GM Promising New Approach on Engineering its Vehicles for Right Hand Drive


GM Promising New Approach on Engineering its Vehicles for Right Hand Drive
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The decision won’t affect American customers, but General Motors says it has changed its corporate philosophy to include the engineering of right-hand drive capabilities in certain vehicles from the beginning.

While that switch won’t help customers in places like Australia that might be candidates for the current Camaro and Silverado if they were RHD, it does offer hope in the future that such vehicles could show up some day in The Land Down Under.

As GM Global President Dan Ammann told at the Frankfurt motor show overnight:

“For a long time it [right-hand drive business cases] has been looked at on a very individual approach, which was we would develop something and then say the cost to do right-hand drive is prohibitive.

“The philosophical change is that from the outset on most major programs we are going to build in right from the beginning the capability for right-hand drive so that then entry-by-entry the decision to do it is not as expensive

“So that is a philosophical change. We are going from a piecemeal approach to a serve all markets approach.

“I think it is realization that the only way to do this the right way is to make the philosophical decision from the beginning to put the engineering enablers into the vehicles from the beginning.”

The decision comes too late to keep Holden from having an affordable V8 once the Commodore ends production in 2017. As we reported earlier this week, rumor has it that the Corvette will become the halo car for Holden with its next generation, though estimated to cost more than $100,000.

In the meantime, the Ford Mustang will apparently be left to battle it out with high-performance versions of the Dodge Charger and Challenger in the low-cost V8 market. GM CEO Mary Barra explained her company’s lack of a lower-priced RHD V8 in the Australian market by saying that the new generations of the Camaro and Silverado were approved during the tough economic times for the company in the late 2000s.

During a press conference in Frankfort, Barra said:

“Some of those decisions on our current products now were made at a point when it was difficult from a capital and investment perspective.

“But as we look at it it’s not going to be every vehicle across the portfolio but we are looking for what are the right vehicles that are going to round out the portfolios in very important countries that require right-hand drive.

“I think you will see a much more planned and very proactive view of how we do it because when you engineer a vehicle – if you know from the beginning that’s what you are going to do – it’s much easier than trying to re-engineer it.

“That is our focus. So you will see an improvement for sure.”


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