After months of promising work to see if the shared compact car platform being developed for theGroup and Motors Corp. can be stretched to include midsize cars, the final decision is within sight.
“We're pretty close,”Chief Operating Officer Wolfgang Bernhard tells Ward's. “It looks very good.”
The plan was for one shared platform for C-segment cars (Dodge Neon andLancer) and a second shared platform for the larger D segment (Dodge Stratus/Chrysler Sebring and Mitsubishi Galant/Eclipse). If combined, it would create four distinct platforms and nine models.
“What we're looking for is whether there are opportunities to use the same (C-segment) architecture,” says Bernhard. It would be a front-wheel-drive, east/west engine layout, he says, to accommodate a V-6 for the larger cars, in addition to the inline 4-cyl. slated for the smaller cars.
Stretching the platform “means the front structure basically stays the same but you increase the rails to get the V-6 in there, and then putting a lot more space in the middle section of the vehicle, so you can get a bigger vehicle out of it,” says Bernhard.
Mitsubishi CEO Rolf Eckrodt confirms the project and says the Japanese brand would use the I-4 for smaller cars and the V-6 for midsize cars. He says Mitsubishi is considering a continuously variable transmission for the C-segment cars, but not yet for the D-segment.
DC Chairman Juergen Schrempp has put the numbers at 500,000 units for the C segment and 550,000 for the D segment.