GM insiders have disclosed new information regarding GM's latest rear-wheel-drive plans including details on the forthcoming large RWD Zeta cars, the Alpha platform, and future Cadillac offerings.
GM sources told GMInsideNews that Cadillac would like to use its Sigma platform to exploit market niches it doesn't currently offer product in. Since development of CTS and the Sigma II platform is complete and the expense would be rather minimal, Cadillac will offer several variants of its new CTS sedan including a coupe aimed at the BMW 6-series, as well as a wagon. The RWD wagon and a new FWD crossover dubbed BRX (which rides on a combined Theta-Epsilon platform) will replace the SRX when it is phased out in the summer of 2009. The new coupe, station wagon and crossover will launch in late 2009 for the 2010 model year.
In 2010 — for the 2011 model year — the CTS will undergo a refresh as part of GM's effort to gradually move it upmarket to become a 5-Series, E-Class competitor. The update will give the CTS a revised exterior, a brand new interior, and a revised, more powerful powertrain line-up, the report claims. Since GM's new Northstar engine is expected to arrive around this time, look for it to premier in the 2011 CTS.
The STS will be phased out during the summer of 2010, leaving the CTS as the only car riding on the Sigma chassis, the sources say. When the CTS is moved from Sigma to a modified form of Zeta in 2012, the Sigma platform will be scrapped.
The new Alpha platform is a go, with development underway in Australia by GM's Holden unit, GMI says. The new Cadillac BLS will move from front-wheel-drive Epsilon to RWD Alpha between 2011 and 2012, allowing it to compete against the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class.
Expect the BLS to also have coupe and wagon variants launching shortly after the sedan. Opel/Vauxhall will also get an Alpha variant and since Saturn has been twinned with Opel, they probably will too.
The Pontiac G6 will move also move from FWD Epsilon to RWD Alpha by 2013, due to lead times in getting Alpha into production. Because of this, the G6 will be overhauled and moved to Epsilon II for the 2009 model year for a short run, and then will be moved to Alpha, according to the report. The G6 will mostly likely be similar to the upcoming Holden Torana.
The Zeta platform can't really be scaled down because its over-engineered too accommodate a variety of body styles and applications. Thus, the need for the Alpha platform. It will probably feature a somewhat unique front suspension set up: a coil-over spring coupled with a 4-link strut should provide the necessary characteristics with size and weight advantages over Zeta's articulated McPherson. The rear suspension would be similar to the set up found in both the Zeta and Sigma cars. The platform would also be modular and scalable.
The Alpha chassis will have roughly a 110-inch wheelbase and length between 170 and 180 inches. It will probably feature support for both I4 and V6 engines, eschewing a V8 option due to space and emissions constraints.
Impala, GTO still on track
In Zeta news, the full size Chevy RWD car will indeed be called the Impala, but its launch has been moved back to between November 2009 and June 2010 to allow GM to modify its powertrain offerings for the car. Chevrolet could also get a new El Camino. If given the green light, the El Camino would hit dealers lots 2009-2010 time frame.
Pontiac will get another GTO from Australia. Based off of the all new Commodore Monaro, the GTO will reach America's shores from down under in the fall of 2009 to complement the Pontiac G8, the sources say. http://www.leftlanenews.com/gm-insid...pha-plans.html