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Alpha intro slated for late-2010

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IL Exclusive: GM's Project Alpha Takes Shape
Link to Original Article @ Edmunds


DETROIT — General Motors' plan for a new family of midsize, rear-wheel-drive cars is beginning to take shape, with the lead vehicle — an RWD successor to the Pontiac G6 — penciled in for a late 2010 intro, Inside Line has learned.

The platform, called Alpha, also will underpin several other models in North America and Europe, beginning in model-year 2011, according to GM suppliers. Alpha reportedly has been designed to use bits of the Kappa platform on which the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky are based.

Replacements for the front-wheel-drive Cadillac BLS sedan and wagon, based on the rear-drive Alpha architecture, are due in early 2011. At that time, the car may be introduced in North America, where it would be slotted below the CTS in size and price, with stickers starting in the high $20,000s.

In model-year 2012, Saturn is slated to get an Alpha-based sedan, which may supplement rather than replace the front-wheel-drive Aura. The RWD Saturn four-door body will be shared with Opel and Holden, GM insiders tell IL.

However, GM still has significant plans for several of its existing front-wheel-drive midsize sedans. The old W-body platform (also known internally as MS2000) is being phased out after 2010. A successor to the W-body Buick LaCrosse, rebadged as the Regal, will shift to the Epsilon 2 platform in early 2009, followed by a redesigned Aura in late 2009. The new Epsilon-based Regal, according to IL sources, will be built and sold in both North America and China, with virtually identical sheet metal.

The Malibu gets a significant redesign this fall but isn't scheduled to move to the Epsilon 2 architecture until late 2010. About the time the last of the old W-body models — the Chevrolet Impala (rebadged as the Impala Classic) — is put out to pasture, Chevrolet may create a long-wheelbase, six-passenger companion to the Epsilon-based Malibu, to serve customers and fleets who prefer front-wheel drive and may shy away from the new RWD Impala that's coming in mid-2010. Chevy reportedly would pit this large FWD four-door against the Ford Taurus (née Five Hundred).

In Europe, replacements for the Saab 9-5 and 9-3 will shift to Epsilon 2, in mid-2009 and mid-2010, respectively. Opel and Daewoo also will have future products based on the same architecture.

What this means to you: GM still intends to offer a smorgasbord of sedans, in both front- and rear-wheel drive, in the midsize segment.

Regardless of whether any of these plans actually happen (nothing's written in stone in this business), it's clear that GM's push to globalize its platforms is on track.
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This is the best news to start the month of June, assuming it is correct.

Apparently seems like GM has been eyeing our forums about making G6 RWD instead of EPII.

Saturn??? May be bump up the Sky along with a small sedan into a global RWD and get rid of the Kappa in 2011?

If Saturn gets one, Chevy dealers will also whore for one. Make a Chevy Nomad and the new HHR on this platform and Chevy will have a good niche there.

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The Saturn Alpha should be a coupe/convertible. A sedan at this point would be superfluous. Can't argue with anything else here. Things are looking up.

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Wow... That was interesting.. GM is doing what it once did. It has a mix of both RWD and FWD cars. They are not so one side or heavy on one side and light on the other. I see global GM in action here. Everyone gets a share. If it takes sharing architectures to do it, then so be it. GM did this back in the day.

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That's interesting that Saturn will get a version....so what does this large FWD Chevy mean for Impala moving to Zeta? So, in other words, has the stopgap G6 Epsilon II been cancelled?

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This borders on schizophrenic!

LaCrosse becomes Regal

Saturn gets an Aura competitor

Malibu stays on Epsilon 1 but will get an EL wheelbase to please former Impala owners and hopefully stick a fork in Ford instead of aiming for Honda.

Alpha is getting design bits from the Kappas... which took their transmissions, rear diffs, and rear suspension from the Sigma and engines from Delta.

The only parts that make sense are G6 and BLS on Alpha and the Saabs on EpII.

