Last week’s announcement of GM’s $220 million investment in its Lordstown, Ohio complex for the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze accompanied the promise of a new flexible platform. The new architecture, which GM Authority has learned carries the D2XX designation internally at General Motors, will be the successor to two existing GM platforms — Delta and Theta — thereby delivering on the automaker’s goal of cutting the amount of platforms (and engines) in half in an effort to reduce manufacturing cost and complexity. Since the announcement last week, GM Authority has learned more about the D2 platform from sources involved with the automaker’s plans.
Most Popular Car Platform
The D2 architecture is set to underpin more than 2.5 million vehicles a year by 2018, a feat that makes it the most popular platform in General Motors’ stable of car (non-truck) architectures by a wide margin. As such, GM engineers are hard at work in making the platform very flexible for the purpose of allowing it to underpin a wide variety of vehicles.
12 Nameplates And Counting
A preliminary count tells us that at least 12 namplates will be underpinned by the D2 platform, including the next-generation versions of the following vehicles:
Chevrolet & Holden
- Chevy/Holden Cruze and body style variants
- Chevy/Holden Volt
- Chevy Equinox/Holden Captiva — as reported previously
- Chevy Orlando
- Opel Astra and body style variants
- Opel Antara
Opel Zafirawill move to a joint architecture developed by Opel PSA Citroen-Peugeot
- Opel Ampera
Simplified Global Manufacturing
The new compact platform will also simplify General Motors’ operations across the board, including engineering, design, sourcing, support, and tooling — giving GM the ability to enjoy increased economies of scale on a global level. And for good measure, as D2-based vehicles will be built all over the world. Currently, the Cruze and its various derivates are built in plants in China, Russia, India, Brazil, South Korea, Thailand, and Australia — and that’s not counting the Cruze’s Opel-badged platform mates.
In addition, a common global architecture that supports cars and crossovers will finally allow The General to decrease time to market. For instance, the current-generation Cruze launched in Europe, South Korea, and Australia in 2008, but didn’t become available in the United States until the fall of 2010 as a 2011 model. This late appearance made the excellent Cruze the last to arrive in the world’s largest developed automotive market. Sources who work with GM parts suppliers already expect the new D2 platform to decrease their lead time in delivering parts and design prototypes, along with actual vehicle-bound bulk parts shipments.
The Lordstown plant is expected to commence production of the all-new 2015 Cruze in the third quarter of 2014. At about the same time, GM’s Korean operations will ramp up production for Asian markets. Platform mates are expected to follow the launch of the Cruze, and the entire D2-based model rollout is expected to be completed by 2016, according to sources.
We Also Hear…
According to an unconfirmed GM Authority source, General Motors is splitting up development of the individual vehicle projects (not the platform itself) by geographic development center. For instance, the D2XX project code signifies a European homeroom undertaking while that of D2UX refers to a vehicle in progress by GM’s U.S. operations. Currently-available project names include D2UG, D2UC, and D2UO, among others.