Chief Executive Mary Barra could leave a legacy for the next generations – General Motors should dramatically jump down from 26 global vehicle production platforms to just four in a little over a decade.
The first female CEO of the company sees the bold move as potentially saving billions of dollars for the US automaker – but the move is not without risks. The obvious example is VW AG’s struggles with its MQB modular platform – which according to many reports actually brings losses, not cost cuts to the Germans.
The radical change is “incredibly disruptive, expensive and painful,” said Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas, and hinges on “a well-oiled machine, culturally, managerially and financially.”
Barra’s strategy sees General Motors relying in 2025 only on our highly flexible and scalable “vehicle sets”: one for front-wheel drive cars, one for rear-drive models, one for SUV’s and crossovers and the last for the trucks.
“You are not going to get from a large rear-wheel-drive Cadillac to a Volt, crossovers, large SUVs and full-size pickups with four architectures/platforms/component groups, call them what you will,” thinks a former GM executive.
On the other hand, the trend is for such so-called mega-platforms, and according to IHS three of them – one each for VW, Toyota and Renault-Nissan – would see around 20 million autos in 2020, or about 20% of the global vehicle production output.