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Is GM’s Rear-Wheel Drive Zeta Platform On Its Way Out?

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VE Commodore production line at Holden plant

VE Commodore production line at Holden plant

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Currently there are just two vehicles based on GM’s rear-wheel drive Zeta platform, which was originally developed in Australia by Holden for the VE Commodore (and its long-wheelbase variants) launched back in 2006. The two vehicles include the original VE Commodore, which is soon to be upgraded to the VF series and sold in the U.S. as the new 2014 Chevrolet SS, as well as the Camaro muscle car.

With the Commodore’s upgrade to VF guise, the Zeta platform will be made significantly more environmentally friendly, mainly through extensive weight saving. However, once the VF Commodore has run its course, expected to be in 2016 or 2017, it’s likely the Zeta platform will be abandoned.

In line with GM’s plans to slash the number of platforms it uses around the world, a strategy that almost every major automaker is implementing, Holden will be switching to “global” platforms for its future production. Currently, Holden builds the Zeta-based Commodore as well as a version of the Delta II-based Chevy Cruze.

Speaking with Australian media this week, Holden boss Mike Devereux reaffirmed plans to build cars on two global platforms going into the future, one of which will be the D2XX platform that will underpin the next-generation Chevy Cruze. The other platform is yet to be locked in, though we can confirm it won’t be the Zeta platform.

“We’re gonna use a global architecture and the Zeta is not a global architecture,” Devereux told Car Sales.

This other platform Devereux is referring to will be used for a future version of the Commodore, though the final form of the car, including its size and whether it goes front-wheel or all-wheel drive, is yet to be decided on.

Without the Commodore, the only Zeta-based car left is the Camaro. However, it’s almost certain the next-generation of the Camaro will ditch the Zeta platform in favor of the lighter and much more modern Alpha platform. It’s likely the next-generation Commodore will do the same, being reborn as a slightly smaller sedan--but with its rear-wheel drive dynamics intact.
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