This post is first in the “Money Pit” series, where we outline some of the most stupid and unnecessary decision made by GM. Some of these choices have cost GM big bucks and have led the auto maker to file for bankruptcy protection. Please keep in mind that while we love GM, this series is meant to highlight the mistakes made by The General in hopes that such errors would not be repeated again. Let’s hope that our favorite car maker can learn from these mistakes now and in the future!
General Motors has had a global mid-size car platform for at least the last three years. It’s called Epsilon and underpins such vehicles as the Chevrolet Malibu, Opel Vectra, Saturn Aura, Pontiac G6, Saab 9-5, among others. Then why is it that the Chevrolet-badged midsize sedan sold in all of Europe has nothing to do with the Epsilon platform? That’s right – the Chevrolet Epica (also known as the Chevy/Daewoo Tosca) is not even remotely based on the world-wide Epsilon architecture. It’s underpinned by an an old Suzuki/Daewoo platform.
Now, knowing that the European buyer has slightly different preferences than an American one (more compact and nimble vehicles), it would make sense that a smaller mid-size vehicle be considered for the EU market. And that would justify the use of this unique platform that underpins the Epica… right? Nope! Here’s the kicker: the Epsilon II-based Opel Insignia is 190.2 inches (4,830 mm) long, whereas the Chevrolet Epica/Tosca is 189.2 inches (4805 mm) long! That means that the Epsilon II platform is fully capable of serving the tastes of the EU market, fair and square. Using a unique platform for the Epica/Tosca is a complete waste of money for GM. Why so?
For starters, the entire point of platform sharing is to save costs: development costs (like engineering), purchase costs (bulk parts/materials purchase), as well as manufacturing costs. In business terms, platform sharing allows a car company to take full advantage of economies of scale! By using two different platforms in a situation where only one is needed, GM is wasting money. Thus, the current generation Chevrolet Epica is a pure and simple money pit!
This is very simple! Put the Chevrolet Epica/Daewoo Tosca on the Epsilon II platform and save costs. Luckily, it looks like GM is going to take our advice!
Background Info – Epsilon II Platform
Most recently, GM has made revisions and improvements to the Epsilon platform. The updated architecture, aptly named Epsilon II, makes the platform more structurally modifiable – something that will allow GM to produce vehicles of three different lengths. In essence, the Epsilon II will be available in short wheel-base (SWB), long wheel-base (LWB), and Super designations. Here is a product roadmap for the Epsilon II platform. Please note that reports regarding the next-generation Malibu riding on the LWB Epsilon II platform are unconfirmed. As it stands right now, the 2011 Chevy Malibu will be underpinned by the SWB Epsilon II.
Epsilon 2 Platform RoadmapEpsilon 2 Platform Product Roadmap
Note that the Chevrolet Epica is also kown as Holden Epica/Daewoo Tosca/Chevrolet Tosca wordwide.
Check out the high-res photos of the Epica/Tosca after the break!