I threw Autoblog a brick in the last post, now it’s time for a bouquet. Credit where it’s due.
They have provided a story about the Epsilon 2 program, one of the benefits of which will be true powertrain flexibility due to a consistent platform being used accross the board. The story originates from Autoweek:
General Motors’ next-generation mid-sized vehicle architecture will be able to accommodate engines from around the world, a high-ranking GM executive says.
That means fuel-efficient diesels could come to North America from Europe by the end of the decade on the Epsilon 2 architecture, Hans Demant, managing director of Adam Opel AG, told Automotive News at the Frankfurt auto show last week.
“The next-generation of Epsilon in North America will have full access to all of the European powertrains,” Demant said……
…..The Malibu, G6, Opel Vectra and Saab 9-3 are produced on the current generation of GM’s front-wheel-drive mid-sized Epsilon architecture. But not all vehicles in the architecture can accommodate all engines.
Each region until now has engineered and designed their own products independently. Specifications are off just enough between vehicles that true interbuildability cannot be achieved.
The main characteristics of the current Epsilon architecture were developed with GM’s Opel subsidiary in Germany. Engineering work on the next generation of vehicles is led by GM’s technical center in Germany.
The goal is that vehicles on Epsilon 2 built around the world will share dimensions, components and manufacturing processes.
The sharing of engines falls under GM Vice Chairman Robert Lutz’s definition of interbuildability, a term that includes manufacturing and engineering, Demant says.
“It is the total spectrum of options and features available for use anywhere,” Demant says. “If someone says they want a diesel in North America … we have a high-efficient diesel engine, and we can ship it. The (architectures) will all share the same module. We’ll just be able to stick it in.”
This is all fine-n-dandy. It gives GM the economies of scale it needs, which hopefully leads to increased profitability and greater investment in Saab (which is my interet in the whole shebang). And that’s the crux of the whole thing, isn’t it? I’m all for GM being becoming corporate king of the universe if it means I can have my Saabs remaining Saaby and getting better and cheaper as the years go by.
Of course, if the Epsilon 2 and it’s effects on the 9-3 make it a BLS with a different grille, then it’s whole new discussion.
My ideal endgame? GM does what it has to do, just so long as it keeps investing in Saab and letting those Swedish designers do their thing. Hopeful? Let’s see.