With the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to France’s PSA Groupe, General Motors certainly lost a foothold in the right-hand drive development department. Specifically, Vauxhall has long been a source of engineering expertise for right-hand drive programs, since the British refuse to accept they’re placing the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car.
However, it’s likely not what it’s cracked up to be. GM is finally thinking, acting and portraying itself as a global automaker. This is apparent in products we’re already seeing today.
Take the C1XX platform, or Chi. This architecture was designed from the ground up to support right-hand drive applications. This is good news, because the 2017 GMC Acadia will soon head to Australia as the Holden Acadia, another country that has their steering wheels sewn on the opposite side. And D2XX, too. The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox, Cruze and others will all be able to handle right-hand drive.
The latest news, though, means GM is getting serious about competing globally with its more premium offerings. Last week, a report broke stating the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro would be heading to Australia, due around 2020. If this report rings true, it means the Alpha platform is on deck next to support RHD.
And with economies of scale in mind, the Camaro will certainly not be the only car in GM’s portfolio to support such an engineering development. It more than likely means GM has engineered A2XX, Alpha’s successor, with RHD in mind. What does this mean? Cadillac can finally get serious about playing in other premium markets.
The timing lines up, too. Cadillac has long been saying it will carry out a proper, full-scale assault on the European market when the time comes, likely around 2020, just when A2XX cars will be rolling off the assembly lines. The Cadillac ATS and CTS will switch to the CT nomenclature and prepare for battle in the heavily armed arena that is the European market.
Ditto for Australia, too. Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen concluded Oz was indeed a part of the brand’s global future, just not until it has its volumes together in the U.S. and China. And, most importantly, it has the right product mix to be relevant. AKA, when it has right-hand drive vehicles to offer.
And with Opel-Vauxhall shed from GM’s once glorious volume of global brands, it opens the door for Holden to hold a prominent seat at the development table for future, RHD products.
GM once upon a time proclaimed “No one sweats the details like GM.” The engineering and development wing sure must be perspiring.