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This is the type of stuff GM was talking about when they mentioned leveraging internal synergies. If they don't waste money on bunch of different midsize FWD architectures globally, they can afford one FWD and one RWD. Good to see that not only the idea is there, but it is starting to make its way into practice.

As for Saturn, I'm trying to figure that out myself. I'm sure it has something to do with competing with Euro/Asian competitors, but what?

And sorry, but the HHR should stay put where it is, I would guess this structure would be too expensive for such a car. In terms of Chevy application, what would be interesting would be to see a Cobalt on the next Delta and a Cobalt SS on Alpha. One model line, 2 platforms...sort of like the Sebring sedan and coupe of old.

Edited by Windy-57
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I'm glad the small RWD platform is taking shape. A RWD vehicle doesn't always have to be a gas hog.

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I hope this news will prove to many GM is doing a lot better in product planning than they give them credit for.

I like a good mix of FWD and RWD as it will make them viable in any market and they can load up on what ever is selling in that market.

I really like what I see of GM finally becoming the a true global player vs a Global company with many different companies in different markets.

The net results are we will get the cars we always wanted that were avalable else where because the US market was too small. Now we all can share in the best of GM no matter what market we are in.

The only thing that is sad is it will take time as money has to be budgeted and lines need to be fully developed.

Small RWD will give GM something Japan jusre really does not offer. At least yet in large numbers.

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This rumor borders on stupidity. Saturn does not need a RWD car other than the Sky. That's what makes it stand out as Saturn's halo! Next, there'll be a Zeta Saturn, and Saab and Buick'll be dead, and Chevy will be pissed! What with the BLS coming, it's high time GM sells SAAB to BMW cuz they've killed their own market.

I am genuinely excited about Alpha, but when lines blur, it's hard for GM to do good business. I think it would be smart for this to happen w/ the CARS... 4get the trucks:

Saturn:All FWD except Sky and shooting break derivative

Chevy: FWD: Aveo, Cobalt, HHR, Malibu

RWD:Cobalt SS (smart idea on alpha!) Nomad, Camaro, Impala, 'Vette

Pontiac:All RWD. Kill G5... Replace w/Alpha G4, EWB Alpha G6, Solstice and coupe derivative, GTO, G8

Cadillac: All RWD/AWD. Alpha BLS, One Day Sigma replacement CTS and derivatives, Zeta STS-DTS merge, EWB Zeta ULS and XLR

Buick, Hummer, and SAAB can all be absorbed/killed by this structure, no? Keep GMC to keep BPG dealers alive. But trim the crap!

This allows Chevy to bridge the gap between value, fuel minded Saturns and rip roaring RWD Pontiacs.

This also allows Pontiac to bridge the price gap between Cheap and Luxurious, and Pontiac can actually inject some luxury and sport into their cars w/o Buick in the way, somewhat like a bargain BMW.

Sorry for the tangent/rant, but this got me stirred up! :rolleyes:

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That's cool that the LaCrosse will be renamed Regal, I like that name better. The Saturn news surprises me though!

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I hope this news will prove to many GM is doing a lot better in product planning than they give them credit for.

I know I have been harping on this subject matter endlessly. It's this kind of fast action, out of the box thinking that I want to see from such a huge company as GM is, that has so many platforms to leverage. The kind of action that is coming out of Holden with thier one platform [the old VZ, and the new VE], where you get like 5 different bodystyles across one platfrom. This is what will save the brands and create truly unique identities.

It's okay to create a similar car off of a platform, just so long as the concept is unique. Look at VW and all the cars it is able to base off of one platform.

This article gives me hope. Though my usual next thought might be why did it take so long for them to figure this out, I understand the business case for such an unprecedented car such as a midsize RWD car would be quite an undertaking, but for everyone here to know I have been making the case for a RWD G6-like car for at least 5 years now. Finally, they are responding. It's a sense of exhalation that is endless. This car makes so much sense on so many levels, especially given GM's huge presence in the FWD category. Just imagine, BMW sells about 90k RWD 3-series in a year, at much higher price levels. This car could be huge.

