in Business Design

GM’s enterprise product development

Bob Lutz explains plans to centralize their design and engineering budget and what that means for building automobiles worldwide…

We expect a reduction in our architecture count over time of 50% as we introduce more converged architectures replacing the regional architectures we have today… For example, as we develop our new global mid-size architecture, which will replace such vehicles as the Opel Vectra, Chevy Malibu, Pontiac G6 and Saab 9-3, we’ll realize significant savings as a result of this new system. We’ll move from three closely related regional architectures to one global architecture serving nine different models in all four of our regions. We expect a 40% reduction in our prototype builds, a 20% reduction in material costs as a result of the common components, and 25% reductions in both engineering costs and overall investment. That one program alone could save us more than $1 billion over the course of its lifecycle.

Having just drove an Opel Meriva in Italy, a mini minivan not available here in the U.S., I can see the wisdom in leveraging great architectures worldwide. But we’ll have to see if a Saab is still a Saab when it has a Chevy chassis.