GM brand to
utilise the new Alpha platform on the
upcoming 'ATS' executvie compact
 The additional weight gain has forced GM to abandon its multi-link suspension that nearly delivered “near perfect geometry.” Instead of redeveloping the suspension system, GM will tweak the chassis for optimal results.

Another problem for the platform is the inability to accommodate larger GM models like the next-generation Cadillac CTS, which leads to the 'Alpha+' platform that makes it even heavier than before. Because of this, GM is looking to trim 227kg (500lbs) of the overall weight.

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