General Motors aims to reduce by more than half the number of vehicle platforms it uses worldwide as part of efforts to lessen complexity and to cut product-development costs. At GM’s 2011 Global Business Conference, GM CEO Dan Akerson said that most of its parts will be common while most vehicles will be built on “global architectures.”
These GM presentations were webcast. From 30 vehicle architectures (the platform of parts and subcomponents that underpin cars and trucks) in 2010, GM will have only 14 in 2018, according to Mary Barra, GM’s senior vice president of global product development.
GM said that it aims to greatly raise the number of cars and trucks that will be built on its “core” architectures, which GM describes as global platforms as well as high-volume regional platforms, including the T900 architecture that could be seen on its full-sized pickups in North America.
Core platforms will make up 90% of GM’s volume by 2018, a significant increase from 31% in 2010. Barra said that this enables the company to have a “much more efficient engineering investment” in every vehicle.
Another advantage is that quality is higher and the vehicle is easier to market. In addition, GM seeks to reduce its engine platforms, from almost 20 in 2009 to less than a dozen in 2018 and around 10 eventually.
For instance, a new, small gasoline engine platform, which ranges from 1.0 to 1.5 liters, will be used throughout the world and will replace engines that are currently on three different engine platforms.