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  • Blake Noble
    Blake Noble

    GM’s Underdog Zeta Platform is Still a Relevant Player

    G. Noble

    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com

    April 9th, 2012

    Despite its limited application as the basis for the Australian Holden Commodore sedan and Chevrolet Camaro coupe, GM North American President Mark Reuss says the rear-wheel drive Zeta platform is still a relevant global architecture for cars. Speaking to Australia’s GoAuto at this month’s New York Auto Show, the former Holden boss defended what has been called an “orphaned” platform, saying that Zeta would continue as long as sales in Australia would support it and exports remained healthy, and that it currently still figures in GM’s global strategy.

    “It’s still a global rear-wheel drive architecture, so we leverage it on Camaro, we do lots of things,” Reuss said. “I mean, you guys (Holden) still export things. There’s all that.” He then continued: “I’m not sure that changes unless the market tells us to change it. If the market tells us to change it, we’ll change it.”

    While it’s good news that it seems Zeta won’t be going anywhere any time short-term, Reuss also claimed he couldn’t make any long-term predictions about its future.

    “I don’t know because the volume comes out of Australia,” he said. “And if the [Australian] economy says that we’re going to keep making it, we’ll keep making it.”

    During GM’s perilous restructuring efforts a few years ago, the company assigned what it called a “homeroom” status to certain branches of itself — for example, GM Europe (aka Opel AG) would be the homeroom for small to medium front-wheel drive car platforms, mainly handling their development. Although GM Holden was assigned as the homeroom for rear-wheel drive platforms and cars, the only Zeta platform spin-off has been the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro, whose version of the Commodore architecture is known as Zeta II. Because Zeta has only birthed two different versions of itself focused solely on two different markets, some folks are quick to say it isn’t a true global automotive architecture.

    Some of those people will also point out other factors which work against Zeta. For example, the Camaro’s sales numbers suggests its more of a “niche” player and, overall, it’s a lower volume platform. There’s also the curiosity of GM North America developing GM’s newest global rear-drive platform dubbed “Alpha” and used beneath Cadillac’s new BMW 3-Series competitor, the ATS.

    Reuss had something to say about most of that. He was quick to bring up that Camaros were sold all over the world and that he thought GM was “kicking ass with it.” He maintained that it doesn’t matter that Zeta doesn’t have the sales volumes of Delta II small car platform or the medium car-sized Epsilon II.

    “No, but so what? I don’t care as long as we’ve already paid for it, it’s all done,” he said.

    Mark Reuss is currently championing the return of the Commodore to the U.S. as a rear-drive Chevrolet sports sedan. GM has confirmed that some sort of new top-dog Chevrolet is coming and that it will woo millions of Budweiser-swillin’, lawn chair-sittin’, salad-hatin’ NASCAR fans at racetracks next year. What remains to be seen, however, is if it will in fact be related to the Commodore or the new ATS, since some industry analysts claim that, on the contrary, Zeta no longer fits into GM’s plans for big rear-drive cars and a upsized version of Alpha will succeed it.

    Source: GoAuto

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    Hmmm... good news it seems.

    I wonder if the new NASCAR Chevy will be the production version of the sweet Code 130R... (Chicane?) or something else? Will the new RWD sport sedan be Zeta or Alpha based?

    This is building some good anticipation...

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    Hmmm... good news it seems.

    I wonder if the new NASCAR Chevy will be the production version of the sweet Code 130R... (Chicane?) or something else? Will the new RWD sport sedan be Zeta or Alpha based?

    This is building some good anticipation...

    I doubt if it would the Code 130R--the concept for that was very tiny. I'm assuming it will be the Commodore variation SS that has been rumored for years. Or something unexpected, though it seems unlikely it would be another Alpha this soon.

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    Well, after the fabulous new Impala, I sincerely hope this new Zeta Chevy has its own style, and is not simply a grille job like the martyred G8. Pontiac deserved better, with its rich design history, and so does Chevrolet.

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    Well, after the fabulous new Impala, I sincerely hope this new Zeta Chevy has its own style, and is not simply a grille job like the martyred G8. Pontiac deserved better, with its rich design history, and so does Chevrolet.

    I'll be surprised if anything other than the fascias, grille, hood, taillights will differ from the G8...otherwise it would require a bigger investment.

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    Hmmm... good news it seems.

    I wonder if the new NASCAR Chevy will be the production version of the sweet Code 130R... (Chicane?) or something else? Will the new RWD sport sedan be Zeta or Alpha based?

    This is building some good anticipation...

    Too small and not Zeta.

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    Well are we sure the next NASCAR Chevy will be a Zeta car? Or will it be Alpha? The article is not clear.

    I wish I could have seen the Code in person, I would have needed a drool bucket. I think it's in New York.

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    I think that they will want to recapture as much as possible of their existing investment, so sadly I think it will be as cubical has stated, a rebadge job. Yet I think they will spend some time on making the rebadge as individual as possible. I think most of the auto industry has learned that poorly executed badge jobs do not survive.

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    Well are we sure the next NASCAR Chevy will be a Zeta car? Or will it be Alpha? The article is not clear.

    All the rumors on this and other forums are it will be a Zeta model..and that seems the most likely give the time frame. Look at all the comments made by hyper6 and other insiders in other threads.

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    I still long for a RWD Chevelle sub brand initially based on ZETA by Chevrolet! They could do a sedan a wagon and the return of the El Camino being all of these body styles exist today for Holden! With Pontiac gone a Chevelle sub brand by Chevrolet would be a wonderful way to use the ZETA platform. Then later replace ZETA with the lighter ALPHA to continue the RWD Chevelle brand of Chevrolet!

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    Carguy, one at a time. Chevy needs a Genesis/300 fighter first. The Chevelle idea you have sounds a tad too small (car size-wise) for the job. In fact, Cadillac needs Zeta (or its successor) for its flagship too.

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    I could see Zeta be put to use as a platform for unibody trucks and crossovers. It's already been done with the Ute, and further teased with the Denali XT. Something in the vein of the original SRX would be an interesting option at any of the four GMNA brands.

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    Carguy, one at a time. Chevy needs a Genesis/300 fighter first. The Chevelle idea you have sounds a tad too small (car size-wise) for the job. In fact, Cadillac needs Zeta (or its successor) for its flagship too.

    Today's RWD ZETA Holden models in size would fit in just fine along with the future larger versions of ALPHA for the Chevelle sub Chevy brand. The Genesis and 300 models would better be competed with by a Buick then a Chevrolet anyway! Let Chevrolet do the proposed Chevelle line while Buick do the longer wheelbase version of ZETA for a new Roadmaster model to compete with the 300/Genesis. And for the new upcoming premium Cadillac GM is now working on a new more fitting RWD platform that is more premium in fitment then ZETA! ZETA should not be used by Cadillac with its strut type front suspension system when Double-A-Arms are needed for such a premium model! Edited by Carguy
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    With Cadillac, I agree completely. I also agree with pitting a RWD Buick against the 300 and Genesis (RWD Park Avenue or Roadmaster, anyone?). An Alpha-sized Chevelle does sound intriguing.

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