Just remember the most important thing to getting consumers in the showroom in the first place, enticing design!!!!!!! There are too many cars out there to compete with, and not enough crossovers and SUVs, that's why they do so well, but on the car side there are plenty of companies out there to compete with. Make em unbelieveable good and beautiful or don't make them at all!!!

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It all seems like old news to me, but that's only because we having been preaching this here at C&G for so long. :AH-HA_wink:

Great to see this story in print.

Here's to the future! :cheers:

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YES the Regal is back. I've never owned a Regal or Century but I've hated the LaCrosse name since its inception. Plus its pretty hard on the eyes.

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Alpha is not that early and a lot of the information is not totally accurate.

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It's too far away, anything can happen by then. Look at old 'future cars' articles and get some good laughs.

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It's too far away, anything can happen by then. Look at old 'future cars' articles and get some good laughs.

That's what I was thinking of...
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Not sure I believe the Saturn part, but I am ever hopeful for Pontiac. This platform, underpinning a coupe, convertible and sedan from Pontiac would be such a welcome change. The one thing I ask is for brand-specific styling.
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Not sure I believe the Saturn part, but I am ever hopeful for Pontiac. This platform, underpinning a coupe, convertible and sedan from Pontiac would be such a welcome change. The one thing I ask is for brand-specific styling.

Can we add an NG Cadillac BLS/BTS to that, so we Europeans get to have some fun too? :smilewide:
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I think most of us here this post is not word for word accurtate as GM does not open the books for all to see.

But when there is smoke there is fire. So with that understanding there is something going on and we have to wait to see what it is.

To be honest GM for the most part may not have all of this nailed down either.

The key here is it may give us some idea where they are going and just have to wait for the deails.

The Alpha has been spoken of for a while so there must be some kind of a work in progress going on. Before we start to argue models and who gets what lets just wait till we really know what each division is getting.

Hell the Camaro is not 100% nailed down yet as there is still work going on there.

Sit back grab a beverage and lets watch what happens.

Edited by hyperv6
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I think most of us here this post is not word for word accurtate as GM does not open the books for all to see.

But when there is smoke there is fire. So with that understanding there is someting going on and we have to wait to see what it is.

To be honest GM for the most part may not have all of this nailed down either.

The key here is it may give us some idea where they are going and just have to wait for the deails.

The Alpha has been spoken of for a while so there must be some kind of a work in progress going on. Before we start to argue models and who gets what lets just wait till we really know what each division is getting.

Hell the Camaro is not 100% nailed down yet as there is still work going on there.

Sit back grab a beverage and lest watch what happens.

Well put. Lately, GM has gotten pretty good at generating buzz without giving away the farm.

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Well, I hope the Alpha underpins the G4 or G5 rather than the G6. What Pontiac needs is a compact RWD of modest weight. The G6 is not compact and it is not of modest weight even in the current FWD trim. A RWD G6 of similar dimensions is unlikely to be lighter. In fact, holding the weight constant at ~3600 lbs will be a challenge for GM which is not very good at dieting. The average RWD car of the same size from the same manufacturer tends to be about 100~150 lbs heavier. Pontiac already as a mid size RWD -- its called the G8. And at 3900~4000 lbs and with 6 liter V8 power it covers the segment of buyers which wants a larger car with the muscle and handling to be entertaining. A 3600 lbs car is simply to close to that to warrant a new platform. I think they should trim the platform down in size and weight to make it suitable for a Cobalt/G5 sized car in the 3000~3200 lbs weight class. That is the right starting point from which they can build a E36 3-series equivalent. With today's engine technology a 260hp 2.0 liter LNF Ecotec is enough to endow it with E36 (1992~1998) M3 class performance, whereas the 1.8 liter 140 hp ecotec can be the economical base engine. The car doesn't even need to offer a V6, although a the 6L50 6A transmission will be nice. Its a potent combination which will have the entire segment to itself. It will also be VERY salable in foreign markets, especially Europe.

Edited by dwightlooi
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