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Old 03-12-2013, 03:31 PM   #1
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Thumbs up GM CEO orders 15% diet for new models by 2016

This can't be but good news for the weight of the 6th gen Camaro.

Via Autonews

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When General Motors CEO Dan Akerson vowed last week to cut the weight of new models 15 percent by the 2016 model year, he put his engineers on a rigorous schedule.

Is it doable? Yes, but it's a stretch, says one knowledgeable industry consultant.

"It will be a big effort," said Richard Schultz, managing director of Ducker Worldwide in suburban Detroit, an adviser on mass reduction to GM and other automakers. "That's a lot of work, and GM doesn't have a lot of time."

For instance, GM would have to shed about 600 pounds from a V-6-powered large sedan such as the Buick LaCrosse, which weighs 4,045 pounds.

Engineers could save as much as 200 pounds by substituting a four-cylinder engine for the V-6. The rest would come from lightweight materials.

Schultz said GM will avoid large amounts of carbon fiber reinforced plastic, and it is unlikely to introduce an aluminum-bodied car, as Audi and Jaguar have done.

Instead, GM will use:

• More high-strength steel for the body-in-white.

• Magnesium for selected parts such as transmission cases.

• More aluminum for doors, decklids, hoods and structural parts.

Like other CEOs, Akerson doubtless feels a sense of urgency to meet federal corporate average fuel economy standards, which rise to 35.5 mpg by the 2016 model year.

In his Houston speech last week, Akerson hinted at GM's intention to use more aluminum and high-strength steel.

GM has begun using spot welding to attach aluminum to the body-in-white, saving money and weight by eliminating rivets, which can add as much as two pounds to a car's weight.

The new spot welding system disrupts the oxide on the surface of an aluminum component, ensuring a stronger weld than before. That, in turn, eliminates the need for rivets, GM says.

GM offered a glimpse of the technology's potential with the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, company spokesman Dan Flores said.

Spot welding "allows engineers to look for more innovative ways to use aluminum beyond traditional uses" such as hoods, decklids and doors, Flores said.

Translation: Look for GM to use a lot more aluminum in structural components in the body-in-white.

GM also hopes to save money by introducing a high-strength steel that is under development. Last year, GM said it had invested in NanoSteel Co. of Providence, R.I., which has developed a nano-structured steel alloy.

Automakers like high-strength steel because they can make parts thinner, saving weight. But typically, steel alloys must be hot-stamped, which raises manufacturing costs.

NanoSteel is developing a high-strength steel that would be cold-stamped, at less cost.

"If it's cheaper, you can use more of it," Flores said. "It's still in trial, but that's where we think the competitive advantage is."

While GM is investing in aluminum and high-strength steel, one might argue that the company is still hedging its bets.

Take the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pickup, which goes on sale this spring. GM says it cut 59 pounds by using an aluminum hood, front control arms and steering knuckles. It also used high-strength steel for two-thirds of the cab structure.

But GM could have saved more weight by introducing an aluminum cargo box, cab or bumpers. Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, has noted that fuel-conscious buyers can opt for the Chevrolet Colorado compact pickup.

But Schultz speculates that GM will work harder to cut the weight of its next-generation Silverado. "Why spend the extra money until you have to?" Schultz asks.

What about more exotic materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastic? The Corvette features a carbon fiber hood, but this material is still too expensive for mass-market vehicles.

To cut cost, GM formed a partnership in 2011 with Teijin Ltd., a Japanese producer of carbon fiber. The company has opened a technical center in suburban Detroit to develop a cheaper way to manufacture carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic.

Carbon fiber weighs one-fourth as much as conventional steel and is 10 times stronger. But it takes a long time for the resin to set in the mold.

Teijin is trying to reduce the cycle time required to produce carbon fiber parts to less than a minute. But that technology isn't ready, Flores said.

Because carbon fiber is not ready for prime time, that leaves aluminum and high-strength steel as the materials of choice -- especially for a vehicle's front end.

Look for engineers to use more aluminum hoods, bumpers, suspension components and possibly engine cradles.

