GM Zeta platform
|GM Zeta platform|
|Also called||Global RWD Architecture|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style(s)||2-door coupe
2-door coupé utility
5-door Station wagon
|Predecessor||GM B platform ( for the 4th generation Caprice for the police in North America)
GM V platform (RWD)
GM F platform (for the Chevrolet Camaro)
|Successor||GM Alpha platform (for the Chevrolet Camaro)|
Zeta was the original name for General Motors' full-size rear-wheel drive automobile platform developed by GM's Australian subsidiary company Holden and was most recently referred to as the "Global RWD Architecture". The GM Zeta replaced the V-body, and debuted with 2006 Holden Commodore (VE) sedan and utility. This platform was considered as the replacement for the North American W, H, and K platforms until plans were cancelled due to fuel-economy considerations and GM's financial situation. Although the future of the Zeta program was in doubt at that time, in May 2009, Holden began the development of an improved second version of the platform that went on to form the basis of the 2013 Commodore (VF) and Chevrolet SS.
The fifth generation Chevrolet Camaro was the only Zeta platform model produced in North America. All other Zeta platform vehicles have been manufactured in Australia by Holden.
Australian manufactured models include the long-wheelbase Holden WM Statesman/Caprice sedan and the high performance range produced by Holden Special Vehicles. On export markets, Holden-based models included the:
- short-wheelbase Commodore (VE)-based Pontiac G8 and the Commodore (VF)-based Chevrolet SS (for North America)
- full HSV range (for New Zealand and Singapore), the HSV-based Vauxhall VXR8 (for the United Kingdom) and Chevrolet Specialised Vehicles (CSV) E-series (for the Middle East)
- the long-wheelbase Chevrolet Caprice PPV and the Buick Park Avenue (the latter exported to China as a Complete knock down (CKD) kit).
In December 2013, Holden announced that it will cease its local production by 2017 and, with it, the production of the GM Zeta platform, with a buy-out plan revealed by Belgian automotive entrepreneur, Guido Dumarey, in December 2015.
Development was started in late 1999 by Holden to replace the aging V-body platform underpinning the third generation Commodore that debuted in 1997, after Opel announced that its Omega (on which the Commodore was based) would be discontinued. Principal development on the VE Commodore was completed by July 2004 at a cost approaching A$1 billion and the first testing mules underwent trials later that year. General Motors global corporate headquarters was impressed by the VE design and began studies on using the underlying architecture (internally christened Zeta by GM engineers) for a range of future products on a global scale. After the cancellation of the plan due to the global financial crisis, the idea of Zeta as a global rear drive platform was revived with plans for the fifth generation Chevrolet Camaro of 2010.
The Zeta architecture was designed for great flexibility and could accommodate a wide variety of automotive features such as wheelbase length, ride height, windshield rake and roof line. Zeta's suspension system was all wheel independent and utilizes a MacPherson strut coupled with a dual ball joint lower A-arm for the front and a four link independent setup for the rear wheels. The engine was mounted slightly behind the front axle giving improved weight distribution.
In May 2009, Holden began the re-engineering of the Zeta platform to create a lighter, stronger, better handling and more fuel efficient version. The improved second version of the platform formed the basis of the 2013 Commodore (VF), which also spawned the 2013 Chevrolet SS that GM announced in May 2012 for the US market. This Chevrolet made its debut at the 2013 Daytona Shootout. The Holden VF Commodore, on which the Chevrolet SS is based, went on sale the same day in Australia.
End of production
In December 2013, Holden announced the end, at the Elizabeth plant in South Australia by the end of 2017 and, with it, that of the Zeta platform. Sigma-based vehicles that shared design engineering with Zeta transitioned to the Alpha platform, which used Zeta as its basis. In particular, the new-age Chevrolet Camaro transitioned to the Alpha platform in November 2015, with the launch of the 2016 sixth generation model.
In December 2015, Belgian entrepreneur Guido Dumarey revealed plans under his "Project Enrich" to buy the Holden manufacturing plant, with a view to continue producing a rebadged Zeta platform-based on rear and all-wheel drive premium vehicles for local and international markets. Negotiations surrounding the plan were scheduled to take place in 2016. Australian-made V6-powered Zeta vehicles already use automatic transmissions made by Dumarey's company, Punch Powerglide.
The vehicles that have used the Zeta platform include:
- 2006-2013 Holden VE Commodore / 2007-2012 Bitter Vero Sport / 2006-2013 HSV E Series / 2007-2013 Vauxhall VXR8 and CSV equivalents / 2007-2011 Chevrolet Lumina / 2008-2009 Pontiac G8 / 2006 (2010) Chevrolet Omega
- 2006-2013 Holden WM Statesman/Caprice 2014–Present Holden WN Caprice/2007-2012 Bitter Vero/ 2007-Present Chevrolet Caprice / 2008-2010 Daewoo Veritas / 2007-2012 Buick Park Avenue / 2006-2013 HSV E-Series Grange/ 2014–Present HSV F-Series Grange
- 2007–present Holden Ute
- 2008 Holden Coupe 60 concept car
- 2010–2015 Chevrolet Camaro
- 2011–2017 Chevrolet Caprice PPV police vehicle
- 2013–2017 Holden VF Commodore / Chevrolet SS / HSV F Series.
- "Camaro tops GM's rwd list; Buick Velite concept, Pontiac GTO and Impala also possibilities". AutoWeek. Retrieved January 16, 2006.
- "Moving Up? Impala goes back to rwd in '09". AutoWeek. Retrieved November 14, 2006.
- "GM to Build New Car Based on Zeta Platform". Detroit Free Press (via Automotive Blogs). Retrieved December 10, 2006.
- "It's official: Pontiac GTO will return!". Leftlanenews.
- "Holden cutbacks: Holden cuts design and engineering jobs as GM abandons global RWD projects" (PDF). GoAutoNews Issue 449. 2008-09-03.
- "Exclusive: Dumarey confirms bid for Commodore and Elizabeth". Motoring.com.au. 21 December 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.