Despite concerns over the survivability of development plans for a new range of rear-drive models from General Motors, the midsized Alpha project is reported to be well underway with the first model due by the end of the decade. Alpha is the name of GM’s midsized RWD platform, a global architecture that will spawn several new cars across North America and Europe. According to GM’s suppliers, Alpha shares much in common with the Kappa platform on which cars like the Pontiac Solstice are based.

The first model to be released based on Alpha running gear will be a RWD Pontiac G6 due by late 2010. This will be followed in 2011 by a replacement for the FWD Cadillac BLS sedan and wagon currently sold in Europe. The next-gen BLS is also expected to be sold in the US for the first time, with pricing starting around the high $20,000 mark.

GM’s more affordable brands will also get their own Alpha-based models, including the Saturn label, which could sell a new Alpha sedan alongside the FWD Aura. This new model will share its underpinnings with several other vehicles from GM subsidiaries Opel and Holden, according to information sourced from GM insiders who spoke recently with Inside Line.

Several important FWD models will also be getting a revamp. The replacement for the Buick LaCrosse will be built off GM’s Epsilon 2 platform and is due in 2009. This will be joined by the next-gen Aura and a new Malibu sedan in late 2010. In the meantime, GM will be phasing out its W-body based models such as the current LaCrosse and Impala, and may replace the latter with a large FWD four-door for its Chevrolet brand until the all-new RWD Impala arrives in 2010.