Cleveland, Ohio – General Motors and Honda plan co-develop cars and trucks in North America, sharing the design and engineering costs of new vehicles and potentially building Hondas in Chevy plants and vice versa.
The partnership agreement expands on a deal reached in April for Honda to sell two electric vehicles (EVs) designed and built by GM. The automakers have collaborated in the past on hydrogen fuel cells and autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies, but the scope of the new agreement is far more encompassing.
In some vehicle segments, the automakers will share platforms – the underlying architecture that can underpin both a Honda Accord sedan and a CR-V crossover – for EVs and traditional gasoline-powered cars and trucks. Co-development talks have already begun with engineering sharing set to start early next year.
“This alliance will help both companies accelerate investment in future mobility innovation by freeing up additional resources. Given our strong track record of collaboration, the companies would realize significant synergies in the development of today’s vehicle portfolio,” said GM President Mark.
Car companies have long partnered with their competitors to develop new products. The engineering and development costs of a standard, traditional car can cost more than $1 billion, and plant and equipment costs tend to be even higher.
- GM partnered with Toyota in Fremont, California, between 1984 and 2009 at the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant that built the Toyota Corolla and Pontiac Vibe on the same assembly lines. GM pulled out of that JV in 2009 during the Great Recession, and Toyota closed the plant the following year. Tesla bought the plant late that year, and it is now how to the Model 3.
- Ford partnered with Nissan to develop and build the Mercury Villager and Nissan Quest minivans in Ohio. From 1993 to 2002, the companies co-produced and co-developed those vehicles.
- Mazda is working with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) sharing the basic mechanical designs of the MX-5 Miata for the Fiat 124 Spider coupe.
- GM partnered Ford to develop 9-speed and 10-speed transmissions for trucks, SUVs, and some cars.
Seiji Kuraishi, executive vice president of Honda Motor Co., says the GM deal should substantially lower costs in North America, freeing up cash to invest in EVs, AVs, and other future vehicles.
“Combining the strengths of each company, and by carefully determining what we will do on our own and what we will do in collaboration, we will strive to build a win-win relationship to create new value for our customers,” Kuraishi said.
The companies expect cost savings to come from shared vehicle platforms and propulsion systems, joint purchasing, potential manufacturing efficiencies, and other collaboration efforts.
All facets of the alliance will be governed by a joint committee, comprising senior executives from both companies.
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and Today's eMobility and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 20 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.