But GM "is not going to use any technology that they are not already comfortable with," Schultz said. "Everything is happening just a little bit faster, but it's something they know how to do."
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:50 PM   #2
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Maybe we can get an affordable stripped down/light-weight drag-car from the factory now, after all...lol
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:04 PM   #3
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I wonder if that 15% is a fleet number....

The Zeta to Alpha platform weight difference isn't even 15% for the V6 models (it's more like 10%)...wow, that's ambitious!

I didn't see it explicitly mentioned in the article - GM just co-developed (I think it was a co-development) a new way to produce carbon fiber body panels for about half the cost as in the past...the only downside to this is that you can't see the fibers, because it's made much the same as fiberglass is blown onto a mold. A clear-coat would just reveal an ugly of stringy-things. But it's strong, and light!!
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:59 PM   #4
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It sounds good, but I'd be shocked if they could meet that goal.

Do I think they should start producing midsize cars and sedans in the 3,200 to 3,500 lb range like other makers??? Heck Yes!! (the new Nissan Altima weighs a feathery 3,1xx lbs)

But going from one generation to the next...say for instance the Camaro. Do I think they can take the current 3,800 lb Camaro and take its weight to 3,250 lbs (15%) without changing the size of the car? Doubtful.

Unless they have another, ultra-light weight chasis they haven't yet unveiled that is lighter than Alpha, I don't see it happening. Just take a look at the ATS weights...and that thing is pretty light when you really compare. V6 Camaro is a good 300+ lbs more:

2.5L RWD / Auto – (3315/ 1503)
2.0 Turbo RWD / Auto – (3373/ 1530)
2.0 Turbo RWD / Man – (3403/ 1543)
2.0 Turbo AWD / Auto – (3543 / 1607)
3.6L RWD / Auto – (3461/ 1570)
3.6L AWD / Auto – (3629/ 1646)

Now, I'm sure the caddy is filled with more tech, and possibly other stuff like more sound dampening material and what not, so I'm bettering a respective T4 or V6 camaro on Alpha can weigh a tad less than this, but another couple hundred lbs??

Show us what you've got GM.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:16 PM   #5
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This makes me happy. Weight is going to be a big player in the future of the auto industry.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:59 PM   #6
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This frightens me to the point the hairs stood up on my neck. I see a lot of blather about needing to comply with CAFE and the other car companies are also feeling pressure to do the same.

Remember when the car company CEOs would go to washington and FIGHT against these onerous regulations?

Those were the days.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:08 PM   #7
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Maybe the 15% in weight reduction is for the total fleet not individual models? Kind of like the CAFE standards are.
Could probably shave a few Suburban pounds fairly easily.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:08 AM   #8
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That's a very ambitious goal in a short timeframe. Considering that a few MY 2016 cars are already in development.

There would need to be some kind of fundamental shift in materials or content on newer cars. Because even with all the advances of the C7 it's not likely to be any lighter than the C6. Higher grade content made from higher quality materials add weight. And that trend isn't changing.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:12 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by 90503 View Post
Sounds like the CEO is perhaps voluntarily go above and beyond what's required...dunno...

...I sort of remember Detroit fighting emissions standards and what-not back in the day...as the foreign competition was embracing it and getting a leg-up...
I bet you a week's pay it is something more akin to this:

"Say, that's a nice lookin' corporation ya gots there.... it would be a shame if sumptin' waz ta happen to it!"

Magnesium costs about 50% more than Aluminum. I just don't want to have to hear a lot of complaints when people get sticker shock. It also kinda can catch fire and burn up an entire car. They make fireworks out of that nifty metal.
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:01 AM   #10
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I bet you a week's pay it is something more akin to this:

"Say, that's a nice lookin' corporation ya gots there.... it would be a shame if sumptin' waz ta happen to it!"
It may have already happened.

I'd be curious to know what Akerson based his target on. He's not an engineer, is he? I wonder if knowledgeable advisers suggested this was doable and practical, or if like CAFE, it was a case of "if we arbitrarily mandate it, it will just magically happen" thinking.

These guys aren't just making up rules anymore, now they've infiltrated into the companies themselves.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:17 AM   #11
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If you don't like CAFE, deal with the government. Complaining that GM is compliant is not helpful. If GM stood against fuel economy standards, there would be a publicity fight with all the people who support them, and that's bad for business.

