If the recent recession has taught automakers anything, it’s this: lean and efficient companies get by, even in difficult economic times.
In the next ten years, General Motors wants to cut the number of platforms and engines used by its divisions in half. Today, the automaker utilizes nearly 30 different platforms across its divisions, but has stated a goal of building 90 percent of its vehicles on just 14 platforms by 2018. The reduction in the number of platforms and engines used is expected to boost manufacturing efficiency by 40 percent.
Cars like the best-selling 2011 Chevy Cruze and the soon-to-be-launched 2012 Chevy Sonic are examples of global platforms and global designs. Using a global compact platform, the Cruze is built in some nine market-specific manufacturing plants around the world, while the Sonic is built on a global subcompact platform at two facilities.
Moving forward, GM has big expectations of global brand Chevrolet. The sales-leading division is expected to make up 65 percent of global sales by 2018, which is a 4-percent increase from the company’s projections last year. Cadillac, which GM is positioning as its “other” global brand, is expected to remain at just 3 percent of global sales by 2018.