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Global GM chassis starts testing

Published: 10 August 2006

General Motors' new Epsilon II chassis – to be employed around the world by Vauxhall/Opel, Saab, Chevrolet and other brands – has hit the road for testing.

Pictured here beneath the next Chevrolet Malibu, the modular front- and all-wheel drive architecture will also underpin the Vauxhall Vectra and Saab's new 9-3 and 9-5. GM is grouping its core models to save cash, and harmonising production processes so that plants can churn out multiple models according to demand. But that doesn't mean a Saab and a Chevy will be indistinguishable. 'Modular component sets allow us to create vehicles to suit different brand values, from the cost conscious to the dynamic. There may be more than one suspension set up, different steering racks, and three levels of electronics,' GM Europe boss Carl-Peter Forster has told CAR Online. Saab, for example, will get the plushest Epsilon components, with a double wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear axle biased towards sporty ride and handling. Adaptive damping will be offered, too. The platform supports four- and six-cylinder engines, including a new V6 common rail diesel that's under development, mounted across the nose. And it's bigger than today's Epsilon platform. Our sources say that the Malibu's wheelbase measures over 2800mm, boosting interior space.

By Phil McNamara

Editor-in-chief of CAR magazine

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