This community has advocated weight reduction for a long time. To be scared of getting exactly what we want is ridiculous.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Awesome View Post
This frightens me to the point the hairs stood up on my neck. I see a lot of blather about needing to comply with CAFE and the other car companies are also feeling pressure to do the same.

Remember when the car company CEOs would go to washington and FIGHT against these onerous regulations?

Those were the days.

I agree wholeheartedly...
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:36 AM   #13
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Only on Camaro5 would reducing vehicle weight (which is something enthusiasts and the media have been clamoring at GM to do and is addressing an acknowledged problem with GM platforms) be interpreted as a bad thing.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:40 AM   #14
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Only on Camaro5 would reducing vehicle weight (which is something enthusiasts and the media have been clamoring at GM to do and is addressing an acknowledged problem with GM platforms) be interpreted as a bad thing.
It's disappointing to say the least. We ask for it, GM delivers, and some people still complain.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:45 AM   #15
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Zeta and Epsilon II both come to mind as platforms that needed weight reduction yesterday. It's one of the main problems with the new Malibu.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:59 AM   #16
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We only complain because the weight shaving is not enough. We want a feather light 500HP camaro that takes off the line like a rocket and blows the competition away like a hurricane
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:14 AM   #17
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We only complain because the weight shaving is not enough. We want a feather light 500HP camaro that takes off the line like a rocket and blows the competition away like a hurricane
As far as complaining, just sounds like this CEO order sort of came out of left-field...All plans for the next Gen Camaro were already in place...now this...
...Shave-off, down-size, reduce weight...all good...(just don't do it in the engine compartment!)...lol
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:16 AM   #18
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Alpha was what kicked off the weight reduction campaign at GM. And the 6th gen is Alpha based, so...I don't see what the problem is.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:21 AM   #19
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Alpha was what kicked off the weight reduction campaign at GM. And the 6th gen is Alpha based, so...I don't see what the problem is.
Not arguing with you, brother...Just previous posts show 15% didn't jive with even the Alpha...all guessing on our end what it's all really about, of course...
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:30 AM   #20
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As far as complaining, just sounds like this CEO order sort of came out of left-field...All plans for the next Gen Camaro were already in place...now this...
...Shave-off, down-size, reduce weight...all good...(just don't do it in the engine compartment!)...lol
I think that's the biggest issue. They rely on putting in a smaller engine to reduce most of the weight. Why not reduce it on the body, interior and components rather than engine weight reduction by throwing in a 4 cyl? That's how you satisfy. Engineers need to reduce chassis weight by 15%. Make it weight approx 3200lbs minus the engine. You'd be around 3450-3600? And that's a v8!
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:13 PM   #21
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They already are reducing weight in the chassis and body.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:16 PM   #22
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Yes, we've been screaming for weight reduction on this forum, but weight reduction for the sake of increasing performance and the driving experience. Weight reduction by removing half the engine was not what we had in mind, and would seem to run counter to the goal we had in mind.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:19 PM   #23
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Using the 2.0T isn't the only method employed to reduce weight. Did any of you follow Alpha development at all? The measures GM took to reduce weight in the chassis were close to ridiculous.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:49 PM   #24
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Using the 2.0T isn't the only method employed to reduce weight. Did any of you follow Alpha development at all? The measures GM took to reduce weight in the chassis were close to ridiculous.
Ya, it's silly to reduce weight as a goal only to have that manifest in a smaller, less capable engine struggling harder to pull a car of the same weight class around as before.

The steel stamping in this car is already pretty thin as I understand it, but why aren't there better materials for frame connections and stability, other ways in the body construction to reduce weight? It's not impossible....
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:58 PM   #25
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I think that's the biggest issue. They rely on putting in a smaller engine to reduce most of the weight. Why not reduce it on the body, interior and components rather than engine weight reduction by throwing in a 4 cyl? That's how you satisfy. Engineers need to reduce chassis weight by 15%. Make it weight approx 3200lbs minus the engine. You'd be around 3450-3600? And that's a v8!
As it is currently, a V8 Camaro on Alpha should be between 3,500 to 3,600 lbs...closer to 3,600.
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