Alpha is the latest American attempt to compete with the BMW 3-series. It cost a billion bucks. But thanks to classic bureaucratic product-bloat-familiar to students of the F-111 fighter and Microsoft VISTA-the supposedly small and sporty chassis has locked in a "sub-optimal geometry" on the front suspension (which GM is reportedly trying to mask instead of fixing) and is hundreds of pounds overweight. ... There's a reason some companies go bankrupt, you know. And corporate cultures are hard to change. ...Edward Niedermeyer of The Truth About Cars adds:
Kaus adds the obligatory anti-union rant. I'll add the obligatory anti-corporate-conglomerate rant, which is, I think, a big part of the problem here.
Now, class, if you were developing a BMW 3-Series competitor, how important would the issues of weight and front suspension geometry be? Very important? Sort of important? Existentially important? Meanwhile, what about AWD? How important would that be? GMI may be reminded of the Sigma's development, but GM's history is rife with vehicles that started with a bold, simple vision, only to be re-engineered into mediocrity. A line of driver-oriented, four-cylinder-only, rear-drive small luxury cars is an intimidating step to make... but it could have been distinct, downright unique. And it would have easily handled the CAFE issue that Lutz worried about as ATS development was beginning in earnest in 2008. Heck, BMW is putting a three-banger in its next-gen Dreier... so why was Cadillac so worried about bigger engines and AWD, while glossing over the "locked-in" sub-optimal front suspension?
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