When GM was developing the Cadillac ATS, the American automaker faced a predicament: build the luxury sedan on an existing, front-wheel drive Delta platform, or build an entirely new rear-wheel drive architecture.
Now named the North American Car of the Year, it’s clear that GM made the right choice on building an entirely new rear-wheel drive “Alpha” platform for the ATS. But that almost never happened; in fact, a test mule was built on the Delta platform and was even being tested until Cadillac decided that a newly-built rear-wheel drive architecture was the way to go in order to compete with the German automakers such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
The existing Delta platform, which underpins the Chevrolet Cruze, Volt, and the Buick Verano, was a viable option in order to save cash. But without the proper weight balance and a light rear-wheel drive architecture, the American automaker ultimately decided that an investment was needed. And obviously the investment has paid off, with the Alpha platform also underpinning the newly-introduced Cadillac CTS. It will also be used on the next-generation Camaro due out in 2015.
“We were going to do a front-wheel-drive Cadillac compact off of Delta because it was going to be less expensive,” Doug Parks, GM’s vice president of global product programs, told me at the Detroit auto show in January. “There were people in the organization saying, ‘It’ll be OK. We can dial it in.'”
[Source: Automotive News]
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